The New Statesman-Series 3 (1991)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 25-Oct-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 143:20
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Graeme Harper
Geoffrey Sax
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Rik Mayall
Michael Troughton
Marsha Fitzalan
Case ?
RPI Box Music Alan Hawkshaw
Bryce Clayton
Phil Cooke


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, and drug taking
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    

    Rik Mayall plays the lead character here, Alan B'stard, a Tory backbencher who is extremely right wing and only in politics for monetary gain and sex. The other regular characters are Piers Fletcher-Dervish (Michael Troughton), a very dim colleague of Alan's who basically does whatever he is told and Alan's wife Sarah (Marsha Fitzalan), who plays a much bigger role in this series.

    This disc is the third disc in a newly released 4 disc box set of all 4 seasons of The New Statesman. The first series had previously been released a couple of years and so is not available for repeat review. The review of Series 1 can be found here. The review of Series 2 can be found here. This third series is a significant improvement over the second series. These episodes are much funnier, darker and more political with less silliness and much better plots. It also includes more anarchic humour and violence, moving it closer to The Young Ones. This series was actually made two years after the second series in 1991. In between there was a one off special, Who Shot Alan B'Stard?, which strangely is included on the last disc, with series 4.

    The episodes included here are:

  1. Labor of Love - A newly elected Tory, Victor Crosby, claims that he is the most right wing member of parliament, something which B'stard has always been proud to be. B'stard decides to resort to joining the Labor party if that results in the demise of Crosby. Very funny and satirical episode.
  2. The Party's Over - North Sea Oil is running out and Maggie seems to have been responsible for covering it up. The Tories decide to call an election before the news leaks out and B'stard is put in charge of the campaign. Another top notch episode.
  3. Let them Sniff Cake - B'stard starts getting death threats after agreeing with animal testing. A member of the House of Lords wants Alan to get him some cocaine. A good episode but not quite up to the first two.
  4. Keeping Mum - B'stard introduces a new law to reduce old age benefits and force people to have their parents living with them, rather than relying on the state. Alan's mother turns up wanting to live with him but all is not as it seems. Excellent episode.
  5. Natural Selection - Alan throws a party for some of his important constituents but is told that he has been deselected for the next election to be replaced by a local builder. Piers is running for president of the Parliament Stamp Club, which Alan uses to devise a plan to get his seat back. A fantastic episode, probably the best of a very strong season.
  6. Profit of Boom - Alan is booked for a speaking tour of Russia about capitalism and Piers' Territorial Army unit is sent to Northern Ireland. B'stard is contacted by various spies to help them restart the cold war. Another good episode with a good cliff-hanger ending.

    A much stronger season than Season 2 with more emphasis on political satire and much better writing all round.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is reasonable but restricted by its early 1990s TV origins.

    The feature is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout, although only as good as television of this age ever looks, with no evidence of low level noise. The clarity is occasionally affected by some shimmering on camera pans, especially during the credits. The shadow detail was reasonable. This season is better quality than Season 2, but is still nothing spectacular.

    The colour was reasonable, however a little dull as English television of this age tends to be. There were also occasional colour artefacts, mostly taking the form of rainbow style effects especially on clothing and some chroma noise on walls.

    Artefacts were certainly noticeable but not too distracting. They included minor shimmering, some comet trails and some edge enhancement. No worse than unrestored television footage of the period is normally when transferred to DVD. Again better than Season 2.

    There are no subtitles.

    The layer change occurs between episodes.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is fine but certainly nothing spectacular.

    This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. There is nothing particularly wrong with it, but it lacks dynamism. It is slightly better than Season 2 but not by much.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The music by Alan Hawkshaw is pretty much restricted to the theme tune, which certainly provides a good introduction.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer are not used.

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

Extras

    None!

Menu

    The menu includes the ability to select individual episodes.

R4 vs R1

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

    This box set is available in Region 2 in exactly the same format. Buy whichever is cheapest.

Summary

    A very strong season of this English political satire starring Rik Mayall, featuring 6 quality episodes.

    The video quality is reasonable.

    The audio quality is fine but a little lacking in dynamism.

    The disc has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE