Not the Nine O'Clock News-The Best of-Volume 1 (1979)

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Released 11-Nov-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 98:18 (Case: 95)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bill Wilson
Geoff Posner
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Rowan Atkinson
Griff Rhys Jones
Mel Smith
Pamela Stephenson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Philip Pope
Peter Brewis
Nic Rowley


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Best Of Not The 9 O'Clock News - Volume One is a compendium of humour from one of the seminal British comedy shows of the 1980s. Who can forget some of the absolute classic sketches that Griff Rhys Jones, Mel Smith, Dr Pamela Stephenson and the mighty Rowan Atkinson penned and brought to the small screen? This was certainly one of the funniest and most satirical shows of its time - so how does it stand up to scrutiny these days? Well, mercifully, pretty d*** well!

    Whilst some of the politicians who are frequently lampooned may have become a distant memory (Margaret who? Ronald Raygun?), much of the humour is so genuinely funny that it manages to overcome the ravages of time. I'm not sure how popular the series was in Australia (being a resident of Blighty at the time it aired), but I would be surprised if this classic BBC show was not a popular favourite over here in the Antipodes.

    Good comedy never really ages - witness Monty Python - and the wit, imagination and charm of this ensemble group cannot be underestimated. The comedic timing of Atkinson, the dumb everyman act of Smith and the dry delivery of Rhys Jones are all rounded out by the "straight-man" of Stephenson. Memorable sketches include Gerald The Gorilla, Are You A Gay Christian?, The Devil - Is He All Bad? and Game For A Laugh. There are also numerous hilarious (although quaintly dated) songs including Gob On You, I Like Bouncing, Supa Dupa and the unforgettable - and at the time shocking - Kinda Lingers. This DVD provides a compilation running for just over ninety-eight minutes, and a good eighty minutes of it is classic stuff indeed!

    There are a lot of laughs to be had from this DVD and it is sure to bring back many happy memories for those of us old enough to have witnessed the sketches at the time of the original broadcasts. This is a recommended purchase for fans of the show, and as a rental at least for anyone who appreciates genuinely funny BBC sketch humour.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The overall video transfer of this disc is fairly good, although understandably it varies depending on the source material being viewed.

    The transfer is presented in a ratio of 1.33:1, which is the original televised aspect ratio. It is of course not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer originates from footage shot (shockingly) almost twenty-five years ago. It therefore is subject to the limitations of the source material at the time. In general the image looks perfectly acceptable on a 68cm (4:3) television screen, but as you enlarge the image the limitations become much more apparent.

     Black levels and shadow detail are generally adequate throughout, although colours are a little subdued and washed out on occasion. There is no significant colour bleeding, but it does appear mildly from time to time (for example at 5:16, 61:42 or 85:30). Skin tones are generally fine.

    The transfer does suffer from some MPEG compression artefacts, with the image pixelating and smearing slightly when any significant movement is on screen. This is understandable given the age of the source material, and is not terrible - but is noticeable. Aliasing was not a problem on my system. Edge enhancement is often visible, and on larger screens can be slightly annoying - for example at 5:39, 26:09 or 84:39. Generally however, you may be pleasantly surprised by the transfer quality.

    There are quite a few film (video) artefacts present from time to time. The Question Time sequence is particularly affected by scratches and flecks for example. These vary depending on the source footage - the original news footage or stock footage tends to bear the brunt of the damage, with the studio footage suffering much less. They do not make the transfer unwatchable by any means - but do not expect a pristine transfer and you will not be disappointed.

    There is an English (for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) subtitle track present. Technically it does a good job, following the dialogue closely with only the odd word dropped for the sake of brevity. It also provides appropriate audio cues and lyrics to the various songs. Unfortunately, the timing is occasionally not ideal, revealing lines slightly before they are spoken.

    The DVD is formatted as a single sided, single layered (DVD 5) disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The overall audio quality of this disc is perfectly adequate, albeit a little tinny, with no major defects apparent.

    The sole audio track available is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track, encoded at 192 kbps. It has no really significant audio defects.

    Dialogue was always clear and audio sync was fine throughout. This is essential with a dialogue driven collection of jokes. There are some issues with lip sync during one or two of the musical numbers (for example at 71:08 during Kinda Lingers), but this is likely to be inherent in the source material, rather than any issue with the transfer to DVD.

    The score is limited to the theme music and minor incidental sounds. The score, such as it is, is credited to (talented comedian) Philip Pope, Peter Brewis, Howard Goodall and Nic Rowley.

    The soundstage is understandably very frontal in nature. Even with Dolby Pro Logic II enabled there is nothing of note happening with the surround speakers. The front speakers deliver the audio cleanly and at a suitable audio level. Depending on your set-up the subwoofer may be used for some redirected bass, but not in any substantial or particularly noticeable way.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no extras on the DVD.

Menu

    The menu is a static and silent photograph of the four cast members. It allows the meagre options of playing the DVD, activating the subtitles or choosing one of twelve chapter stops.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This DVD does not appear to be available in Region 1. The Region 2 version appears to be identical to the Region 4 release. Buy whichever is cheaper.

Summary

    The Best Of Not The 9 O'Clock News - Volume One is a hugely funny trip down memory lane. It will raise a laugh for anyone watching it for the first time (I still tell the Swedish Chemist Shop joke at parties!), and will bring back fond memories for those who have seen the original show all those years ago. Whilst the video and audio quality are nothing to write home about, they suffice. At the end of the day - it's all about the comedy. Highly recommended for fans of British sketch comedy, and those who know quality comedy when it is put in front of them.

    The video quality is acceptable.

    The audio quality is acceptable.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDHarmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
The funniest sketch is.... - REPLY POSTED
My favourite sketch... - Dark Lord (Bio? We don't need no stinkin' bio!)
Fairly merry -
Record Player - REPLY POSTED
I don't suppose it has.. - REPLY POSTED
Re: I don't suppose it has... - Dark Lord (Bio? We don't need no stinkin' bio!)