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The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle


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Product Details

  • Actors: Jennifer Saunders, Miranda Richardson
  • Directors: Rupert Jones
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 11, 2009
  • Run Time: 178 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002945DX4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,335 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle, The (DVD)

Amazon.com

The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle is one of British TV's most savage, and most magnificent, TV series. In the way that Ricky Gervais' The Office skewers the corporate life, Vivienne Vyle takes on daytime TV, the sleazification of talk shows, and the insatiable drive for those with fame for more of the same. Yet Vivienne Vyle is far darker than its counterparts--the humor is black and bleak, the satire biting yet riveting. The series is a splendid showcase for the many talents of star Jennifer Saunders, whose Absolutely Fabulous airhead persona only slightly informs the character of the back-biting, driven, yet deeply emotionally needy talk show host Vivienne Vyle. It's a performance TV fans won't soon forget.

Vyle is the host of a cheesy British talk show (the name "Vyle" can't be a coincidence), and Saunders' character is a cross between Jerry Springer and Sally Jessy Raphael--taunting guests about their children's paternity, their spouses' fidelity, and worse. "How does it feel to be a worm? Because that's what you are, you know," she goads one hapless guy, with a shaved head except for five stalactites of bangs across his dim forehead. As with Vivienne Vyle's American counterparts, fisticuffs often break out, though the British audience, while eating up the spectacle, is oddly and politely quiet. The worse the antics of the guests, the more the ratings of Vyle's show climb. And Saunders is a wonder at portraying, almost sympathetically, the ego-driven force behind the sleaze. Her marriage may be one simply of convenience, and as she recovers from a brutal beating she received on one show, all she can plaintively think about is having a baby. Saunders' Vivienne may be a media monster, but she has dark yearnings like the rest of us. Also terrific is Miranda Richardson, who plays the Vivienne Vyle show's manic, ditzy producer, Helena. As with Saunders, Richardson gives a top-notch performance that's not always easy to watch. The set features six 30-minute episodes, which though biting, is so well written, directed and acted that it is truly compulsively watchable. --A.T. Hurley

Customer Reviews

I really enjoyed this new six-episode series.
Elizabeth Knight
It gets a bit too real / on the nose in spots but if you like AbFab you will enjoy this as well.
D. ABIGT
There are some extremely hilarious moments, dark moments, and heartwarming moments.
ItsMe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Marjorie Wiener on August 20, 2009
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This is black comedy, a devastatingly funny, satiric look at "reality" TV a la Jerry Springer, with crazed guests and equally crazed backstage doings at a TV show. Jennifer Saunders is sensational, and all others in the marvelous cast are also brilliant. Each episode of the six can be enjoyed by itself, but it's best to see them all in sequence. The last episode is the best half-hour I've ever seen on TV.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 14, 2010
Everybody loves a good juicy comedy about how stupid and shallow the world of celebrity/showbiz is, but few of them have any real wit. One of the few exceptions is "The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle," a deliciously intelligent, razor-edged black comedy that pulls few punches... and even better, it has Jennifer Saunders as the love-to-hate-her TV host.

Vivienne Vyle (Saunders) is a daytime TV host who specializes in shows like "My Son Calls The Wrong Man 'Daddy'," overseen by her insane, frazzled producer Helena de Wend (Miranda Richardson). Then during a show, she's assaulted by a guest and a large security guard accidentally falls on her head. She also almost has a breakdown, leading a psychiatrist to be assigned to follow her during her work.

Having gotten a sudden burst of fame from her accident, Vivienne decides that she wants to take her show to the next level -- she tries to talk to the audience, has a disastrous interview with a tabloid reporter, wins "Best Daytime Talk Show" (only to ditch the awards ceremony), and suffers from an attack of "success." But being a host also means that her gay husband Jared (Conleth Hill) comes under scrutiny...

In case you're wondering, "The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle" is not merely a showbiz version of "Absolute Fabulous." It's more like "The Office" -- a witty Britcom without a laugh track or punchlines -- but instead of looking at the world of commerce, it's focused on the entertainment world in all its sleazy shallow glory.

And just about everything on popular TV is mocked -- the bottom-feeding themes, the stars insulated from "real life," the pathetic people who humiliate themselves on TV for a few seconds of vulgar fame.
Read more ›
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Walter J. Gordon on September 4, 2009
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First saw this on a Delta First Class flight out of Milan, Italy. Never heard of it until I pressed the button for the show's viewing, and--well, I had to watch twice the one and only episode Delta offered. Hilarious, daring, and sarcastically biting. Loved it. Bought the entire disc upon my return to the States, and thankfully Amazon, as always, comes through with every title you might dream of obtaining. Great show.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Mercure on December 2, 2010
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I am so very impressed by this series.
These 2 writers have managed to create something that American Comedy used to do in the 70's; manage to obtain the holy grail of comedy.
Creating a show that is funny as hell and still have social relevance.

I loved Absolutely Fabulous for its' sheer wit and 'over-the-top' characters.
But this series manages to take a real topic, exagerate it just abit and show us how silly we can be as a species.
WELL DONE LADIES!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Knight on January 4, 2010
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I really enjoyed this new six-episode series. Jennifer plays a daytime talk show host a la Jerry Springer- tacky and sensational. Her guests are the dregs of society and she showers them with abuse with the stated purpose of helping them. The real purpose being to generate ratings, of course. The series is full of Saunders' trademark dry wit spiced up with occassional camp pratfalls.She's even meaner than Edina Monsoon, though, which took a couple of minutes to get used to.I also enjoyed the supporting players. Her relationship with her gay husband is fun to watch, and in the sixth episode, there is a heart -touching (well, sort of) twist. If you like Jennifer Saunders (I LOVE Jennifer Saunders), you will enjoy this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Ciccolella on December 13, 2009
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Although this may not be for everyone, Vivienne Vyle presented us with an entertaining satire of American fascination with talk shows and celebrity through UK eyes. Jennifer Saunders was great, but thank god for volume control and the subtitled options. Very British in regards to the mumbling and undiscernable language. LOVED IT.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kristin J Alkire on April 9, 2013
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Excellent. Yes, lots of the fearsome "f" word, but those who complain about it are missing the joke. It is a running gag! Part of the overall horrid nature of all of the characters, one might say. Saunders is just fantastic. Buy it and be prepared for some very edgy, very pessimistic humor from characters you can't help but hate. Not for kids!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Ketelsen on December 26, 2011
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Loved it. Of course, I love Jennifer Saunders anyway. Not one to watch with the kiddies around due to language.
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