Absolutely: Everything (DVD)

“So I don't need glasses then?”
“You don't need glasses now...”
Oh happy day. Should your VHS copies be worn out — always the problems with “vido” of course — the release of Absolutely: Everything is a very welcome sight. Eight discs covering all four series means every glorious episode and every sketch — plus three hours of extra features — from the talented team described, not so inaccurately, as a Scottish Monty Python.

In actual fact, this retrospective box set suggests that Absolutely might just have the edge on Python. The Python boys regularly, and famously, struggled to finish sketches. Absolutely have no such problems and sustained a remarkable level of delightful silliness and skillful idiocy that makes you wonder why Channel Four haven't bothered repeating any of these programmes properly in the interim. Yes, the clips pop up on those "The 50 Bestest Funniest Things In The World Ever" with all the regularity they deserve, but it's not the same as a full retrospective which might have taken Absolutely beyond its status of cult appeal and fond memory.

At its best, Absolutely is about as funny as anything you'll have ever seen on British TV. At its worst, it's still hilarious and it's not many sketch shows you can say that about. The consistency runs through everything from the inspired lunacy of Hunter and Docherty — and here's hoping we're now due a Mr Don & Mr George DVD set — to Morwenna Banks' little girl explaining life, the universe and everything (“that's true it is!”) via The Nice Family, the passionate patriotism of MacGlashan, Callum Gilhooley, Denzil and Gwynedd plus of course the brilliant Stonybridge Town Council and the lavatorial Frank Hovis: If Meet The Spartans was the exception to our oft-quoted rule that all fart jokes are funny, Frank proves it beyond any doubt. For anyone vaguely curious about the development of British comedy, Absolutely: Everything is an essential purchase. For anyone with fond memories of Absolutely, Absolutely: Everything is an essential purchase. For anyone looking to laugh until their stomach muscles hurt, Absolutely: Everything is an essential purchase.

EXTRAS ***** Three hours of extra features. Which are three hours of features. Which are extra... Assorted episode commentaries, the pilot episode, deleted scenes, assorted documentaries, including a musical compilation and something on the creation of the characters, famous people reminiscing about the series... To paraphrase the Little Girl, this is one box set that is definitely not poohy.

Neil Davey is a freelance writer who specialises in things you can do sitting down, such as travelling, eating, drinking, watching films, interviewing famous people and playing video games. (And catching the occasional salmon.) Neil is the author of two Bluffer's Guides (Chocolate, and Food, both of which make lovely presents, ahem), and, along with Stuart O'Connor, is a co-founder of Screenjabber. Neil also writes / has written for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Square Mile, Delicious Magazine, Sainsbury's Magazine, Foodism, Escapism, Hello! and Square Meal.

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