Little Britain-Live (2006)

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Released 6-Dec-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of-The Tour, The DVD
Featurette-Lou And Andy In Blackpool
Additional Footage-Fotfighters Scene
Featurette-Little Britain's Big Swim
Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentary
Booklet
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 78:48 (Case: 205)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Geoff Posner
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Matt Lucas
David Walliams
Paul Putner
Anthony Head
Ruth Jones
Samantha Powers
Tom Baker
Case Slip Case
RPI $49.95 Music David Arnold


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 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

    If you've been living on another planet for the past couple of years and are unfamiliar with Little Britain and its array of colourful characters, you might want to first read my reviews of Series One, Series Two and Series Three.

    The proposal to adapt Little Britain into a live stage show must have seemed impossible initially. The short sketch format of the television program with its myriad of characters and costumes would be difficult to duplicate on the stage. The elaborate costumes of certain characters would often take hours to prepare for television production. These costume changes would need to be done in minutes or even seconds if the flow of the stage show was to succeed. A seamless and rapid change between props and sets was also essential.

    Thankfully, the transition from small screen to stage has worked a treat, with virtually no change to the concept or overall format of Little Britain.

    Sets are constructed with minimal props and consist mostly of cleverly lit backdrops. Costumes have been greatly modified from those used in the television production. Most costumes are designed for very quick release and many are worn underneath others to save valuable time.

    The performing order of sketches in Little Britain Live is based on the degree of complexity to each costume change. Sketches that feature Matt or David individually gave the other slightly more time to change into their next character. Some of the extras on the DVD, together with Matt and David's commentary cover these interesting aspects of the production very well.

    All of the adored characters of Little Britain appear in the live show, with the inclusion of a couple of characters not seen since the first series. Keeping in line with the television version, each sketch is only a few minutes long and most are introduced in regular madcap style by the voice of Tom Baker. There is also some very funny interaction with the audience, both verbally and through participation.

    Cast regulars Paul Putner, Anthony Head and Ruth Jones also appear on the DVD, although due to prior working commitments Anthony and Ruth performed on stage only for the DVD production and did not tour with the show.

    In the UK, the success of the Little Britain Live stage show was incredible, playing to 800,000 people in 200 nights. This has encouraged an Australian tour of the show in early 2007. The performance on this DVD was recorded in May 2006 at the Blackpool Opera House.

    In order of appearance, the nineteen sketches of Little Britain Live are as follows;

  • Lou & Andy 
  • Emily Howard & Florence
  • Carol Beer
  • Ting Tong & Dudley
  • Kenny Craig
  • Ray McCooney
  • Vicky Pollard
  • Des Kaye
  • Maggie & Judy
  • Ann
  • Bubbles De Vere
  • Sir Norman Fry
  • Roy & Mr Mann
  • Linda
  • Dennis Waterman
  • Majorie Dawes - Fat Fighters 
  • Mrs Emery
  • Sebastian & Prime Minister
  • Daffyd Thomas

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    Transfer Quality

    Video

        The video transfer for Little Britain Live is generally quite good. The large amount of content squeezed onto the one disc has pushed the limits, but overall things hold up rather well.

        The stage show is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.75:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

        Overall, sharpness and clarity is good, although occasionally some edges appeared slightly over-sharp. Blacks were bold and clean with no adverse issues. Shadow quality was also of a good standard.

        Colours appeared nicely balanced and very natural.

        A minor and very brief compression artefact was noticed at 2:01. Thankfully this was barely noticeable and did not set a trend throughout the feature programme. Film-to-video artefacts were not a significant issue and film artefacts were non-existent.

        There are English subtitles for the hearing impaired available on this DVD. They are easily legible in white and appeared to be very accurate.

        This is a single sided, dual layered disc. The layer change occurs at 13:47 during the deleted scenes extra and was easily noticeable. At least the change wasn't placed during the main feature.

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

    Audio

        The audio transfer is also reasonably good and didn't present any problems.

        There are two audio tracks available on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s) and English Audio Commentary 2.0 (192Kb/s).

        Dialogue quality was excellent throughout. I had no problems hearing and comprehending any of the dialogue. Audio sync was also excellent.

        The familiar music by David Arnold provided musical interludes between sketches as well as the well-known theme music.

        The surround channels carried no direct sound placement, rather the use of Pro-Logic spread audience and ambient sound across the channels.

        The subwoofer was used very sparingly, kicking in during a couple of the musical interludes.

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

    Extras

        All three series of Little Britain on DVD have been accompanied by a quality selection of extras - this is no exception.

    Menu

         The main menu is nicely animated, 16x9 enhanced and features the theme music with character voices.

    Audio Commentary with Matt Lucas and David Walliams

        Matt and David's commentaries are always informative, funny and entertaining - this one is certainly not an exception. Although they are easily side-tracked, the background information and anecdotes relating to the live show are insightful and funny.

    Making The Tour (13:42)

        This featurette looks at some of the planning behind the stage show, including rehearsals and dress rehearsals, as well as interviews with Matt and David.

    Little Britain's Big Swim (58:19)

        This BBC program is hosted by Matt Lucas and focuses on David Walliams and his quest to swim the English Channel. Apart from being a huge personal challenge, the twenty-one mile swim was an event for Sports Relief, with the aim of raising considerable sums of money for charity. This program followed David over the nine months of intensive endurance training, guided by his fitness instructor Greg Whyte. David had to juggle the training regime with his Little Britain Live commitments, a task that became increasingly difficult. Little Britain's Big Swim even includes the option of viewing a further 23:47 minutes of deleted scenes from the program. Recommended viewing.

    Deleted Scenes (15:11)

        A collection of four sketches that were either removed from the stage show or have a slight variation to those featured on the DVD. All these scenes have an optional commentary from Matt and David. The video and audio quality of these sketches does vary however. The sketches include,

    Making The DVD (11:50)

        This featurette highlights some of the planning and production of the live DVD.

    Lou & Andy In Blackpool (1:47)

        A Lou & Andy sketch made exclusively for the DVD with an optional commentary from Matt and David.

    Fat Fighters Scene (1:59)

        Another deleted scene with an optional commentary from Matt and David.

    Miniature Tour Programme

        This Limited Edition of Little Britain Live comes with a copy of the 38 page programme (as seen with audience members). Of course, it has been reduced in size to fit into the DVD slip case. As you would expect, it has photos and information on the characters and background information on Little Britain. It also includes information on all the performers and a credit list. A very worthy inclusion.

    R4 vs R1

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

         At the time of this review there is no R1 version of Little Britain Live available.

        This local R2 - R4 version is identical to the UK R2 version both in terms of content and packaging. Therefore there seems no logical reason to seek out an alternate edition.

    Summary

         With the Little Britain Live stage show touring Australia in early 2007, many fans will have no doubt already booked their tickets. For those who can't make it to the show, this DVD gives them an opportunity to experience Little Britain Live. For those going to the show, I'm sure a few extra surprises will be added for the Australian tour. But if you're not wishing for any form of a preview, buy it now and watch it later.

        Considering the large amount of content on this DVD, the transfers are quite good.

        The selection of quality extras is superb and will delight the fans.

  • Ratings (out of 5)

    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    Plot
    Overall

    © Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
    Monday, January 08, 2007
    Review Equipment
    DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
    DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
    Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
    AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
    SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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