How to Irritate People (1968)

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Released 2-Dec-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Featurette-Sir David Frost Interview
DVD Credits
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1968
Running Time 68:10 (Case: 65)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ian Fordyce

Warner Vision
Starring John Cleese
Michael Palin
Graham Chapman
Connie Booth
Tim Brooke-Taylor
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
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 No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Let's get one thing out of the way as quickly as possible - I find John Cleese and the Monty Python style of humour extremely irritating, to say the very least. So I felt I was the best candidate to sit through a programme titled How To Irritate People, which is essentially a group of related skits designed to show various methods of making people blow their stack, connected by a talk-show style of narration by John Cleese. During the sketches, Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Connie Booth, and Tim Brooke-Taylor play various roles to demonstrate how to irritate or how to respond to irritation.

    The copyright information on the back cover reveals the exact age of this programme - thirty-four years, and it is extremely dated in more ways than one, although humour from the 1960s can be quite entertaining. The biggest audience for this sort of programme will probably either be the Monty Python fans who can't get enough of John Cleese or those who irritate people for pleasure and want to pick up some general pointers. Even I learned a few things that I hadn't though of before, such as the value of making it all seem unintentional or the importance of never pushing people too far.

    Overall, if you're a big fan of any of the actors who appear in this feature, or you're wondering if John Cleese can be any more irritating than he was in The World Is Not Enough, then this is worth a look.

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Transfer Quality


    This special was quite obviously shot on video, and as you'd expect from a thirty-four year old feature shot with such production values, it is not of the best quality.

    The transfer is presented in the aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.

    The sharpness of this transfer is pretty poor, not being much better than a twenty-year old VHS cassette. The inferior source material shows up as soon as John Cleese gets in front of the camera, as haze obscures most of his features whenever he is more than a foot away from the focal point. Interlacing is also evident when one steps through the transfer frame by frame at such points as 49:38. The shadow detail is poor, with anything that is not under the bright stage lighting being totally obscured. This entire programme was shot in a studio with a lot of stage lighting, however, so there is little need for shadow detail. Low-level noise was not a significant problem in this transfer, although it did appear to be present on occasion.

    The colours in this transfer are washed out, with mild smearing constantly evident to boot. I didn't notice any cross-colouration or dot-crawl, however. Colour blooming may be seen fairly frequently, with the unnatural halo coming from the actors' clothes at 17:08 being a typical example.

    MPEG artefacts were not apparent in the transfer, which is amazing, given the quality of the source material. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some missing frames, such as when John Cleese is moving at 26:09. This particular artefact can be seen often, with an actor appearing an inch or two away from his position in the previous frame on several occasions. Film artefacts were not in this transfer, which can be explained by the fact that the programme was shot on video, but horizontal lines occasionally appear on the picture, such as in the top right of the frame at 8:17.

    There is a subtitle stream on this disc, or at least my Toshiba player reports the presence of a subtitle stream, but switching it on yields no results.

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


    There is only one soundtrack on this DVD: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 2.0 with 224 kilobits per second.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, and the overall sound seems to be of better quality than I imagine it would have had when it was originally broadcast. There were no apparent problems with audio sync.

    There wasn't a lot of music in this programme, and I suspect that what little there was is simply stock music from the television station's archives.

    The surround channels are not used by this soundtrack.

    The subwoofer is also not used by this soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu is heavily animated, accompanied by Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced. It gives us a handy demonstration of how some DVD menus can be irritating, with the first few selections of any option resulting in the options being rearranged.

DVD Credits

    This is a thirty-second listing of everyone who worked upon the DVD, presented in the aspect ratio of 1.66:1 without 16x9 Enhancement.

Interview - Sir David Frost

    This three minute and fifty-four second interview is presented in the aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio. The video quality of this extra is far better than that of the feature (not surprising given it appears to have been shot some thirty years later).

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1, Region 2, and Region 4 versions of this disc appear to be equivalent. I would hazard a guess that this programme was shot on PAL video, so the conversion to NTSC would only add to the video woes, which rules out the Region 1 version. The Amazon price of the Region 2 version is just under ten pounds, which translates into a fair amount of Australian pesos. The local disc is the version of choice.


    How To Irritate People is quite aptly named, and it is worth a look just to get some pointers on how to deal with various types of irritant. While I will never be a fan of John Cleese, he is sufficiently devilish to make this material work.

    The video transfer is a good representation of poor source materials.

    The audio transfer is good.

    The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Wednesday, November 27, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySamsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer

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