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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Gamne Show > Australia > TV > Graham Kennedy Coast To Coast + Graham Kennedy’s Blankety Blanks – Volume One + Volume Two (Umbrella/Region Free/Zero/PAL DVD sets)

Graham Kennedy Coast To Coast + Graham Kennedy’s Blankety Blanks – Volume One + Volume Two (Umbrella/Region Free/Zero/PAL DVD sets)


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



PLEASE NOTE: These DVDs can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Zero/0 PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



Graham Kennedy is a major comedy media personality in Australia who never crossed over into the U.S. much, but was very popular and had his share of successes and failures.  Umbrella Entertainment has issued a trio of sets of his work for people to enjoy again and all in all, it is not bad and offers a few surprises.


First comes Coast To Coast, a series from the late 1980s where he pretends to give the audience hard, serious, journalistic news with co-anchors, but is actually sending-up the days events.  The show has its moments, but it is also odd because you don’t always know when they are being serious or not.  It also counts on you knowing the news events Down Under at that time.  Otherwise, it is like catching an unusual cable channel.  Even native Aussies might be disoriented of they do not know the news of the time, much like a Saturday Night Live rerun with a Weekend Update segment from long ago.


The double-disc set has enough episodes to get the idea of how the show worked and two of the episodes have audio commentary.  There are also Outtakes, but this might be an acquired taste for the most part.



Then there is Blankety Blanks, a game show that may seem very familiar.  Running from 1977 to 1979, this is the Australian version of Match Game, but despite having Kennedy host in Gene Rayburn’s place, the show was not as huge a hit.  For those unfamiliar with the U.S. original or curious to refresh yourself on it, try our link to the first DVD set of the show that recently fell out of print when BCI Eclipse folded:





Before getting to this version of the game show classic, we offer some explanation of the series in several markets.  ABC actually had a knock-off of Match Game called Blankety Blanks back in 1975 with celebrities and it bombed.  That ought to be reissued, but it seems not all the shows were saved.  While the U.S. version had daytime and nighttime versions that were huge hits and is a classic, this Australian version was not the only variant and a 1996 revival was attempted Down Under.  As well, a few U.S. revivals failed, including one with Gene Rayburn.  Finally, a British version called Lily Savage’s Blankety Blanks also launched in 1977 and lasted until 2002!


So why did Kennedy’s version stall?  Because it was too uptight and by the time it got how to do the show, it was too late.  At first, it is disorienting to watch if you are familiar with the U.S. version.  As a big fan, it was especially odd, but once you get used to the people who are there, the show works well enough to enjoy and has a few odd surprises.  I did laugh beyond my unusual knowledge of U.K. and Aussie programming, but fanatics of Match Game in the U.S. (and U.K. for that matter) will want to catch at least one of these volumes.


I vaguely recognized several of the actors from the hit Number 96 (reviewed elsewhere on this site) including Carol Raye, Noeline Brown, Marty Rhone and Abigail.  Some are soap opera or drama actors like Kate Fitzpatrick, Barry Creyton, Delvene Delaney, Peggy Mortimer, Dawn Lake and Joy Chambers.  In the Charles Nelson Reilly seat is another comedian known as Ugly Dave Gray, while stage singer Jon English is a semi-regular figure.  There is also Noel Ferrier (The Year Of Living Dangerously, Turkey Shoot), Pop singer John Paul Young (whose 1978 hit Love Is In The Air was a worldwide smash) and Nick Tate is the most successful actor on both sets.  His works include Battle Of Britain, an episode of The Champions and as a regular on the worldwide hit Space: 1999.


Extras include interviews with various panelists, though I wish someone would have asked about if anyone had seen the other shows.  Clips from the shows in other countries would have been a plus.


The 1.33 X 1 image of all were videotaped, with Coast looking pasty and unimpressive, while Blanks has transfers that show their age with softness, some haloing and aliasing errors throughout.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on all is better, but have compression and age issues throughout.



As noted above, you can order these PAL DVD import sets exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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