The Brittas Empire
Series Two

Starring: Chris Barrie and Pippa Haywood
Eureka Video
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: PG
Available now

The staff of Whitbury Leisure Centre are in a happy mood, with reports that Gordon Brittas (Chris Barrie) has been killed while on a management course in Bulgaria. Every sitcom silver lining, however, has its cloud and, to everyone's surprise and dismay, Brittas returns from the dead...

Season two of The Brittas Empire starts off on the right track with the staff of the leisure centre (and me) pleased to hear about the passing away of their manager. Obviously its just a mix up, but the staff (and me, again) are soon wishing he was dead.

Other episodes see Gordon receiving an unwelcome visit from an inspector higher up the corporate ladder, and Laura giving Gordon some helpful advice on how to read what people really mean when they say one thing, but mean another.

Poor old Chris (or as he is now called in the credits to the Tomb Raider movies "Christopher") Barrie. He can't get away from playing twonks can he? After playing the bumbling buffoon in Red Dwarf, The Brittas Empire, Prince Among Men and now the Tomb Raider movies, he's getting himself in a rut. And it's not even as though he's in the same league as other annoying characters who have gone before (John Cleese's Basil Fawlty or any of the characters in The League of Gentlemen). Gordon Brittas is annoying to the point where you are tempted to turn off the TV set. This was also the case with his series Prince Among Men - truly awful and annoying (and I even saw one of the episodes being recorded).

There are some chuckles to be had, and in the end Brittas is not too annoying, just incredibly naive and stupid.

First broadcast in 1992 series two of The Brittas Empire is a vast improvement over the first series. Fawlty Towers in a leisure centre this isn't, but there have certainly been worse programmes.

Darren Rea

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