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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
The Comic Strip Presents...-The Complete Collection (1982)

The Comic Strip Presents...-The Complete Collection (1982)

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Released 8-Nov-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Series Featurette-The Original Comic Strip Live at London's Raymond Revue Bar
Featurette-The Comic Strip - A Retrospective
Featurette-First Laugh On Four
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1982
Running Time 1420:00 (Case: 1570)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (9)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Richardson
Bob Spiers
Sandy Johnson
Stephen Frears
Channel 4
Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $69.95 Music Simon Brint
Bud Beadle
Rowland Rivron

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

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Comic Strip started out as an edgy comedy club in London's red light district. Though their biggest draw was punk-era alternative comedians such as Alexei Sayle, Adrian Edmonson, Rik Mayall and Keith Allen, The Comic Strip club was the brainchild of prolific comedy writer and performer Peter Richardson. In the midst of the alternative comedy boom of the early 1980s, Richardson managed to sell the idea of a show featuring the club's regular performers to the new Channel 4. Rather than a sketch comedy show (as is still the norm for such collaborations) or a sitcom, The Comic Strip Presents... consisted entirely of 30 minute short films written by members of the group and performed by an assortment of its members. The subject matter varied wildly between shows, as did the style of narrative and the style of humour. The one thing that remained constant was the originality of the shows, even after it had run for several seasons.

    The core writers and cast members include: Peter Richardson, Pete Richens, Nigel Planer, Adrian Edmonson, Rik Mayall, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French. These core members were frequently joined by Keith Allen, Robbie Coltrane, Alexei Sayle, Daniel Peacock. Later episodes featured a host of guest stars, from musicians (such as Brian May, Ozzy Osbourne and Def Leppard) to other comedians (Leslie Phillips, Ruby Wax and Graham Crowden).

    The Comic Strip Presents... was an instant cult success, but it never reached the mainstream success that many of its members otherwise achieved (particularly in French and Saunders, The Young Ones and Bottom). Anybody that has ever appreciated the work of these comedians elsewhere would do well to check out The Comic Strip Presents.... The show is certainly a hit and miss affair, which is unsurprising given its breadth of styles and level of experimentation, but every episode will find an audience (one persons miss is guaranteed to be another's hit) and there are no universal duds.

    The episodes themselves vary from straight up parody, such as Five Go Mad In Dorset (a parody of The Famous Five novels), The B******ters (a parody of cop thrillers like The Professionals) and The Beat Generation (A parody of French new wave cinema), to plain old silly stories A Fistful of Traveller's Cheques (a spoof of spaghetti westerns mashed up with a tale of British backpackers journeying through Europe), Dirty Movie (A cinema owner with a dirty movie avoiding his customers and the police) and psychedelic humour such as War (a strange road-trip through communist controlled Britain during World War III). A highlight for many will be the saga of the fictional band Bad News in the rockumentary episodes Bad News Tour and More Bad News (the first of which pre-dates This is Spinal Tap by a good year).

    To sum up a lot of the humour, a quote Bad News front-man Vim (Adrian Edmonson) is in order... I could play "Stairway to Heaven" when I was twelve. Jimmy Page didn't actually write it until he was twenty-two. I think that says quite a lot.

    This 9 disc set includes every episode of The Comic Strip Presents... (including one-off reunion episodes from 1998 and 2000, but not the 2005 ...Sex Actually) and the 1985 The Comic Strip Presents... movie The Supergrass (although it misses out on the 1987 movie Eat The Rich and 1991 movie The Pope Must Die).

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Transfer Quality


    Each of the shows is presented in their original aspect ratio. For all but 2 episodes this is 1.33:1. The most recent two episodes are presented in a 1.78:1 aspect. The Supergrass movie is presented in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio.

    The shows featured in this set were produced over the course of two decades and consequently the video quality varies significantly from episode to episode. None of the episodes look bad, although some look a little dated (the worst are comparable to a top-shelf VHS transfer). Unsurprisingly the later episodes generally look cleaner and clearer. The episodes all look reasonably sharp, having been shot on 16mm film rather than video (a rarity for British TV in the 1980s).

    Colours are a little muted by modern standards, but this is unsurprising given the age of some of the material. Blacks are on the pale side, but shadows are well defined (another benefit of shooting to film). The colours and contrast levels are consistent throughout the episodes (except where they have been deliberately altered for narrative effect).

    Quite a few film artefacts are visible in the episodes, but they aren't too distracting. The title sequences of many of the episodes haven't been cleaned up nearly as carefully as the episodes themselves. The episodes are generally free of noticeable artefacts with the exception of the two more recent (1998 and 2000) episodes in which mild aliasing is occasionally noticeable.

    Contrary to the packaging, there are no English subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    A single English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kbps) audio track is available for each episode. The audio generally sounds a little dated and is occasionally a little muddy, but is of a reasonable standard for an older TV show.

    The dialogue is generally clearly audible and there are no synchronisation issues.

    The music in different episodes varies considerably. Each episode features a soundtrack specifically tailored to the particular style of that episode and music is consistently used to great effect. The shows feature some great soundtracks, many of which were written by members of the cast (such as the parody group Bad News' songs).

    There is no noticeable surround usage or subwoofer usage.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


The Original Comic Strip Live at London's Raymond Revue Bar Featurette (29:10)

    A hilarious "documentary" about a typical night at the Comic Strip club, directed by notable punk documentarian Julian Temple. Actual live performance footage is cut together with a fictional off-stage story of sex, drugs and comedy that resembles an episode of the eventual show.

The Comic Strip - A Retrospective Featurette (53:03)

    A retrospective documentary about the series, compiled from recent interviews with many of the performers from the show. This is a reasonably interesting watch, but there isn't much more to it than reminiscing.

First Laugh On Four Featurette (49:48)

    A two part Channel 4 retrospective documentary about the show. This plays out in a very similar fashion to the other retrospective featurette, but is made up of different interviews and tells a bit more of the history behind the comedians themselves.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Comic Strip Presents... is not available in Region 1.

    This edition (save for distributor branding) is identical to the UK Region 2 release.


    An ecclectic and frequently hilarious series of short films. They are a little hit and miss, but there are guaranteed hits for almost any audience and an audience for every episode. Fans of Peter Richardson, Nigel Planer, Adrian Edmonson, Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French's other work should definitely check this lot out.

    The video quality is generally good for a show a show from the 1980s/1990s. The audio is serviceable, but nothing more.

    The extras aren't extensive, but are well targeted and of a high calibre.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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