Tuesday, 20 September 2011

How To Make Your TV Shows On DVD Collection 107% More Excellent (For Under £50)


It’s the first of an occasional series of blog updates that’ll soon fizzle out into nothing! (Oh we WILL so continue with our World Cup of TV Comedy, really we will.) (Yes, really.) (REALLY.)

Long story short: thanks to our excellent now ex-colleagues, we’ve got some Amazon gift card virtu-cash to play with, so we’ve been having a look through Amazon, and there are quite a few great DVD bargains on the go at the moment. Ignoring all the movies on DVD (which will turn up on sale at £2.99 in Home Bargains in three months after being released, so quite why anyone ever pays full price for them we’ll never understand), here are a clutch of brilliant TV on DVD bargains currently on offer.

To make it more fun*, we’re going to spend an imaginary £50 of YOUR money on DVDs, and subsequently improve your DVD collection beyond all belief. Think of it as a kind of “Telly Geek Eye For The Normal Guy Or Girl (But Statistically Likely To Be A Guy)”. Or as being a bit like that round on Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation where they do something a bit similar only with goods from the past and no-one’s noticed yet that the logic behind the game doesn’t really work.

(*We may mean ‘fun’ in the same way that Intel once claimed the Pentium II processor was somehow ‘fun’, i.e. not fun at all.)


(All links are to Amazon UK, and include our referral code so we might make a few pennies out of any purchase, though you won’t pay an extra bean for your goodies – that’s the BrokenTV Pledge™. If you hate us or just get turned on by the thought of us dressed in rags, feel free to just copy and paste the DVD titles into Amazon yourself.)

1. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy : The Complete 1979 BBC Series £4.87


GENUINE CLASS. Newly remade into a Oscar-magnet of a movie starring Gary Oldman and Benedict Cumberbatch, you can now pick up the original BBC series starring Alex Guinness, Joss “You Are No Longer Here” Ackland and Ian Richardson for under a fiver. Cripes, eh? We ‘spy’ with our little eye something beginning with ‘B’. (It’s ‘bargain’. That thing we spied was a bargain. The bargain of this DVD.)

2. Smiley’s People: The Complete 1982 BBC Series £4.87


JEREMY’S… IRON? Yeah, we admit that the former Playaway presenter isn’t actually in this series, but shush. More semi-sedentary spy escapades with another adaptation of a classic Le Carré bestseller, this time with the likes of Patrick Stewart, Alan Rickman, Bill Paterson, Michael Elphick and Beryl Reid popping up alongside Guinness. At that price, it’s hard to say no.


3. Sherlock: Series One £5.49


“But Brokes”, you may be whinnying at this point, “I love the idea of watching the original TV version of Tinker, Tailor, Candlestick Maker, Spy, but I badly need a fix of Cumberbatch excellence. What of folks like us, eh?” We’ve thought of that. The entire first run of the greatest television series 2010 had to offer, which even includes the different edit of episode one that served as the unbroadcast pilot. At that price, you won’t even be slightly irked that episode two isn’t that brilliant.


4. House: Season 4 £5.99


Maybe you prefer eighteen* engrossing hours of a grumpy doctor firing pithy putdowns at his underlings? If so, you can’t say fairer than House. We’ll ‘maison’ (reason) that you won’t be able to find the entire season four at a price much bunga-lower than this, no matter how detached you feel from American drama series in general. We’d bet our mortgage on it.

Cripes, we’ve got just a semi typing all that.

(*Might be less than eighteen, actually. We’ve just realised that this might be cheaper than the other boxsets because it coincided with the shorter season runs associated with the US writers’ strike. Still an utter bargain, mind.)


5. 15 Storeys High: Complete Series 1 & 2 £5.49


This list is a bit light on laffs so far (READER’S VOICE: “You’re telling me”), so what better way to remedy that than by including one of the most underrated comedy series of the last decade – and indeed, a series we voted 18th best television programme of the 00s.

If you enjoy Sean Lock’s appearances on the likes of QI, or him always being the funniest person by far on 8 Out Of 10 Cats, and you’ve not seen 15 Storeys High, it’s something you really, really ought to remedy immediately. And at ten bob under six quid for the entire two series run, you’d be pretty bloody daft not to, is what we’re saying.


6. Black Books: The Complete Box Set £6.99


It often seems to us that Black Books is the lesser heralded of Channel Four’s quartet of generally accepted sitcom classics (alongside Father Ted, Spaced and Peep Show). The DVD sets never seemed to have been quite as prominent in Tesco, and the Channel Four PR machine never quite seemed to find fifth gear when it came to promoting each new outing for Bernard and company. While that’d generally be a shame, in this case it does mean you get the entire collection of episodes for what amounts to £2.33 per series. That’s a price so low you won’t even mind that unlike the Australian box set of the series, this doesn’t come with a free limited edition corkscrew.


7. Edge Of Darkness: The Complete 1985 BBC Series £3.49


Moving back from sitcom to drama now, and it’s the acclaimed (which is a word we use when we mean “we’ve not actually watched it, but everyone else says it’s really good”) thriller Edge Of Darkness. The two discs on offer here contain full, uncut versions of the six episodes – unlike the earlier DVD release of the series – along with a specially made documentary on the making of the series, and something you simply don’t see enough on DVD releases, an isolated music track. Better still – “promotional segments from Breakfast Time and Pebble Mill”. Maybe it’s just us, but we’re happy to pay £3.49 just for those. (READER’S VOICE: “Yeah, it is just you.”)


8. The Best of Dave Allen £3.79


Okay, moving on here, we’ve just priced ourselves out of including the box set of every single bloody episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus (a stupidly cheap £12.49 considering how much we paid for the R1 A&E boxset about a decade ago – if memory serves, the postage from America alone was about twice that). So, if you need a fix of brilliant seventies snickery, we recommend The Best Of Dave Allen, who is after all, the funniest Irishman who ever lived (stop moping, Oscar Wilde; it’s true). Quite sadly, none of his full series have ever been released on DVD – not even his brilliant stand-up-only 1990s shows, one for BBC1, one for Carlton (though we’ll admit, a few of the sketches from “At Large” are best left in the past), so this Best Of is as good as we’re going to get for a while. Still, it’s a heck of a bargain.


9. Police Squad: The Complete Series £3.49


“You’re not the man I married!” “How can you say that?” “Because here’s the man I married.” [OPENS CLOSET DOOR TO REVEAL SURPRISED ZUCKER SMOKING A PIPE]. We’ve gone on about this before now, so in summary: come for the complete six episode run of one of the five best US sitcoms ever, stay for the brilliant DVD extra features. IT CONTAINS SCANNED PRODUCTION MEMOS, PEOPLE,


10. The Plank £2.99


Eric Sykes. Tommy Cooper. Jimmy Edwards. Roy Castle. Stratford Johns. Hattie Jaques. A plank. If you like British comedy history, this is a landmark offering and an unbeatable price. Erm, ‘wood’ you believe it? (READER’S VOICE: “You sicken me.”)


BONUS ITEM: Eric Morecambe – Mr Lonely (Kindle Edition) £0.99


Eric Morecambe’s novel from 1981 takes in the career and tumultuous life of fictional two-bit comedian Sid Lewis. Any good? Well, Spike Milligan thought so, but we’re not yet sure, as we’ve just bought it ourselves. But hey – 99p? No brainer.

A nice enough way to round off the listing, we feel. AND you’ve got £1.55 left over to spend on sweets. We’re too good to you, we really are. Can we have a Malteser? Thanks, we… ugh. How long have you had those in your pocket?


5 .:

McGazz said...

Nice one. I'm currently watching 1. and have just bought a copy of 2. after reading that post. Cheers boss :)

Adam Bowie said...

If you buy the Tinker Tailor/Smiley's People compilation DVD, you end up saving a further 75pm. That means that you finish with £2.30 over. I'm not certain that there's anything you can get for that TV related.

But you're only £1.69 off getting Takin' Over The Asylum, or £1.20 off The Best of Tommy Cooper.

El Condor said...

Not sure what the online price is for this at the moment, but my local "The Works" is selling the Best of Tommy Cooper and a collection of the Eric Sykes films (Thames versions) for a £5. Absolute bargain IMHO.

Mark X said...

Nice one (a) Condo, will have a look next time I'm in Wrexham (which I think is the nearest Works to here), (b) AdBo, I am tempted to get both, though since that post I've splurged all my giftcard cash on videogames and books. IDEA: I might have to try a follow-up feature looking at telly-related books.

Oh, and cheers McG, happy to be of service.

El Condor said...

Add to that Ken Dodd Laughter Show, it appears to be £2.99 each or two for a fiver. They had Kenny Everett's Naughty Bits in my local, which is the two sellthrough Kenny Everett Video Cassette, er, cassettes bundled together on one DVD.


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