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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Surrealism > Brirish TV > The Strange World Of Gurney Slade – The Complete Series (1960/Network U.K. Region 2/R2/Import PAL DVD)

The Strange World Of Gurney Slade – The Complete Series (1960/Network U.K. Region 2/R2/Import PAL DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Episodes: B-



PLEASE NOTE: This DVD is only available in the U.K. from our friends at Network U.K. and can be ordered from them at the website address links provided below at the end of the review or at finer retailers.  This is a Region Two/2 DVD, so you must have a machine that can handle that format.



I enjoy television that dares to be unique or challenging and the sad fact is that many shows that only had a few episodes that tried to be groundbreaking get lost in the shuffle too much.  Home Video has allowed some of these shows to come back (though we have a longer list than you might imagine of those not out or out in all markets), but a more obscure series designed to last only six episodes was The Strange World Of Gurney Slade (1960) in which Anthony Newley plays the title character.


In the first scene, he is making a TV show and we see him on the set, but he cannot take the phoniness anymore and simply walks off the stage and into the “real world” except that everything (including many inanimate objects) start talking to him!


In addition, we hear his thoughts, speculations and ideas throughout as the show slowly expands into other areas, places and ideas.  It may sound like an original Twilight Zone episode or two, but it is much different in several respects and has other comical approaches that make it a different kind of piece when all is said and done.


Produced by ATV, it was first broadcast in 1960 before the huge onslaught of British TV classics ATV and ITC would produce, but shows the growing spirit of the then-new television medium to try new things.  Newley was a big singer/songwriter even up to this point, starting as a child star, so this work came naturally to him by this point and its shows.  He really shines here.


Writers Sidney Green and Richard Hills wrote the teleplays with Newley and as a duo later wrote on hits like Morecambe & Wise and Flip Wilson’s variety show Flip certainly show they had talent and ideas long before.  The supporting cast across the shows includes Anneke Wills, Bernie Winters, Dilys Laye and Edwin Richfield.  Each show runs about a half hour and MUST be watched in order for the show to work.  This is a gem worth going out of your way for and deserves a wide new audience, though older viewers lucky to see it to begin with will likely be impressed to see how well it holds up.



The 1.33 X 1 image was shot on 35mm black and white film and looks as good as it is going to in this format, though I can see a few softer shots and slight print issues throughout, but a Blu-ray would likely override that (and go great with all five seasons of the original Twilight Zone now out on Blu-ray and reviewed elsewhere on this site).  As for the look of the show, it is one of nice shots, depth and other detailed shots with limited styling in the outdoor footage, but the interiors tend to be more stylized and sometimes even surreal.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is lossy and good for its age, though I wonder if some of the fidelity is being held back.  Extras include a stills set and the interesting promotional campaign to launch the show.



For our new interview with co-star Anneke Wills, go to this link:






And as noted above, you can order this DVD import exclusively from Network U.K. at:









-   Nicholas Sheffo


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