Not the 9 O'Clock News

Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Griff Rhys Jones, Mel Smith and Pamela Stephenson
BBC Audio
RRP: 12.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 405 67749 3
ISBN-10: 1 405 67749 X
Available 04 June 2007

Making a first-time appearance on CD, this is the classic TV comedy sketch show which launched the careers of Rowan Atkinson, Griff Rhys Jones, Mel Smith and Pamela Stephenson. Written by some of Britain's finest comedy writers including Richard Curtis, Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin and David Renwick, the show was groundbreakingly irreverent, outrageous, innovative and rude. What other reason do you need than to relive some of these classic sketches?...

This compilation of Not the 9 O'Clock News sketches includes many classic gags and songs including (I Like) Trucking; England My Leotard; Nice Video (Shame About the Song); the Two Ninnies song; and Kinda Lingers. But I was unsure why the BBC had released this as simply Not the 9 O'Clock News.

A total of three LP and cassette collections where released while the show was still on the air. These included Not the Nine O'Clock News, Hedgehog Sandwich and The Memory Kinda Lingers. After the series had finished broadcasting, Hedgehog Sandwich and the first disc of The Memory Kinda Lingers were put out on a double-length cassette. I'm assuming that this CD collection is the latter release reissued, and not a new collection of the highlights of the show, otherwise classic sketches like Gerald the Gorilla and the General Synod's Life of Christ sketch - which was a spoof on the controversy that Monty Python's Life of Brian caused when it was originally release - would have certainly been included. Both of these sketches are contained on the original Not the Nine O'Clock News album which has yet to be released on CD.

This double disc collection will be welcomed by those who fondly remember the late 70s/early 80s run of the show. This is almost as funny now as it was when it was originally released - with only some of the topical gags not working as well as they originally did. And while it's true that the show was very much a product of its time, there are enough general gags to ensure that new, younger listeners will get the majority of the jokes.

There are plenty of classic moments on this release, but some of my favourites include the Two Ninnies Song; Swedish Chemist Shop; Game For a Laugh; Does God Exist?; and (I Like) Trucking.

For those who remember the Points of View sketch (which is not included on this collection), I couldn't help but close this review by pointing out the price of this release. £12.99 for this CD collection? It's far too low. I'd gladly pay £400. In fact I'd gladly sell my house and all it's contents to help the BBC.

Darren Rea

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