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Benny Hill Complete and Unadulterated: The Naughty Early Years, Set One - 1969-1971

4.6 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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(Jul 27, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

For more than three decades Benny Hill and his half-dressed bevy of buxom beauties brought their bawdy brand of British comedy to the world, but this is the first collection to contain his first 11 episodes in their original, uncut glory. Enjoy! 3 DVDs. 1969-71/color/9 hrs/NR/fullscreen.

Benny Hill Complete and Unadulterated catches the boyish, British comedian just after he ended a long association with the BBC (where he was a busy star) and leaped to the commercial Thames Television in 1969, where he enjoyed creative control and successful syndication in America for 20 years. The premiere episode of The Benny Hill Show made television history as one of Thames' first color broadcasts, though a mid-season strike by technicians forced the show to revert to black-and-white, resulting in several "lost" episodes that have reemerged in this boxed set. (They offer some of the best material in this batch.)

Hill is an interesting, internationally popular figure in British comedy, his act more rooted in vaudeville and smooth, lowbrow innuendo than the surreal or topical. He gets a lot of mileage out of a mere roll of his eyes or knowing grin, but he is never short of energy during elaborate sketches or his trademark chases at the end of each episode. The Benny Hill Show, with its emphasis on scantily clad women and endless jokes about getting/not getting sex, never pushes the comic envelope, exactly, but Complete and Unadulterated demonstrates that Hill, who died in 1992, had more ingenuity and diverse originality than his reputation might reflect. Hill is just as comfortable gracing the opening of every show with a silly, risque ditty ("She wouldn't let me marry Jean / She said it was because she thought I was Effeminate / And compared to her, I was") as mocking television itself (in a clever, "Top of the Pops" send-up), skewering suburban swingers ("Henry and Alice and Bob and Mary"), or mounting a Cold War farce (in which an East-West border, running through a honeymoon suite, causes havoc for a newlywed couple). Luckily, this set allows one to select individual sketches or songs (Kiki Dee turns up for a go at "You've Made Me So Very Happy") within all 11 episodes, and to access each episode without having to go back to the disc's main menu. A repeat viewer can easily glide around the full season and cobble together the perfect, best-of program. There's certainly plenty of good material to go around; check out the lengthy "European Song Contest" for a true classic. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • The first 11 episodes of the original The Benny Hill Show in their entirety
  • Includes all three rare black-and-white episodes
  • Bonus documentary: "The World's Favorite Clown"
  • The Benny Hill Cheeky Challenge trivia quiz

Product Details

  • Actors: Benny Hill, Henry McGee, Jackie Wright, Bob Todd, The Ladybirds
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 27, 2004
  • Run Time: 540 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002F6AHA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,782 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Benny Hill Complete and Unadulterated: The Naughty Early Years, Set One - 1969-1971" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ralph Schiller on September 29, 2004
Verified Purchase
The A&E Collection Of 'Benny Hill Complete And Unadulterated - The Naughty Early Years, Set One (1969 - 1971) is an absolute treasure to fans of this beloved, chubby, moon-faced comedian!

These are the very first episodes American TV audiences viewed of Benny Hill, when he was at the peak of his comic genius. Benny Hill is young, surprisingly slender in these shows and full of vitality, and energy missing from his twilight shows some twenty years later.

Here we can see the entire 'Benny Hill Show' special as it appeared on Thames Television in Great Britain, completely unedited. The shows boast first-rate musical numbers usually performed by Benny's in-house quartet of female singers, the Ladybirds, and Hill's brilliant comedy. American viewers will recognize some of the sketches, but be astonished as to how much material was edited out for American syndication, primarily for time considerations.

I always loved the delightful, and hilarious sketch, 'The European Song Of The Year Contest', which is in the very first special of the 11 included on this three-disc set. Here the sketch has several more contestants added, and a finale that was always deleted from the USA version. Even the order of the scenes in the sketches was juggled by the American editor! There are really only a few moments where a skit or gag was dropped because of raciness or poor taste.

There are also three black & white specials included on this set that were never broadcast in any form to American television, as USA audiences are generally loathe to watch anything not in color!

What is also remarkable about these broadcasts is that the beautiful women on the show clearly take a backseat to comedy and music!
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Most Americans were introduced to Benny Hill in the very late '70s/ early '80's as a syndicated program sold to independent stations called "The Benny Hill Show". This show was a compilation of sorts- bits and pieces of Benny's Thames TV specials (which averaged about once a month in England) were assembled as episodes for American TV. The skits that involved regional UK humor, very thick British accents, and the 'celebrity' musical acts were generally left out- only skits 'acceptable' for American audiences were included (oddly enough, the bawdy humor and even nudity were deemed 'acceptable'!).
Now, A&E have released Benny's Thames specials complete and uncut. Some may find these a bit unsettling, as some skits can scarcely be understood (due to thick accents and material referencing UK personas little-known to Americans) and the 'celebrity' musical/dancing guests leave much to be desired. Still, these are the specials that the American Benny Hill Show was culled from, and should be of great interest to any Benny Hill fan.
Season one is NOT the Benny Hill you may remember. This set comprises the specials from 1969-1971, so this was pretty early on. While their are hints of the bawdy humor that would become Benny's trademark, the humor in this set is quite tame really. That shouldn't keep any Benny fans from viewing this set though, as Benny's wit is razor sharp here. Clever comedy songs (as always), Benny's double entendres (when they were still original!), and funny slapstick skits are all here for your enjoyment. This is where Benny really started to become the comedian that is a worldwide legend. While later seasons would become more risque (much to the delight of Benny fans everywhere), season one offers a glimpse of a comedian who sparkles with originality and enthusiasm.
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As a longtime fan of The Benny Hill Show and author of a book about Benny called "Benny Hill, This Life of Laughter" currently in production. I can happily say the A&E new DVD release of Benny Hill Naughty Years set fantastic. The transfers are clean and fantastic. It the way Benny should be seen. Naturally the way Ron Gold and DL Tafner brought Benny to America was indeed the right way by giving us the half hour edited down versions for speed and removing the regional jokes and musical numbers...but NOW after 20 years since Benny burst on the American tv scene, this is what hardcore Hill fans have been waiting for. The complete unedited hour long shows. They attention to detail is terrific. Let's hope that A&E means it when they say "Set one" and look for many more sets to follow. I know the fans will not be disapointed in this at all, not like the lukewarm Golden great series. These deliver, nicely package. I have been watching mine since yesterday!

Definatley worth the full price!

Thomas Amo
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Like many others, I have fond memories of the Benny Hill show running on US television. That is why I was glad to order this set. I got more than I bargained for. Unknown to me, the original Benny Hill Show was a 1 hour format. What we got in the US were cut down ½ hour programs. This set contains the full, original programs and they are outstanding.

I remember Benny Hill as a comedian. He is. I remembered his show as a comedy show. It was but it was also a variety show and contains some dated, but good examples of 70s style and song.

Hill's genius is in playing with language. His puns, double entendres and rhymes are masterful. What is even more remarkable is that he manages to do so much with other languages as well. Some is real, some is nonsense but just enough comes through to make it hilarious in English as well.

Besides his gift for language, Hill and his crew were masters of sight gags. Much of their comedy is physical. This too works and is timeless.

This is a priceless collection for any Benny Hill fan.
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