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The Best of The Two Ronnies (BBC) (DVD)

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Genre: Television - The Two Ronnies / Theatrical Release: 1971 / Director: Michael Hurll, Marcus Plantin, Terry Hughes, Peter Whitmore (II), James Gilbert (IV), Brian Penders, Paul Jackson (II), Marcus Mortimer / Actors: Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett ... / DVD released 01 October, 2001 at 2 Entertain Video / Features of the DVD: Full Screen, PAL

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      01.05.2008 21:50
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      Great comedy highlights

      Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker were a great double act whose shows I have seen as they are repeated a lot especially the Christmas specials and this series was a revival show which had the presenters hosting it and showing some of the best clips from their original shows.

      It was noticeable how age was catching up in particular with Ronnie Barker who sadly passed away recently but this show is a fitting celebration of his partnership with Corbett who always seemed to play the straight character in some of their sketches but also had great comic timing himself.

      I particularly used to enjoy the musical sketches that they used to do, they seemed to really get into the characters they were playing. I also used to enjoy the rambling monologues that used to feature the rather diminuative Corbett in a big black chair attempting to tell a joke and constantly meandering away from the subject to crack additional gags.

      Both were skilled at performing word related gags and I liked the mastermind sketch where the contestant provided the answer to the first question when the second question was asked which resulted in some hilarious puns and observations.

      This was a great show and alongside the repeats you see of Morcombe and Wse these were up there with them as the finest comedy pairs this country has probably ever produced.

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        02.02.2008 20:13
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        remember the days when this show was on TV

        The Two Ronnie's was a quality comedy programme. They don't make comedies like Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett anymore. By the title of this DVD I thought it was the best of the two Ronnies. This is not the case. Several of the quality sketches like 'The Worm That Turned' or 'The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town' are missing. I rate these as the best of what they produced. All in all there are 25 sketches. The content is not as I epxected however the DVD is still worth storing in the collection. Some of the sketches I hadn't seen before, some I had remembered. The best thing about this DVD is that it reminded me of the quality of comedy and written material produced in the show.

        It is a DVD but it has no extra matertial that is on most TV and Film DVDs. There is a menu which is useful to move around. The price of this DVD is £8.98. Amazon is selling it.

        I loved this show. Sadly it is not on TV anymore. Ronnie Barker, brains of the show died sometime ago. We all are reminded of his talent by watching DVD like this. He was a very funny man.

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          11.01.2008 22:47
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          The Best of The Two Ronnies

          THE TWO RONNIES are one of the best loved comedy double acts ever to grace British television screens. One Ronnie was Ronnie Corbett (the shorter one, who also starred in the sitcom SORRY), and the other Ronnie (the erm... larger one) was Ronnie Barker (who also appeared in LOTS of sitcoms, including PORRIDGE and OPEN ALL HOURS).

          The pair first worked together in the 1960s, but their 'Two Ronnies' series did not begin on the BBC until 1971, where it remained until 1987. In total there were 98 shows, including the Christmas Specials, and they revolved around a series of sketches. However no matter what sketches would appear, a staple of each episode would be them both seated behind a desk reading amusing fake news items.

          As a child I always enjoyed The Two Ronnies. I have always been a sucker for double acts, with Laurel & Hardy and Morecambe & Wise being at the top of my list of favourites, and I've even been known to tune into Ant and Dec on occasion as I think that they are modern day equivalents (although nowhere near as good). For a number of years however I went off The Two Ronnies. They seemed quite passe, and old fashioned, and I wanted new humour. At the time I gravitated instead towards Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer (I was a student so can I hope be forgiven for the lapse!).

          However then I came across this DVD, 'The Best Of The Two Ronnies', on my Dad's DVD shelf. I took it off the shelf and played it, and fell in love with the pair all over again. The selections of scenes and sketches on the DVD are truly among some of the best that they ever produced, and I think that my real favourite is the 'Mastermind' sketch, where Ronnie Corbett's specialist subject is "answering the question before last" - highly amusing.

          I highly recommend this DVD to anyone who likes to laugh.

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            07.12.2007 09:19
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            Great comedy DVD

            The Two Ronnies was an extremely popular comedy sketch show that ran during the seventies and eighties and featured the comic genius of Ronnie Barker from Porridge and Open all Hours along with his partner the diminutive Ronnie Corbett. Sadly Barker is no longer with us but Corbett still appears on TV and you can catch repeats on cable channels. They did make a sort of return in recent years however this was merely an excuse to show old clips with the two of them providing the links.

            This DVD is a must have for fans as it covers the period from 1971 to I think 1987 which for me was the best even though I have no real memory of the early stuff.

            Nowadays the humour may be viewed as being slightly politically incorrect but that is a load of crap in my opinion as the quality of both the comedy writing and the performances would put many so called comedy stars of today to shame, there was no need for swearing or filfthy sexual language rather a smutty seaside postcard sort of humour and some intelligent word play was all that was required. Add to this the tendency for the two to perform very funny musical numbers and the show provides a lot of laughs.

            On the DVD there are some great sketches however my main criticism of this is the fact that they left, in my opinion their greatest sketch out which is the one set in the hardware store.

            By far my favourite sketch is the mastermind sketch where Corbett anwers the question with the answer from the previous question, the comic timing is excellent as is the deadpan expression on his face as he delivers the one liners. In all there are about 25 sketches including the famous Corbett monologues which when I was younger I found annoying however now I can appreciate a great story teller at work and of course their signature news items as an ending also appear.

            If you can find this on ebay then it is well worth checking out for real fans.

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              27.11.2005 21:27
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              An excellent DVD packed full of classic moments, something for everyone!

              Where do I begin with this review? How can I do justice to one of the best British comedy shows of all Time? As a child I can remember being glued to TV with my parents, rolling on the floor with laughter whenever it was screened (and these were just the repeats!). I was deeply saddened to learn that the genius that was Ronnie Barker had passed away, and I felt compelled to write a review as a small tribute to one of his most admiral pieces of work. The Two Ronnies have recently been voted the best comedy duo of all time, some might argue Morcombe and Wise are most deserved of this honour, but when you watch this retrospective DVD of the Two Ronnies Show, it is not hard to see why this is.

              ***The Show***
              The show comprised of 6-8 episodes containing of several hilarious sketches, which depicted outrageous situations. The stars of the show were Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbet, however, credit should also be given to the material for the show, written by Some of Britain's most successful TV comedy writers including David Nobbs, David Renwick, Michael Palin, John Cleese and John Sullivan were all contributors. Ronnie Barker himself wrote 75% of the material, using the pseudonym "Gerald Wiley". The comedy stems from The Ronnies slipping into a huge variety of different guises and personalities.

              The show ran for twelve series, that is 89 episodes and eight specials on the BBC, becoming one of the nations favourite television comedy shows. Like The BBC, it was almost an institution, a time where the whole family would gather in front of the TV. The reason for its popularity? You could say it was the expertly written sketches, or the sublime acting. However, I believe it is because the comedy is ‘safe’; no swearing, easily digestible, but often very funny and appealing to all ages and races.

              Every week followed a set formula; The opening 'announcers' slot ("In a packed programme tonight"), with the two Ronnies sitting behind desks reading corny but spoof news items. This followed with an anecdote from Ronnie Corbett (seated in his mastermind type chair), although straying from the original subject, always managed to get back on course at the finish. (These interludes were written by Spike Mullins.) This followed with various sketches featuring both of the stars. The real centrepiece of each show was the excellently written and produced spoof serials, which would be in the form of a continuing thread throughout a series. The most memorable of these was the beautifully filmed, and very funny, Jack The Ripper spin-off, The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town, written by Spike Milligan. The penultimate item in the show was usually a musical spoof in which the Ronnies danced, marched, or even paraded using humourous lyrics. The final item was the closing 'newsreader' slot ("It's goodnight from me ... and it's goodnight from him"). Rather than becoming tiresome, the show gained more and more admiration with familiarity.

              Despite being at the peak of it’s popularity, (an average audience of 15 million!) the series came to an end when in 1986, Ronnie Barker decided to retire whilst still at the top. In fact, I’m sure it was a struggle to find fresh, new, funny material to the standard set by previous years, which had helped make the series a success in the beginning.

              ***The dynamic duo.***
              The two Ronnies were first paired in 1966 on The Frost Report(BBC) and renewed the working partnership in Frost On Sunday (made by Rediffusion and then LWT), a chat show interspersed with brief comedy items. The chemistry was obviously evident, and the BBC executives lured them back to the Corporation to star in their own show. After two introductory specials the first series was unveiled on 10 April 1971.

              In my opinion, much of the success of The Two Ronnies owed to the chemistry between the two stars, who, clearly enjoyed one another's company and were friends off-screen as well as on. This was most evident when I was a member of the studio audience for the recent retrospective sketchbook series shown earlier in the year. Each of the Ronnies’ wives sat together in the audience laughing out loud, whilst between takes, the two Ronnies would chat away and share jokes with the crowds. It is a memory I will cherish forever.

              During the series, and after, both performers managed to sustain successful solo careers, a rare and enviable feat in the show business world. Barker most notably created and stared in Open all Hours in which he stared alongside David Jason, playing Arkwright, and there was the jewel in his crown Porridge, where he played Fletcher. Both shows voted in the Top Ten sitcoms of all time. In 1988, Barker created the not so well known show Clarence, in which he played a shortsighted removal man set in the 1930’s. Corbett most notably stared in Sorry!


              ***The DVD***
              This DVD is a tribute to the show from 1971 to 1987, the golden years! It features the most loved sketches including; The Vagabond Lover (before he died of drink, women and horses). One of my favourites Swedish Made Simple, where the duo's talent for quickfire wordplay is displayed; the phonetic "Swedish Lesson" is set in a restaurant ("F-U-N-E-X?" "S, V-F-X.")! When said allowed, these letters actually make a sentence, give it a go!

              There is also the classic "Ice Cream Parlour" sketch, in which Corbett's strangely requests cheese and onion flavour ice cream. Barker, the ice cream parlour worker replies with an endless list of alternatives at rapid speed, met with a round of applause from the audience. Corbett of course makes he repeat the list over and over again!

              "Crossed Lines" is another of my favourites, (two halves of two different telephone conversations heard at once). The Two Ronnies are both on payphones talking to different people, one conversation is about a shopping list, and the other is talking to a friend about a date. You hear different parts of each conversation, which makes one interesting conversation!

              "Mastermind", in which Corbett's special subject is "answering the question before last". This derives some hilarious answers that can only be delivered from Corbett.

              The only problem I have with this DVD is the obvious… how could they have left out so much. For example, the classic “four candle” sketch. Set in a hardware shop, the sketch opens with Barker asking for "Four candles". Corbett, as the shop assistant, puts four candles on the counter. "No," says Barker "Four candles!" The bemused Corbett looks at him and tells him that's what he's got. "No," Insists Barker, "four candles...'andles for forks." During a recent Two Ronnies Night viewers were asked to vote for their favourite sketch, this topped the pole. It is unthinkable that they could miss this out! However, as there is such much quality, it would be a struggle to include everything. On the positive side, every one of the 25 items is hilarious!

              ***Artwork***
              The cover displays the Two Ronnies at their desks, as you would find them in the news item slot. The picture is taken during the peak of the show, and is recognisable to everyone.

              ***Special features/Extras***
              The extras included on this DVD are extremely lacking, considering the amount of material there is out there! They include artist profiles, and a sketch selection. The profiles are very detailed, and give an interesting account into the background of the pair. I would like to see interviews, out-takes, something along those lines.

              ***Cost***
              The DVD is available from most DVD outlets, although the prices vary. I purchased mine from Play.com for £12.99

              ***Technical details***

              Actors:-Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett
              Certificate:-PG
              Screen: Fullscreen:- 4:3
              Colour Colour :- B&W
              Languages:- English - Dolby Digital (2.0) Mono (No subtitles).
              Duration:-1 hour and 25 minutes (approx)
              Region :- Region 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.


              ***To sum up…***
              The Two Ronnies is undoubtedly one of the greatest British comedy shows of all time
              If you have read one of my comedy reviews before, you will know my admiration for the duo. Whilst this DVD lacks the extra features I crave in DVD’s, the quality of the comedy makes up for it. The most wonderful thing about the DVD, and the duo, is that the comedy is still plausible today. It is the perfect present for anyone and everyone, and I feel safe in the knowledge that the Two Ronnies work lives on with this retrospective DVD.

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              How could there not be a Best of the Two Ronnies? After all, there isn't any worst. The only conceivable gripe anyone could have with this collection is the usual how-could-they-have-left-out-so-and-so problem that is bound to beset a comedy programme of such high quality. However, pretty much every one of the 25 items on this generously filled release is an unmitigated joy. The duo's talent for quickfire wordplay is well to the fore in such sketches as "Nuts Milord", the phonetic "Swedish Lesson" set in a restaurant ("F-U-N-E-X?" "S, V-F-X.") and in the classic "Ice Cream Parlour", in which Corbett's request for cheese and onion ice cream is met with Barker's endless list of alternatives delivered at auctioneer-like speed. They also excel at manipulating the whole concept of how dialogue works, as in "Crossed Lines" (two halves of two different telephone conversations heard at once) and "Mastermind", in which Corbett's special subject is "answering the question before last". All told this is an unmissable collection; so in the words of the St Botolph's Country Dance Group (featured in the wonderful song-and-dance finale), "Sod off, sod off, so doff your hat I pray". On the DVD: The Best of the Two Ronnies on disc is presented in 4:3 TV ratio and also includes artist profiles plus a helpful, stills-driven menu, but no other extras. --Roger Thomas

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