Dave Allen (2004)
|Year Of Production||2004|
|Running Time||93:19 (Case: 92)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||None Given|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.29:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
If you picked up a TV guide during the 1970s, you were virtually assured of seeing an entry for Dave Allen At Large on the ABC, on Friday nights if I remember correctly. Born David Tynan O'Mahoney in Dublin in 1936, he first achieved television success in Australia, hosting a tonight show on Channel 9 in 1963 and 1964. Returning to Britain he came to public notice in a regular spot on The Val Doonican Show, and was soon offered his own series by ITV. A couple of years later he moved to the BBC and remained there for the best part of two decades. Even so he was probably more popular in Australia than in Britain, and returned several times both for television and stage work.
The formula of his shows was simple. He would sit in a swivel chair, cigarette in hand, and with a glass of whiskey handy he would deliver short monologues. Each monologue would lead into a short series of filmed sketches, often just the visual equivalent of one line jokes. Allen's humour tended to point out the hypocrisy of attitudes to religion and sex, usually with a Catholic point of reference. And he always ended the programme by saying "good night and may your God go with you".
The material on this disc is excerpted from his many shows, and most of it is still quite fresh and funny. It is introduced by the now grey-haired and non-smoking Allen in a television control room, and follows the same format as his series. A number of monologues on the same theme are followed by related sketches. These feature his regular troupe of comic actors, including the ginger moustachioed Michael Sharvell-Martin, Jacqueline Clarke (usually involved in the sketches about sex) and the late Ronnie Brody, a diminutive performer who appeared on most of the prominent comedy series of the '60s and '70s, in fact everything from Hancock and The Benny Hill Show to Are You Being Served? and The Goodies.
I'm glad the BBC have released this material and hope there is more in the offing. I wonder though if Channel 9 have kept any footage from Allen's work with them, especially the famous one-off special he made in 1971 with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore which saw the three of them temporarily banned from Australian television. I suppose it is too much to hope for.
The material on this disc is transferred in an aspect ratio of 1.29:1 and is of course not 16x9 enhanced.
The material varies in quality according to the original form of recording and vintage. As was the way with BBC material in the past, indoor sequences were shot on video, while the sketches, mostly shot on location, were shot on 16mm film. The video sequences are in much better condition than the film sequences, though the presence of analogue video tracking errors in the latter suggests that all of the material has been transferred from videotape masters.
The video material is surprisingly sharp and in good condition, apart from the abovementioned tracking errors. The studio lighting is nice and bright, and the few issues present would have occurred at the time of recording, such as cross-colouration, colour bleeding and flaring. Colour is acceptable though slightly muted. Flesh tones are a trifle pale at times.
The film material is full of dirt and other artefacts, like scratches and flecks. It probably looked like this on original screening, so this is not the issue that it would normally be. This footage is grainy and considerably less sharp than the video material, and colour seems less natural.
There are no subtitles on this single-layer disc.
The sole audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.
The audio transfer is as good as could be expected given the source material. Dialogue is clear and distinct at all times. The audio is lacking in the bass department, but otherwise it does the job. Even the loudest passages are free of distortion.
The music is fairly generic 1970s TV comedy music, which probably was not written for the series.
|Surround Channel Use|
No extras are provided.
This DVD appears to be available only in Region 4 at present.
A good souvenir of this popular comedian, with plenty of material that is still funny.
The video and audio quality are acceptable.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Main: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175|