Matt Lucas and David Walliams return for a third go around of Little Britain, the popular British import. Just as twisted as the two previous seasons, the third trip around this fictional country shows exactly why this show is regarded as one of the best comedy sketch programs in years.
The synopsis provided by Warner Home Video, releasing the third season (or “series”) onto DVD, provides a gleeful look into what you can expect from Little Britain. Series Three of the ultimate catchphrase comedy sees the welcome return of some favorite characters including Lou and Andy, Marjorie and the Fat Fighters club, Sebastian Love and the Prime Minister, and trash-talk teenager Vicky Pollard. Some very interesting new faces are also introduced as well, such as Dudley, who buys a mail order bride from Thailand. Little Britain presents the breathtaking debris of modern life in all its glory.
I’m not too sure where to begin this review, having never reviewed a sketch program such as this before. The format of the show is simple. Each episode consists of about ten to fifteen sketches with a recurring cast of characters. Most of these characters recurring characters include the trash-talking delinquent Vicky Pollard, Dafydd (the only gay in the village), and the ever popular duo Andy and Lou (roughly based on Lou Reed and Andy Worhol, if I recall correctly). There are new characters of course, such as Mr. Dudley who winds up with a shock when ordering a Thai mail-order bride. Add in Sir Anthony Head as the Prime Minister, Tom Baker as the narrator, and guest-appearances galore, and you have the basics for one fine comedy sketch series. There’s much more, but there should be some surprises left to discover for yourself.
And yes, you will have a fun time discovering a few shocks and surprises. One of the best things Lucas and Walliams could have done and let each sketch be connected (not directly usually) to the previous sketch of the same character. It’s hard to believe, but you actually see growth and maturity in these characters after they go through one ridiculous situation after another. Not every sketch is golden, mind you, but there’s rarely a miss. And you’ll likely need a strong stomach to get through some of the sketches, some of which are so bizarre and completely out there. Thankfully due to the quick pace, any bad sketch is done within minutes (sometimes seconds) and you’re already onto the next segment. Surprisingly, they also avoid repetition. It does sneak in, especially when it’s a character you’re not too fond of, but the brisk pace just keeps the ball going and going.
The characters are kept fresh, amazingly, and the show successfully keeps rolling on. There is bound to be something that everyone can enjoy in here.
Now, is the DVD enjoyable? Well, let’s take a look at the spec rundown for the Little Britain: The Complete Third Series:
-Animated menu with music
-Scene Access with 95 cues and remote access
-Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
-30 Deleted Scenes
-8 Feature/Episode commentaries by Matt Lucas and David Walliams
The extras, like the previous two Little Britain releases, are well handled. First off, we have commentaries on the entire series. I’m still surprised at how calm and well spoken Matt Lucas is. There’s more to him than this sketch show, you can plainly see. There is the odd dead space, but overall they provide plenty of insight, anecdotes, and behind-the-scenes stories to keep the commentary entertaining.
The deleted scenes are fine but, like most releases, some do fall flat. It’s apparent why some were cut and why some sketches just didn’t work out that well. There’s some great stuff so I’d recommend sitting through all thirty deleted scenes. I found them to be enjoyable for the most part.
The extras are well-rounded, as these sets usually are. I’m always pleasantly surprised at not only how full do these sets feel, in terms of extras, but just how excellent the material is. In a day where DVD extras are either really fluffy or sometimes ridiculously overproduced, these find a balance. They actually do feel a little bit special because they’re occasionally off the beaten path. These extras usually collect interviews over a period time so while a lot of the same material is covered, it never seems dull. There’s a particular odd interview where one of the creators gets to test-drive a new car, while another interview appearance has them on a fascinating show called “Heresy,” where guests challenge “accepted opinion” of modern day culture.
If you picked up the first two series of Little Britain, there’s no reason to turn down Little Britain: The Complete Third Series. If you’re looking for something new to try in the comedy vein, give this very deserving series a shot. This collection easily comes Recommended.
Originally posted on DVD Discussion forum in December of 2006.