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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > British TV > Satire > The Steve Coogan Collection (BBC DVD Box Set)

The Steve Coogan Collection (BBC DVD Box Set)


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



Steve Coogan is a good comic actor who is very good at becoming many characters and doing it very convincingly.  A comparison to Tracey Ullman is not off base in the least and though I have not liked much of what little I had seen of him before, BBC Video’s new 13-DVD Steve Coogan Collection set gave me both new respect for his talents and some new laughs that were even unexpected.  Of the set, we have only looked at his TV series Saxondale Season One & Two, which you can read about at this link:





Fortunately, there is other material here that is much better.  I was not happy with the two Paul & Pauline Calf series either, where he plays another burn-out type character and I was not amused, even when he did so well.  Paul & Pauline Calf’s Video Dairies and Paul & Pauline Calf’s Cheese & Ham Sandwich are about the same and take up 3 DVDs.  I liked it less than Saxondale.


Then there is his media personality persona of Alan Partridge, who shows up here in Knowing Me, Knowing You (complete with a cover version of the ABBA song as its theme and many other ABBA classics mocked), the holiday special Knowing Me, Knowing Yule and I’m Alan Partridge, where he is a radio DJ.  One running joke is his comments on songs in the latter show, while he is as obsessed with Roger Moore (especially as James Bond) as Mr. Bean is with Shirley Bassey.


Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible has Coogan as the fictitious host of a TV Horror anthology show.  Of course, it is a comedy and goes out of its way to send-up the kinds (especially the Hammer series) British audiences would be more familiar with than anyone else, but Simon Pegg does show up at one point.  Not bad, if not great.


Coogan’s Run is a skit show that has its moments, but can be uneven, while the set is rounded out by a variety show send-up The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon where Coogan channels several older performers (Englebert Humperdink, Liberace, other European singers, et al) and their gaudiness with heavy touches of Al Pacino in Scarface.  It is on and off funny as well, but his ability to stay in character is amazing and to say this is too politically incorrect for the U.S. is an understatement.


Most of the shows are 1.33 X 1, while I’m Alan Partridge switches mid-series to anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1.  Image quality is about the same throughout with some softness (even from what are 1080i HD shoots) and color is more consistent than anything.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is about the same throughout, with the newer shows sounding a little better, but not by a wide margin.


Besides the extras from Saxondale remaining the same as noted before, we also get behind the scenes featurettes on most of the shows and annoying menus on some of the actual DVDs.  There are also some outtakes in some cases and a few promos here and there, but nothing is a standout in the four hours provided.  I will save the rest as a surprise for those who get the set.  The fact that this is a DigiPak slidebook package is another plus though.



For more Coogan, try our coverage of this import DVD of The Parole Officer:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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