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Brian Pern - The Complete Series 1 - 3 (Blu-ray Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000173544
Added by: Stuart McLean
Added on: 10/4/2016 19:49
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    Review for Brian Pern - The Complete Series 1 - 3

    9 / 10

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    I should start by saying that I don’t think I have ever laughed so loudly or so often during any other TV show ever. ‘Brian Pern’ is the work of comic genius.

    However, I should also add that I am a chap of a ‘certain age’ and enough of a rock fan to get almost every reference in the programme – and there are loads that rely on a little knowledge at least of what’s being spoofed.

    Of course there’s plenty of stuff that just laugh aloud funny regardless (like seeing the caption ‘Fearne Cotton’ come up every time a now elderly looking Annie Nightingale speak, or hearing new voices dubbed on to classic old footage). The point is that the jokes, the jibes, the spoofs and the laughs are utterly relentless.

    This set takes in all three original series as well as a raft of the original ‘web videos’ that were used to pilot its validity. So you get ‘Brian Pern – The Life of Rock’; ‘Brian Pern – A Life in Rock’ and ’45 Years of Prog and Roll’, each comprising three half-hour ‘rockumentary’ episodes.

    Conceived by Rhys Thomas and The Fast Show‘s Simon Day, the series traces the life and career of one ‘Brian Pern’, essentially a fairly obvious parody of Peter Gabriel and Genesis, though by means constrained to that (Fleetwood Mac, Jeff Wayne, Kate Bush, the Osbournes and many others get their come-uppance too).

    Simon Day is perfectly cast as Pern (aping Gabriel’s way of talking brilliantly), the lead singer of Prog Rock giants, Thotch (Genesis in all but name) and, as a solo artist, the first to use plasticine in a video as well as the ‘inventor of world music’.

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    Michael Kitchen plays the long-suffering, cynical manager John who is the only voice of reason in the piece, despite lacing every sentence liberally with swear words.

    There are just too many laugh aloud moments to mention but some highlights include seeing Pern with a giant Seagull head, forgetting his lines and squealing his way through their double concept album live. Or finding out that he’s on an 80’s revival bill with artists like ‘UB42’ (Two members of UB40 with Mark King from Level 42). Or a sequence on an archive Wogan episode where Sting is accompanied by a native from the rainforest with a plate in his lower lip who has been dubbed with a broad cockney accent. Or Pern on Desert Island Discs choosing all his own work (with the shot of Kirsty Young captioned Sue Lawley) and on and on and on.

    Paul Whitehouse plays Thotch guitarist Pat Quid who complains bitterly about the bands privileged upbringing, the source for a musical called ‘The Stowe Boys’. Keyboard player, Tony Pebble (clearly Tony Banks) is played by Nigel Havers who is brilliant in the role, clearly enjoying himself tremendously.

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    It all looks great (HD files transferred to Blu-Ray; what could go wrong) and the set comes generously festooned with extras – almost enough to make up another series and very welcome when you suddenly realise you’ve got through all nine episodes proper in no time.

    Highlights from the BBC online series 2008-9 (37m): Standard def picture quality but high def comedic quality.
    Outtakes: Mistakes and silly bits (7m 30s)
    Series 1 Extras (17m 20s): Deleted scenes and extra bits
    Series 2 Extras (30m): As above
    Series 3 Extras (19m):
    Brian Pern at the BBC (30m): A brilliant extra episode parodying Peter Gabriel’s cover of ‘Father and Son’ but with acres of additional laughs including a hilarious spoof of Gabriel and Bush’s ‘Don’t Give Up’.

    It’s also chock a block full of ‘guest stars’ who are all in the joke too – including some great cameos from Paul Gambaccini, Rick Wakeman, Anne Nightingale, Vic and Bob, Alan Yentob, Chrissie Hynde, Rick Parfitt, Tim Rice and … Peter Gabriel! Top notch and comedy of the decade for me, perhaps alongside W1A. It’s a good era for comedy.

    If you missed it you really need to buy it. If you saw it, then you’ll know you need to buy it.

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