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The Benny Hill Show Complete & Unadulterated



DVD Release Date: August 24, 2004 (A&E Home Video)
color and B&W/550 min + extras.
MSRP: $49.95
Number of discs: 3
Number of episodes: 11
Languages and subtitles: English.
Special features: "The World’s Favorite Clown” and the Benny Hill Cheeky Challenge Trivia Quiz

Review (out of 5 stars):

Video quality: 4.5/5
Audio quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.6/5


Get ready to laugh your pants off as the first eleven episodes of The Benny Hill Show come to DVD! The Benny Hill Show ran from 1969-1989 on ITV in the United Kingdom and was a very famous sketch comedy show. It was an inspiration to United States sketch comedies like SNL and MAD TV. Though it lasted 20 years, only 59 episodes one-hour episodes were made. In the United Kingdom, they usually only air a few episodes of their series per year. Prime examples are britcoms A Man About the House and Steptoe & Son (both were later made into US comedies Three’s Company and Sanford & Son). There was another Benny Hill Show that ran from 1955 through 1968 on BBC1, but isn’t as popular as this one.

The show did air in reruns in the United States. I remember watching the show in the late 80s/early 90s on WWOR in New York on late nights on the weekends I believe and I just loved it. The show was also very popular in the United States and aired in 30 minute blocks instead of the full 60 minute block. Comedy Central did air the 60 minute versions with some scenes edited out, though. Not to fear, this DVD set is completely unedited!

Benny Hill had a lot of recurring sketches that he did on the show. Some include Fred Scuttle and Chow-Mein. Each episode starts off with a quickie skit, followed by the opening and ballad. The famous Ladybirds are also featured. Benny’s fast paced comedy is also featured in which Benny runs around in fast motion. Benny’s bloopers are also popular. If anyone is wondering, the famous Hill’s Angels don’t appear on the show until the early 1980’s, so guys I’m sorry to let you down on that.

As far as the packaging goes, the box cover has Benny with glasses in a white undershirt saluting. Underneath the logo Benny has lady legs and shoes. Benny was always famous in that. On the top left it mentions this is set one from 1969-1971. The back of the box has a brief synopsis of the show itself and the DVD set, below that, the DVD features are listed. The inside of the box has three cases, one for each disc. I like that layout. 20th Century FOX has done that with some of their releases, like Garfield & Friends. There is also a mini booklet with a detailed synopsis of the show and has 3 fun facts. There is another booklet advertising “A&E TV on DVD,” of past A&E DVD released such as, Mr. Bean, Dr. Quinn, and the Avengers. All three cases have the same cover as the box cover. The back of each case features episodes of what will be on the disc, with segment titles and original airdate.

Disc one features episodes 1-4, disc two has episodes 5-8, and disc three has episodes 9-11. The special features are also on disc three. Episodes 6, 7, & 8 are in black & white. Every other episode is in color. The reason for the three black & white episodes is because ITV’s technicians went on strike. Each disc has the same photo as the box cover and case cover.

The menu screens are neat. A nice video clip plays before the menu screen comes with that famous Benny Hill theme playing. When you select what episode you want to view, you can either play the episode or choose any skit in particular you want to watch. That is a great feature, because usually there is about a dozen or more skits per episode, so it’s easy to find with skit selections.

The video and audio are pretty good. Remember this show is from another country and it still looks good. It’s not the best audio & video, but it certainly beats how it airs on television.

The special features have a documentary which was produced in 1998 and a nice trivia quiz. The documentary is titled “The World’s Favorite Clown.” It runs a little over 52 minutes and features interviews with Benny himself, Burt Reynolds, Mickey Rooney, and more. Yes, some clips of Hill’s Angels are in this!! I just can’t wait to have every episode on DVD of this series. Some other famous clips are on this documentary, too. Like the one with Benny as a woman reporting the news in a dress and the dress falls out. There is also a neat trivia game out there. Watch every episode on this DVD and let’s see how you fair. Maybe you can be a Benny Hill expert after taking that quiz?

This set is pretty good. I vaguely remember the early years, so this was fun to watch. Hopefully all 59 shows come to DVD very soon. They should have done about 20 a set instead of 11, so they can release the entire series in about 3 volumes. With 11 episodes, it will probably take 5 or so volumes. That is my only objection to this set. So folks if you have never watched Benny Hill, you must buy this set! If you like SNL or MAD TV, then you will like this show. Personally, it is much better than SNL and MAD TV to me. Heck, Benny Hills probably even beats Mr. Bean, who is also very funny!

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 07/29/04

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