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Off topic: Looking for a DVD-based British comedy series recommendation
Thread poster: Maciek Drobka

Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:28
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
May 11, 2009

Hi all,

I am looking to buy a British comedy series in DVD format. Preferably in approx. 30 minute episodes so my wife and I can watch it when we have a spare moment without feeling guilty that we are wasting our precious time on television.icon_wink.gif

I would like to receive some recommendations from fellow Proz.com members, because it's not just ANY comedy series I am looking for. My wife and I LOVE Keeping Up Appearances, because it combines humour that we find extremely funny with very clear and easy to understand English. For your reference, Rowan Atkinson's Thin Blue Line and Blackadder are too difficult for my wife to understand to an extent where she can comfortably enjoy the comedy.

Also, I definitely want something British rather than American. And I do not want too much sexual language as I do not find it at all funny in most cases. For example, I found The New Statesman, which I hear was a very popular series, very poor because of what I thought was excessive reliance on sex-related humour.

It could be something new, it could be an olden goldie. (The latter probably having the added advantage of costing less at amazon.)

Any ideas will be greatly appreciated!

Maciek


 

Nicole Y. Adams, M.A.  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 14:28
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
Fawlty Towers May 11, 2009

Hi Maciek,

I would recommend Fawlty Towers with John Cleese. I've got the DVD box set and could watch it again and again, it's hilarious.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fawlty_Towers

Looks like you can get the complete Fawlty Towers box set on Amazon.co.uk for £12.98.

Nicole


 

Dana Rinaldi
Italy
Local time: 06:28
Member
Italian to English
+ ...
One foot in the grave May 11, 2009

Hello,

In addition to Fawlty Towers I suggest "One foot in the Grave" or a very old one "The Good Life" that I still enjoy watching now.

Dana


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:28
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Allo' Allo' May 11, 2009

A must! And in fact it might prove to be beneficial to help people speak English in different accents (mostly German accent, French accent... but also "airman English"!). Very funny and good to improve listening skills.

Edited to add this just in case: As for sex scenes, no explicit sex or sex language at all. Of course the main character owns a restaurant in which sometimes female company is offered in private to German officers, but it is always referred to in a very clean, almost childish way. Two other characters (Helga and Mr. Flick) have this strange love relationship in which the existance of sex can be supposed, but is never mentioned, shown or openly expressed. The most explicit physical contact you will see is a hug or an ocassional kiss! Well, Mr. Flick appears once in female underwear... I thought I'd report it!

[Edited at 2009-05-11 09:53 GMT]


 

Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:28
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Some suggestions May 11, 2009

Hi Maciek,

if you love 'Keeping up Appearances', you might try some of the following TV series:

One Foot in the Grave is quite similar to 'Keeping up Appearances' (in terms of the whole setup and humour). It's about a retired man who tries to keep himself busy and kind of is at war with the modern world. More info here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/onefootinthegrave/index.shtml

The Good Life is a series from the 70s which I quite like. It's about a young couple who give up corporate life and try to live self-sufficiently digging up their front garden to grow potatos, keeping animals and so on - all of which is slightly unusal given that they live in very normal suburban neighbourhood. The other characters of the series are their neighbours who are a much more conventional couple. More infos here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/goodlife/index.shtml

The Vicar of Dibley is a newer series about a small village and their new vicar, who ... shock and horror! ... is a WOMAN. A very funny series which has been on TV since the mid-90s. More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vicar_of_Dibley

There are certainly more but those are some examples that sprung to mind.

I haven't checked now, but you might be able to find clips of all or at least some of these series on YouTube. Just to give you an idea and to avoid buying something which you don't like.


[Edited at 2009-05-11 12:58 GMT]


 

Helen Matthews  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:28
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
Yes Minister May 11, 2009

This is a golden oldie that takes a pretty satirical (and, I have it by reliable sources, all too accurate!) look at British politics!! You should find it pretty clear to understand, because it's very much English middle - upper class 'Queen's English'.

I love it (I have it audio cassette too!!)

All the best,

Helen


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:28
French to English
+ ...
One Foot in the Grave plus others May 11, 2009

Hi Maciek,

Gald you're enjoying your British comedy! Agree with Fawlty Towers, which is an excellent suggestion (if you have to choose between the two series, get Series 2, but it's generally all good).

Then, have you tried One Foot in the Grave? It's hard to pick a specific series, because it's all good. But if you weren't budgeting for a boxed set, then I think it's series 4 that has the "One Foot in the Algarve" Christmas special, which is an excellent bonus. Another option is My Family (a later series which I think is still going). These sreies both have the advantage that because they still take on the "traditional family sitcom" to some extent, some proportion of the vocb is reasonably "everyday". Level of My Family is probably a bit more difficult than One Foot overall. I've found that Mexican friends with a moderate level of English have been able to appreciate both series without too much difficulty.

Others to try include the Vicar of Dibley (maybe start with the 1st series). For humour value, see if you like Father Ted (the 3rd series is the best overall, although individual episodes from the other series are also genial). Of the two, the Vicar of Dibley is more "family comedy" and Father Ted is more subversive.

I would say don't be too put if you don't fully understand the Ben Elton comedies you mentioned-- much of the humour of these is specifically designed around play on words.

Anyway, enjoy your Brit comedy!

Neil


 

Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:28
Member
French to English
+ ...
Older is usually better May 11, 2009

I definitely agree with the other suggestions made so far, and I suspect One Foot in the Grave would be particularly accessible from a language point of view. I think few other comedy series have such clear language as Keeping Up Appearances, I used some clips from that for a TEFL class once as I noticed that the actors' diction is very clear and they speak quite slowly. You could also try Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em or The Brittas Empire. One of the most popular series over the years was Only Fools and Horses, but I think that might be a little challenging, especially because of the slang and accents. You'll probably find clips of most of these series on Youtube, so that will give you an idea of what they're like.

The golden age of British comedy ended in around the early to mid-1990s in my opinion, not many decent series have come along since then. One of the better recent ones is My Family, so you could try that if you fancy something more contemporary. There's also The Vicar of Dibley, though just very occasionally it does feature risqué humour.


 

Magdalena Szewciów  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:28
Member (2008)
English to Polish
+ ...
Only Fools and Horses May 11, 2009

Definately my favourite olden goldie.

If you look for something more up-to-date, watch "Peep Show" - brilliant and this point of view (and I mean it LITERALLY), although indeed a lot of sex content...icon_smile.gif

And some more (apart from those already listed):

Red Dwarf
My Hero
Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps
Coupling
You Rang, M'Lord? (remember that one?)

and yes: Doctor Whoicon_biggrin.gif

[Edited at 2009-05-11 10:48 GMT]

PS. I recommend ordering on eBay instead of amazon.

[Edited at 2009-05-11 10:51 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:28
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I'm a hologramme... May 11, 2009

Magdalena Szewciów wrote:
Red Dwarf


I'm a hologramme, and I'm proud!!icon_wink.gif


 

wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:28
Chinese to English
+ ...
British Comedies May 11, 2009

Here's a classic British Comedy that is on par with "Keeping Up Appearances" ...

"Are You Being Served?"


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Are_You_Being_Served?

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw_0_20?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=are%20you%20being%20served%20the%20complete%20collection&sprefix=are%20you%20being%20served


I personally like "To The Manor Born". But it's mostly dry humor, not slapstick comedy.


 

PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:28
English to Polish
+ ...
Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) May 11, 2009

I remember this was aired on Polish TV in the early 1970's.
Not sure if it fits the strict "comedy" category, but nevertheless, it had amusing moments.

I used to watch "Yes, Minister" in Canada and what a barrel of laughs it was!

Best,
Pawel Skalinski
Warsaw


 

Phillippa May Bennett
Portugal
Local time: 05:28
Member
Portuguese to English
Great suggestions so far May 11, 2009

Maybe this website might help too...

http://www.comedy.org.uk/guide/

I used to like watching "Drop the dead donkey", a Channel 4 series, which began at the beginning of the 90s.

Just remembered another one that might be of interest... Two point four children

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2point4_children

Enjoyicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2009-05-11 13:02 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-05-11 16:22 GMT]


 

liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:28
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
My Family May 11, 2009

Well,

If it is for your wife too, I think she might like this...

Although it is not absolutely hilarious it can be funny and amusing.

Written by an American, but acted out in British English:-

Hope it's your cup of tea:-)

http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:p8MO_M8LaVsJ:uktv.co.uk/gold/item/aid/590468%20My%20Family%20Fred%20Barron&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

We watch it at home and my daughter (14) does too....I don't recall much swearing/bad language/sexual innuendo at all:-)

Bye for now.

Liz Askew

p.s. any video/DVD shop would stock this series.

p.p.s.

I meant to say, "My Family" is being shown on television now, next viewing = 14th May. See:
http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:qtUFuzCa4JkJ:uk-tv-guide.com/listings-grid/BBC+1+London/14+May+2009/19:00/%20My%20Family%20tv%20listings%20Thursday%2014th%20May&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk
and make up your own minds:-)

[Edited at 2009-05-11 15:14 GMT]


 

David Earl  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:28
Member (2007)
German to English
And 'Yes, Prime Minister' May 11, 2009

Helen Matthews wrote:

This is a golden oldie that takes a pretty satirical (and, I have it by reliable sources, all too accurate!) look at British politics!! You should find it pretty clear to understand, because it's very much English middle - upper class 'Queen's English'.

I love it (I have it audio cassette too!!)

All the best,

Helen


I think anyone having experienced a parliamentary system would have a good time with that one.

There are bits of other pronunciations, when unionists, drivers, etc. are involved.

icon_wink.gif Please, no elephants...or dogs,
David.


 
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