Live from his luxury apartment in London's glittering East
End, Dean Learner: club owner, celebrity manager, restaurateur,
entrepreneur and publisher of high-class gentlemen's magazines,
invites you to meet some of his closest friends, Man to Man.
Offering an oasis of culture and sophistication in the rancid
scrubland of depravity that passes for modern television,
Dean's special guests include the living legends Garth Marenghi,
Steve Pising, Glynn Nimron, Merriman Weir, Amir Chanan and
the recently-deceased Randolph Caer...
to Man with Dean Learner is
a spoof chat show in which Dean Learner (self confessed one
man brand) opens up his penthouse flat to the world and invites
one special guest each week to share their life story. Of
course there is a conflict of interest, as Learner is also
the manager for each of his guests.
the six episodes (or seven if you include the pilot - which
is included as an extra) Richard Ayoade plays Learner and
Matthew Holness plays the various guests. Unfortunately
as the series progresses, Ayoade becomes more and more like
Alan Partridge - which is a shame - but then I suppose any
spoof chat show is going to be compared to Steve Coogan's
guests, each living legends (well, apart from one who tragically
dies the day before the show airs), include Gareth Merenghi
(the UK's foremost writer of horror fiction); Steve Pising
(former Formula Five Motor Racing World Champion); Glynn Nimron
(an actor whose most famous role is as Bot the robot in the
classic sci-fi series Galacticops); Merriman Weir (legendary
folk guitarist); Amir Chanan (self-confessed 'Master of the
Psychic Arts' and bender of keys); and the late Randolph Caer
(the underrated character actor famous for his roles in Nun
Party! and That Duck! 2 (Duck on the Run)).
Merenghi (who fans of Ayoade and Holness will already know
from Garth Marenghi's Darkplace) kicks of the series
and, on reflection, is surprisingly the least entertaining
guest. This is probably because Marenghi is basically a one
gag character, and that one gag was practically kicked to
death in Darkplace. Steve Pising is obviously loosely
based on Nigel Mansell and Glynn Nimron, I was convinced,
was partly inspired by Robert Llewelyn (Red Dwarf's
Kryten) but is also an amalgamation of any sci-fi actor who
has found it almost impossible to break away from that genre.
The rest of the guests are caricatures of well established
celebrity types (the musician, phoney psychic and depressed
out of work actor).
the shows themselves are entertaining enough, what is really
impressive is the almost endless stream of extras that are
crammed onto this 2-disc DVD collection. I think, on balance
my favourite, just because it's so naff, is the 17 minute
Easter Egg where Pising provides 13 mins of raw home video
footage of a Camel park - with dull commentary.
also get to know Learner a little better. While in Darkplace
it is heavily hinted that he has a habit of killing people
who p*ss him off, in Man to Man it's obvious that it's
something he does quite often. At least one of his guests
has managed to survive Learner's attempts to kill him - Pising's
car crash was certainly not an accident.
the list of extras appear on the episode menu pages (so it's
easy to watch the deleted footage for each episode) and even
the menu pages themselves contain additional footage not in
the episodes. There's plenty of deleted scenes; trailers for
the episodes; and there's even a selection of music tracks.
But if there's one thing that lets this DVD down, it's the
fact that there are no audio commentaries, and at no point
do we get any behind the scenes material where the actors
are out of character.
not an overly original concept, Man to Man with Dean Learner
is extremely entertaining and is certainly a series you'll
want to watch more than once.