The Best of Dick Emery DVD
Comedy. 1 disc. Running time: 80 mins approx. Colour.
The best of Dick Emery’s shows from the height of their popularity in the 1970s, with his best-loved characters and appearances from Arthur English, Mollie Sugden, Christopher Timothy, Frank Thornton, Michael Knowles, Victor Maddern and Helen Fraser.
Gaylord the ‘Bovver Boy’, camp Clarence, Lampwick the old codger, Hettie the frustrated spinster, the sporting gent, the shortsighted surgeon, the toothy vicar and blonde bombshell Mandy with the memorable catchphrase, “Ooh, you are awful, but I like you!” These are just some of the much-loved characters portrayed by Dick Emery throughout his career, reaching a peak in popularity on Saturday nights in the 1970s, when he made the nation laugh. The shows are still fondly remembered and boasted a host of talented writers including: David Cummings, John Singer, John Warren, Dick Clement, Barry Cryer, John Esmonde, Marty Feldman and Bob Larbey. The show ran from 1963-1981 with 166 episodes, some of the best of which are gathered here.
With outdoor scenes filmed in the sunny seventies, in shopping precincts, high streets and the suburbs, filled with nostalgic cars and fashion of the day; and indoor sets decorated in the unmistakeable style of the era, this compilation of some of Dick Emery’s best bits is a trip down memory lane, featuring well-known comedy actors. Michael Knowles plays a military type – at the time he would have been in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. Christopher Timothy also features, just prior to appearing in All Creatures Great and Small, he invites Clarence to join him in the army, much to “honky tonks” delight! Arthur English plays several roles, with all the comedy skill the veteran actor was known for; and his cast mates from Are You Being Served also make appearances: Frank Thornton playing his usual city gent type, while Mollie Sugden is hilarious as a northern lady who accompanies Lampwick the old codger on a drinking spree at the seaside. Victor Maddern and Helen Fraser play his long-suffering son and daughter-in-law and a host of familiar faces can be spotted throughout. The sheer variety of characterisation demonstrated by Dick Emery is a testament to his acting skill; each persona is portrayed in minute detail, with brilliant costume but often little make-up, the comedian relying on his own acting to draw the audience in. Some of the sketches are not politically correct by today’s standards, but they are so obviously products of their time that this can be forgiven, and seen as a portrayal of the times. The humour is too silly to create offence and a welcome visit to an era when traffic wardens could make you laugh and the driving test centre was a place of comedy is an absolute tonic!