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3rd May 2005 15:24:00
Posted by Dave Foster

The Comic Strip Presents - The Complete Collection in July

News
Channel 4 DVD have announced the UK DVD release of The Comic Strip Presents - The Complete Collection 1982 - 2000 for 4th July 2005 priced at £49.99. Widely acknowledged as the founding fathers of alternative comedy, The Comic Strip Presents… launched the careers of some of our best-loved comedians including Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle, Ade Edmondson, Peter Richardson, Keith Allen, Robbie Coltrane and Nigel Planer.

The then unknown entertainers came together on stage in a strip joint in Soho sharing a unique sense of humour, which earned them a cult following throughout the capital. As the hottest ticket in town, visitors from the US including Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson would drop by, and Robin Williams even joined the group on stage!

Approached by the artists, Channel 4 was convinced to take a chance and commission a TV series. Launched the same day as the Channel itself in November 1982, this political and social satire became an instant hit, changing the face of UK comedy forever.

Over 20 years after the first transmission, Channel 4 Video is, for the first time, bringing together all 39 episodes of the ground-breaking comedy in a 9–disc collectors box set. Classics include: Five Go Mad in Dorset – the parody of the Famous Five stories washed down with lashings of ginger beer, Golden Rose of Montreux winning Strike! – an over the top Hollywood pastiche about the 1984 miners strike, and Bad News – a send up of a touring rock band – the original Spinal Tap!

The 9th disc is loaded with an extensive array of extras for fans of this cult series with a running time of over two hours. Included is a brand new exclusive retrospective of the Comic Strip presents….comprising of interviews with Dawn French, Adrian Edmondson, Peter Richardson, Alexei Sayle, Nigel Planer, Pete Richens, Lenny Henry, Leslie Philips, Julie T Wallace, Gary Beadle and Phil Cornwell about their Comic Strip experiences. Julien Temple’s 1981 tongue in cheek look at what went on behind the scenes of the original stage show The Comic Strip, and cast interviews from 1998 make up disc 9.

DVD Episode Guide


Disc One
Episodes 1 – 6 Duration 179 mins


1. Five Go Mad In Dorset tx: 1982
stars: Adrian Edmondson, Peter Richardson, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Robbie Coltrane

Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Tim appeared on the opening night of Channel 4 in 1982 and launched the Comic Strip presents. Taking a satirical look at outdated gender roles and old-fashioned value systems, this send up of Enid Blyton’s childrens adventures, follows the famous five as they set out on a bicycle ride through the country, having a ripping time on their summer hols, with picnics aplenty,
and exposing heinous crimes that fall into their path….all washed down with lashings of ginger beer!

2. War 1983
stars: Robbie Coltrane, Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders

Its 1985 and the Communist Warsaw Pact countries have seized control of England. A young married couple retreats to a countryside cottage, but due to circumstances way beyond their control, they soon find themselves separated and swept up in the chaos of a war-torn nation.

3. The Beat Generation 1983
stars: Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders, Keith Allen

A group of Beatnik artists and poets convene for a weekend of debauchery, destructive behaviour, and clever conversation at the house of naïve young wannabe Desmond while his parents are out of town.

4. Bad News Tour 1983
stars: Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders

Often compared with Spinal Tap, this rockumentary follows fifth-rate heavy metal band Bad News as they set out on their biggest tour to date. Band members Vim Fuego, Den Dennis, Colin Grigson, and Spider Webb hope to find lager, gigs, and schoolgirls on the road.

5. Summer School 1983
stars: Adrian Edmondson, Jennifer Saunders, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Dawn French, Peter Richardson, Robbie Coltrane

Summer school students taking a course on the Iron Age construct a primitive village in the centre of a university campus, where they must learn to fend for themselves without modern conveniences.

6. Five Go Mad On Mescalin 1983
stars: Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders, Robbie Coltrane

The follow up to Five Go Mad in Dorset sees Julian, Dick, George, Anne, and their dog Timmy return to the countryside for the holidays and set out to unlock the mysteries of love island.


Disc Two
Episodes 7 – 11 Duration 162 mins


7. Dirty Movie 1984
stars: Robbie Coltrane, Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson

A cinema owner expectantly waits for the mail to deliver his dirty movie, and once it arrives, he faces the additional trauma of finding somewhere private to watch, away from him wife, the porn squad, the postman and a lobster.

8. Susie 1984
stars: Robbie Coltrane, Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders

A lascivious schoolteacher has grown hopelessly bored with her bland small-town existence and her indifferent but steady husband. Her world takes a sudden turn, however, when a wealthy pop star moves to town to get a taste of country life. Suddenly, she must choose between her tedious but adoring other half, and this intriguing, unpredictable new man in her life.

9. A Fistful Of Travellers’ Cheques 1984
stars: Keith Allen, Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders

Carlos and Miguel are Englishmen obsessed with the mystique of the Old West and long to take on the role of gunmen in search of a brawl. Travelling the countryside by public rail on a fantasy holiday, in costumes straight out of a Spaghetti Western, they hook up with spunky Australian tourists, a hippie hitchhiker, and a mass-murderer who works in an abattoir but dresses as a matador.

10. Gino – Full Story and Pics 1984
stars: Keith Allen, Robbie Coltrane, Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Rik Mayall, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders

Gino’s life takes a major turn for the worse when he is framed for murder by a homicidal housewife, and is built up by the media to sound like an infamous criminal mastermind. Every step he takes carries him further into a life of crime. Pursued by over-zealous police officers masquerading as milkmen and postmen, it looks like there's no way out for Gino….. until he teams up with a gutsy typist on the run from her own unfulfilling life, and the two of them find a way to turn the media attention to their advantage.

11. Eddie Monsoon- A Life? 1984
stars: Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders

Relentless alcoholic, drug addict and fame-obsessed TV personality Eddie Monsoon from South Africa is the subject of a Channel 4 expose that looks back over his life and loves, while he lies bedridden in a rehab hospital.


Disc Three
Episodes 12-15 Duration 201 mins


12. Slags 1984
stars: Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders, Emma Thompson

Feared street leaders Passion and Little Sister are released from prison, whereupon they learn that their gang the Slags has disbanded during their incarceration, having been driven out of its territory by rival gang The Hawaiians. Bent on revenge, they reunite the Slags for a rumble with The Hawaiians to reclaim their turf. This grim tale set in a bizarre, apocalyptic world is West Side Story with a gruesome twist.

13. The Bullshitters 1984
stars: Keith Allen, Peter Richardson, Robbie Coltrane, Elvis Costello

BONEHEAD and FOYLE are the flashiest, fastest and most under dressed detectives to be kicked out of DI5. But when the guv'nor's daughter is kidnapped the duo are called back in. With a Magnum in one hand and a bus pass in the other, THE BULLSHITTERS, set out to track down the criminals and get some good close-ups. However as every good TV cop knows, not all is as it seems!

14. The Supergrass 1984
stars: Adrian Edmondson, Jennifer Saunders, Peter Richardson, Robbie Coltrane, Nigel Planer, Keith Allen, Dawn French, Alexei Sayle, Michael Elphick

In an effort to impress the girl of his dreams, compulsive liar Dennis Carter contrives a far-fetched story, professing his involvement in an international drug ring. When the police take his claims seriously, he finds there are considerable benefits to the pampered life of a supergrass.

15. Consuela 1986
stars: Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Adrian Edmondson, Peter Richardson, Rik Mayall

In this parody of Rebecca, a young bride arrives at her husband's vast estate to find that she is left to fend for herself, at the mercy of a mysterious and sinister Spanish maid who she suspects does not have her best interests at heart.


Disc Four
Episodes 16-19 Duration 193 mins


16. Private Enterprise 1986
stars: Peter Richardson, Adrian Edmondson, Nigel Planer, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Rik Mayall, Rowland Rivron, Keith Allen

When a toilet paper delivery van driver and small-time con man chances upon a demo tape by a defunct no-name band, he decides to pass himself off as a rock musician, in his most enterprising moneymaking scheme yet.

17. The Strike 1988
stars: Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders, Alexei Sayle, Dawn French, Nigel Planer, Robbie Coltrane, Adrian Edmondson, Keith Allen, Rik Mayall

Al Pacino (Peter Richardson) and Meryl Streep (Jennifer Saunders) star as Arthur Scargill and his wife in an overly dramatized Hollywood epic about the 1984 miners' strike.

Winner of the Golden Rose award at the Montreux Festival in 1988.


18. More Bad News 1988
stars: Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French

Five years after their far-from-amicable break-up, the members of heavy metal band Bad News reunite when they are offered a record deal and a chance to play the festival at Castle Donington.

19. Mr Jolly Lives Next Door 1988
stars: Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Peter Cook, Peter Richardson, Nicholas Parsons, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French

Two boozers who run the Dreamytime Escort agency are in for the night of their lives when they accept a job to "take out" popular TV entertainer Nicholas Parsons.


Disc Five
Episodes 20-22 Duration 158 mins


20. The Yob 1988
stars: Keith Allen, Warren Clarke, Adrian Edmondson, Peter Richardson

A trendy music video director has his brain crossed with that of a football hooligan in a freak accident resulting when he mistakes a cerebral teleportation machine for a portable toilet. He begins a slow and painful transition from artsy high-fashion connoisseur to violent Neanderthal thug, finding himself physically incapable of suppressing his newfound urges to drink lager and vandalize public lavatories. This episode pays tribute to David Cronenberg's film classic The Fly.

21. Didn’t You Kill My Brother? 1988
stars: Alexei Sayle, Beryl Reid, Peter Richardson,

Carl Moss, a convicted murderer, is released early from prison with over 200 university degrees and a Liverpool accent, and is confronted by his twin brother who framed him. Further confusion ensues as his probation officer falls in love with him!

22. Funseekers 1988
stars: Keith Allen, Kathy Burke, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson,

It’s high season in Ibiza, and yet another party of 18-30’s holiday-makers have arrived for their annual binge of donkey rides, discos and drinking….and leave realising that there is more to Spain than beach barbecues!


Disc Six
Episodes 23-27 Duration 170 mins


23. South Atlantic Raiders 1990
stars: Robbie Coltrane, Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders, Kathy Burke, Lenny Henry

A security service driver for a British bank meets and falls in love over the radio with a woman stranded on a bird watching expedition in the South Atlantic. When he is tricked into thinking the Falklands are under attack by an enemy army, he takes drastic measures to finance a rescue mission to save his new girlfriend.

24. South Atlantic Raiders Part II 1990
stars: Robbie Coltrane, Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders, Kathy Burke

Having robbed a bank and hijacked a plane to travel to the South Atlantic to protect Frances, the woman he loves, Stan finds himself at the mercy of Argentinean soldiers plotting to recapture the Falkland Islands.

25. GLC 1990
stars: Robbie Coltrane, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Adrian Edmondson, Leslie Phillips, Peter Richardson, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Keith Allen,

Charles Bronson (Robbie Coltrane) stars in a big-budget Hollywood film as Ken Livingstone, a man of the people and elected leader of the GLC. After successfully preventing the Tories from flooding South London to turn it into a yacht club, Livingstone makes it his one-man mission to stop "The Ice Maiden" Margaret Thatcher from beheading the Prince of Wales and taking over the kingdom.

26. Oxford 1990
stars: Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Lenny Henry, Leslie Philips, Nigel Planer, Adrian Edmondson, Peter Richardson

Hannah is a street-wise American woman with a passion for Lord Byron's poetry who is prepared to do anything it takes to get into a course at Oxford, and she means anything. Also eager to study Byron is Caroline, the quiet-natured girlfriend of narcissistic mega-star comedian Steve "Zoo Zoo Zoo Off Come My Pants" Wild. When he disapproves of her aspirations, Caroline must go behind her boyfriend's back to take the course, unaware that she's not the only one doing the deceiving.

27 Spaghetti Hoops 1990
stars: Nigel Planer, Alexei Sayle, Tim McInnerny, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Peter Richardson, Keith Allen.

Bank chairman Aldo Vini, who is suspected of embezzling $200 million from his bank in Rome, is pursued across Europe by incompetent assassins.

This episode was filmed in black and white.


Disc Seven
Episodes 28-33 Duration 208 mins


28. Les Dogs 1990
stars: Kate Bush, Adrian Edmondson, Miranda Richardson, Alexei Sayle, Tim McInnerny, Peter Richardson, Alexei Sayle, Peter Richardson, Keith Allen

A wedding between feuding upper-class families turns into an all-out war zone. In the midst of the chaos and bloodshed, the wedding photographer becomes enraptured by the bride's stunning beauty, and the story drifts into the surreal realm of his imagination, where the lines between fantasy, dream, and reality become hopelessly blurred.

29. Red Nose Of Courage 1992
stars: Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Alexei Sayle, Robbie Coltrane, Rik Mayall, Jennifer Saunders, Peter Richardson, Nigel Planer, Keith Allen

John Major rises above his humble beginnings as a mediocre clown in a circus family when he sets out to pursue his dream of becoming a Tory bureaucrat and forges a career in the political circus. Torn between two worlds, his life becomes a balancing act.

30. The Crying Game 1992
stars: Keith Allen, Peter Richardson, Nigel Planer

All Roy Brush wants is to be the greatest footballer in the world. When he rises to national hero status after saving a young man from drowning and secures a European Cup Final trophy for England, it seems the sky is the limit to the fame he can achieve. But one painful secret-- and one astute newspaper reporter from The Scum-- stand between him and his goal.

31. Wild Turkey 1992
stars: Ruby Wax, Jennifer Saunders, Peter Richardson, Mike McShane

It’s approaching Christmas and when a couple get their festive bird back home, they realise that all is not what it seems as the turkey is not dead! The bird takes them hostage demanding a ransom of freedom for all turkeys everywhere!

32. Detectives On The Edge Of A 1993
Nervous Breakdown
stars: Keith Allen, Peter Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Phil Cornwell

In a sequel to The Bullshitters, Bonehead and Foyle are called in to solve a 70s-style murder. Unfortunately, so are 70s detectives Shouting George of The Weeney and Jason Bentley of Department Z, and 90s Northern detective Dave Spanker.

33. Space Virgins From Planet Sex 1993
stars: Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Robbie Coltrane, Peter Richardson, Keith Allen, Miranda Richardson, Adrian Edmondson

Beautiful space aliens on a mission to repopulate their planet use their feminine wiles to capture healthy, intelligent specimens of Earthmen as sex slaves. It's up to decidedly non-feminist secret agent James Blond to shut down the Space Rats' baby factory and free the captives from unspeakable sexual oppression.


Disc Eight
Episodes 34-39 Duration 193 mins


34. Queen Of The Wild Frontier 1993
stars: Josie Lawrence, Peter Richardson, Alexei Sayle

Two escaped convicts hide in a country house owned by two women.

35. Gregory – Diary of a Nutcase 1993
stars: Adrian Edmondson, Keith Allen, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Kate Robbins, Phil Cornwell

In this none-too-subtle parody of the film The Silence of the Lambs, a rookie police cadet falls prey to the sexual allure of imprisoned cannibalistic serial killer Dr Ghengis; meanwhile, aspiring serial killer Gregory Dawson makes a video diary of his botched attempts to stalk and imprison a woman in his homemade torture chamber.

36. Demonella 1993
stars: Robbie Coltrane, Jennifer Saunders, Miriam Margoyles, Peter Richardson, Nigel Planer, Miranda Richardson, Adrian Edmondson, Keith Allen

A struggling music producer accepts a song from the Devil that is guaranteed to win him riches and fame. In exchange, he must obtain his mother's top-secret chicken soup recipe so the Devil can impress finicky dinner guests in Hell.

37. Jealousy 1993
stars: Jennifer Saunders, Miranda Richardson, Peter Richardson, Robbie Coltrane, Nigel Planer, Kathy Burke

A jealous husband is consumed to the point of madness with suspicions about his wife's extracurricular activities.

38. Four Men In a Car 1998
stars: Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Peter Richardson, Nigel Planer, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French

Four salesman share a hellish journey to a sales conference where only one of them will achieve promotion.

39. Four Men In a Plane 2000
stars: Sean Hughes, Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson

The four salesmen from the previous film go on a sales conference abroad and decide that rather than take a ten hour coach ride across the desert to the conference centre, they’ll hire their own small plane, with its own mad pilot, to get them there. Unfortunately the pilot dies, crashes the plane and leaves them to fend for themselves in the desert.

Disc Nine
Extras Duration: over 2 hours


A brand new one-hour documentary: Comic Strip – A Retrospective (2005)

Exclusive new interviews with Dawn French, Adrian Edmondson, Peter Richardson, Alexei Sayle, Nigel Planer, Pete Richens, Lenny Henry, Leslie Philips, Julie T Wallace, Gary Beadle and Phil Cornwell about their Comic Strip experiences.

The Comic Strip – Live (1981)

Julien Temple’s burlesque ‘behind the scenes’ look at the original stage show, starring all of the original cast, and compèred by Alexei Sayle

Two original ‘First on Four’ documentaries (1988)
The original Channel 4 cast and crew interviews from 1998, offering insight into how the Comic Strip Presents…phenomena came about.
About Dave Foster
Dave has been loitering the virtual halls of TDF for a decade now and the majority of that time has been spent as Editor of the Home Cinema section (formerly DVDTimes). He doesn't contribute reviews anywhere near as much as he once did (or indeed would like to) but when he does it will invariably be something in the anime or Asian film area.


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