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DVD Review

DVD cover

Peter Kay's Britain's Got the Pop Factor


Starring: Peter Kay, Cat Deeley, Nicki Chapman, Pete Waterman and Neil Fox
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 28 September 2009

Written by and starring Peter Kay, this talent-show spoof centres on Geraldine McQueen, who hopes to make the big-time via a reality TV show. As the acts drop out one by one, we learn more about the finalists including a shocking secret that Geraldine was previously a man called Gerry King. Hosted by Cat Deeley, other finalists include R Wayne who is resurrected to perform in the show after his Grandmother dies when she discovers he has been voted out of the show. There’s also the half paraplegic finalists 2 Up 2 Down, who have managed to make it to the final despite their hilarious back catalogue of personal tragedies...

Peter Kay's Britain's Got the Pop Factor (or to give its full title Peter Kay's Britain's Got the Pop Factor and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice) is a wonderfully astute observation of reality TV shows which aim to make celebrities out of members of the public who think they have a talent.

Originally broadcast as a two-part final with the remaining three acts apparently battling it out live, this show cleverly showed the back story of the acts auditions, and previous rounds, as though these had actually been shown in the previous weeks.

This is an incredibly very funny show that is almost entirely played straight. It's no surprise that a lot of viewers originally thought it was a serious show. Although, you'd have to be pretty simple not to cotton on pretty quickly. Only on a handful of occasions does it lapse into farce and it's blatantly obvious that you are watching a spoof show (the most notable being Cat Deeley shouting at the audience to be quiet and one of the members of Two Up Two Down falling off her chair).

The little details also help to add much too. For example, the onscreen text that viewers are already so familiar with asking them to press the red button on their remote controls for more information, is replaced with "press the purple button". Of course, no remote control has a purple button. Also, as the show progresses and the TV studio realise they are getting more and more calls, the small print changes. The price of the phone calls slowly increase and the percentage that is to go to the chosen charity (for crippled pole dancers) decreases.

There are additionally little touches (like someone in the crowd with a banner that reads "Cum on Geraldine") that are so easy to miss, which really show Kay's attention to detail.

Another great touch is the number of celebrities who appear and send themselves up. Lionel Blair, Sir Paul McCartney, The Cheeky Girls (if you can call them celebrities), Rick Astley, Rustie Lee (blink and you'll miss her as Neil Fox's assistant), Andi Peters and Ricky Wilson (of the Kaiser Chiefs).

The format is based almost entirely on that of the X-Factor series, with the judges (Nicki Chapman, Pete Waterman and Neil Fox) interviewing the contestants and sitting in the studio each week to judge the performances.

For extras we get an audio commentary on the main show with Nicki Chapman and Pete Waterman. It's not overly impressive though with very little in the way of behind the scenes information. Possibly the most interesting aspect is Waterman revealing that they weren't in on a lot of the jokes as Kay wanted to capture that spontaneity in their performance. This led to Waterman having concerns that it might make them look as though they don't really know what they were doing.

We also get Britain's Got an Extra Pop Factor... and Then Some! (53 min, 35 sec). This is hosted by Ben Shephard and looks at Geraldine's life after the show and includes the pop videos for 'Once Upon A Christmas Song' and 'The Winners Song' which, to be honest, are both incredibly catchy pop songs.

While this is a work of comic genius, if you saw this when it was originally broadcast there's not much point in picking it up on DVD. This is a watch once only show, there's very little to be gained from watching it a second time (unless you want to pick up on the numerous subtle gags you may have missed the first time around). This is more a rental title than it is one to add to your DVD collection.


Darren Rea

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