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Anyone who loves ribald British comedy or wacky parody should appreciate the efforts of the performers from London's Comic Strip Club comedy venue. With their friends and associates, they produced short stand-alone films that have aired for over two decades. "The Complete Collection" brings 39 episodes together. Some are downright hilarious, some are more perplexing. With any anthology series, you will have a variance in the degree to which you will embrace certain stories. For my part, I tend to think the series started rather consistently, but got entirely more hit-or-miss as the years progressed. But it is still fascinating to see how the show evolved in time as it kept up with trends in pop culture and modern entertainment. Many of the cast members from "Absolutely Fabulous" and "The Young Ones" (and many other shows) hailed from The Comic Strip so if you follow British humor, you're likely to see plenty of familiar faces including Jennifer Saunders, Robbie Coltrane, Rik Mayall, Dawn French, Alexei Sayle, Nigel Planer, Keith Allen, Adrian Edmondson, and Peter Richardson.

While this is called the "The Complete Collection," it falls a little short as it does NOT contain the one-off specials from 2005 (Sex Actually) or 2011 (The Hunt for Tony Blair). While I would have wanted these as well, I guess I'll be happy with what I do have.

Disc One (From 1982-83): (1) Five Go Mad In Dorset, (2) WAR, (3) The Beat Generation, (4) Bad News Tour, (5) Summer School, and (6) Five Go Mad on Mescalin.

Disc Two (From 1984): (1) Dirty Movie, (2) Susie, (3) A Fistful of Travellers' Cheques, (4) Gino: Full Story and Pics, and (5) Eddie Monsoon: A Life?

Disc Three (From 1985-86): (1) Slags, (2) edited for Amazon: The BSers, (3) The Supergrass, and (4) Consuela.

Disc Four (From 1986-88): (1) Private Enterprise, (2) The Strike, (3) More Bad News, and (4) Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door.

Disc Five (From 1988): (1) The Yob, (2) Didn't You Kill My Brother?, and (3) Funseekers.

Disc Six: (From 1990): (1) South Atlantic Raiders, (2) South Atlantic Raiders Part II, (3) GLC, (4) Oxford, and (5) Spaghetti Hoops.

Disc Seven: (From 1990-93): (1) Les Dogs, (2) Red Nose of Courage, (3) The Crying Game, (4) Wild Turkey, (5) Detectives on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown, and (6) Space Virgins From Planet Sex.

Disc Eight: (From 1993-2000): (1) Queen of the Wild Frontier, (2) Gregory: Diary of a Nutcase, (3) Demonella, (4) Jealousy, (5) Four Men in a Car, and (6) Four Men in a Plane.

Disc Nine: 132 minutes of Bonus features including a retrospective, footage from the actual Comic Strip, and documentary specials.

This is a must-have for a certain audience (and you know who you are). I won't pretend that every bit is fantastic, I quite disliked a few. The highlight for me, perhaps, came with Mr. Jolly. But as TV history, this is practically essential and earns my highest recommendation despite some of its weaker links. Note on packaging: Discs are double stacked in the fold-out case, which I hated, but it's better than flipper discs! If you are a fan of British humor, don't miss this one! KGHarris, 1/12.
22 comments30 of 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 26, 2011
Love this show so much i bought an extra copy to have as back-up!This has to be one of my better, most valued dvd purchases.So much fun, especially if you are a Rik Mayall fan like myself.Out of all the episodes a good 90 percent are genius with only a few,,,maybe 2 eps being boring.If you are a fan of The Young Ones,French and Saunders, ABFAB and so on, you will love this set, this is where they all got their start!
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on January 13, 2014
I think The Comic Strip is the finest television comedy ever made. I've owned the British Region 2 dvds since they were released, and I know and love them. These new Region 1 dvds have SIGNIFIGANTLY different edits of several episodes. Fans: you will want to own both sets.

First of all, "Supergrass" is MUTILATED. It's in "widescreen" which is just a stretched-out picture so everything is flattened! This excellent full-length movie now looks like crap. I can't bring myself to watch it, though it is probably the US VHS version, which I know is different from the R2 dvd release. What a horrible crying shame.

Other than that, the shows on discs 1-5 are exactly the same for Regions 1 and 2, except that some of the R1 episodes include the "bumpers" (stills that say "end of part one" and then "part two"). Some bumpers have cute graphics, others are just words. The bumpers for "Funseekers" are moving shots with dialogue, very short, not included on the R2 dvds.

Disc 6 is where the big changes are. Some are very different than the R2 dvds. The affected shows are: "South Atlantic Raiders" (parts 1 and 2), "GLC", and "Oxford". ("Spaghetti Hoops" looks unchanged to me).

Peter Richardson has been quoted about "tinkering" with editing some episodes to "get more laughs". This is more than "tinkering". There is some extra footage and dialogue, also some scenes are cut, and others are moved around to actually change the narrative. Big differences.

For example: The R1 "SAR" episodes are longer and better than the R2, with more exposition and back story about the main characters; unfortunately, much of the funny footage of the General in his camp has been cut. (Lemmy has nearly disappeared from the R1 version.) A lame voice-over has been added to Part 2, recapping Part 1. Many small additions and subtractions throughout.

On disc 7, most of the episodes appear to have minor additions and subtractions. In "Red Nose", an entire scene is cut. In "Les Dogs", just a few tiny additions.

"Four Men In A Car" has one considerably longer scene, between Jennifer Saunders and Peter Richardson. This always felt chopped up before, so this restoration is a treat.

So really, if you love this stuff as much as I do and want to see it ALL, you need to own both sets.

NOTE this set is not complete! Three subsequent episodes ("Sex Actually", "The Hunt for Tony Blair", and "Five Go Mad in Rehab") have been made, and are available on R2 dvd ("The Best of The Comic Strip"). That set also boasts even more edits, to episodes such as "More Bad News" and "Four Men In a Car". So if you want it all, you've gotta buy that too. And a separate dvd of "Eat The Rich". And a NEW feature film is in production this year....
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VINE VOICEon July 19, 2012
I've been waiting and waiting for this set to be available for my region, and now it is. Yes, it was well worth the wait. This outstanding set is bursting with the brilliant work known as The Comic Strip Presents. Talk about a veritable who's who from the British comedy scene: Ade Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson....wow. There's not a dud on the set. But my favorite episodes are Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door, Consuela (that Dawn French is something else), Dirty Movie, Five Go Mad in Dorset, and Beat Generation. But for me, Bad News Tour and More Bad News are the real gems. Edmondson, Richardson, Planer and Mayall are a horrible band looking to make it big and failing miserably, and a documentary crew is along for the ride to capture it all on film. I particularly love Saunders' work as Sally Friedman, England's number one "chick" rock journalist.

The "sequel" to Bad News Tour is, of course, More Bad News and that's just what you'll get. More Bad News finds the band broken up and doing their own thing before they're invited to reunite for a "one-off gig at the Flying Horse of all places." The acrimony and silly antics that broke the band up in the first place come back into play again. And I love it.

This is worth every penny.
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on October 30, 2013
If you got mTV between 1980-1984, you caught these as BBC reruns in the States. They were awesome because SNL was in such a suck hole of humorless, lazy, coked out oblivion for a few seasons before Myers or Murphy bailed their asses out.
Plus, it was a Brit offering that picked up the ball from the 1970s Monty Python legacy. This ensemble had a completely different structure, context, and vision than Monty Python -- and a much better "batting average" with the ratio of sketch comedy hit-or-miss.
French and Saunders kick ass, and all the guys involved knock it out of the park consistently too -- especially in the Beatnik episode.
For an extremely rare collection available NO WHERE else really, not even the torrent world, or the deep net, or the dark net, the 20-40 bucks is well worth it.
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on September 6, 2012
Been waiting years to get classics like The Supergrass on DVD, as our VHS tapes are just about worn out!

Classic alternative British comedy starring French, Sauders, Edmonson, Coltrane, etc. Be warned: This is sarcastic, biting satire on 80's British pop culture. So you may just not get it!
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on February 1, 2013
I'm obsessed with Britcom and mosts things English, and I am *so* happy with this purchase. 9 DVDs total, and almost everything is hysterically funny or (at the very least) amusingly quirky. It's so cool to watch this group of young people bond over a passion for comedy and then grow together!
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on July 27, 2015
All the episodes I remembered, and a few I had forgotten. Great fun and a great video transfer. I can now actually show friends the shows they think I made up. Seeing the start of so many careers is amazing. I remember when it was new and so were the cast.
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on October 9, 2013
Classic British humor from "The Comic Strip." The boys from "The Young Ones" and the ladies of "French and Saunders" are here, with the great Robbie Coltrane.
I am very fond of the sketch about Celts, especially.
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on September 10, 2014
These shows are more like character studies than comedies and most are filmed like mini movies. The acting, story development, and great characters all make the series very memorable.

Lots of extras!!!
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