Reviews selected from TV Zone #133

Reviews online this month (ratings given are out of 10)
The League of Gentlemen arrive in your local DVD retailer
SM:TV make Friends (sorry, Chums) on Saturday mornings
• Spike and Dru in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel
• and - finally emerging from the vortex - Doctor Who's Regeneration

BBC DVD, Cat: BBCDVD1007 Out 13 November 2000
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Reviewed by
David Miller
A precious thing

The DVD for the BAFTA-winning first series of The League of Gentlemen is exemplary. Once again, however, you get the impression that the finished package might not have been such a rewarding experience without the attentions of the League themselves, who were involved in every stage of its development.

League of Gentlemen Box SetThe DVD picture-quality enables close observation of the series' sight gags, like the newspaper billboards, many of which tie in directly with elements in the Local Book (also reviewed in this issue). In the 'extras' section there is the BBC Choice behind-the-scenes documentary on the series, plus several untelevised excerpts cut from episodes to meet the half-hour running time, notably without video effects or the film-look treatment used on broadcast. The best of these is the end of the second 'Local Shop' sketch, which finished on screen with the deathless line "We didn't burn him!"

The release is afforded a lot of attention from all sides, being the first BBC comedy DVD to feature a commentary. Again, all four League members take part, and it helps that they are clearly fans both of television and of DVD commentaries - consequently they tell us all the things we want to hear. On the disc you will discover more about the origins of Royston Vasey and how the characters were developed. This is an exceptionally good DVD.

CHUMS VOL 1 Rating: 8
Contender Video Out: 13 November 2000
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Reviewed by
Dan Ranger
Who ever thought that comedy could be this lame?

Chums Vol 1Chums is, no doubt, the highlight of Saturday morning kids tv since Sally James' thigh-length boots appearances on TISWAS. Simple set up: Chums is an unsubtle poke at the repetitive sit-com Friends; it's an insert on current weekend hangover-fodder SM:TV Live, presided over by Ant and Dec, with co-star Cat Deeley. Each week they drag celebrities away from their promotion-driven appearances to take part in skits of increasing absurdity, with genuine hilarious consequences.

There's no two ways about it, Chums is wonderful. It's got Ant and Dec's bawdy, laddish humour that they would never get away with if this wasn't dressed up as kids tv, you've got celebrities making a real fool of themselves and actually looking like they're enjoying it, and you've even got Sooty and Sweep making an appearance. What more could you want, or even need?

And not only that, but you've also got a handful of classic moments from SM:TV to amuse: watch the normally calm Dec go off on one Wonkey Donkey, and the silliness that is Pokerap. The tape is a perfect gift for your little nieces who get excited whenever 5ive come on stage, or even your friends who never surface before midday on a Saturday and refuse to believe what they're missing. An essential Christmas gift.

selected from TV Zone #133
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction
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