Shiny Shelf

The Director’s Commentary

By Stephen Lavington on 30 January 2004

It’s good to find an original comedy concept, and it looks like this is such a rare discovery as Rob Brydon provides comic voice-over to a series of C-grade TV series (‘Bonanza’, ‘Duchess of Duke Street’, ‘Mr and Mrs’). Indeed, this would be the case, if the idea hadn’t been ripped off from ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000′.

But this is disingenuous, as Brydon is aiming for more than snide sarcasm. He presents the show in the form of the DVD director’s commentary and in the character of Peter De Lane, a washed up TV director resident “just outside Bath”. Simple jokes about on-screen events (“a classic De Lane shot – a dog in a bucket”) with a developing biography for the character – married six times with constant snobbish references. About ‘Bonanza’’s burning map he says, “here’s a tear-jerking sight for cartographers – that’s for the ABC1s. For the C4s and Ds, mapmakers.”

Brydon’s an undeniably funny man, and the best thing about this disposable show is that he appears to have effortlessly knocked this out while working on other things. A thoroughly enjoyable programme to find on your TV at 11.00 on a Wednesday night; cheap, simple and funny but, as with ‘MST3K’, occasionally diminished by the sheer awfulness of the source material

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By Stephen Lavington

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