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Takeshi's Castle

 

Those of you with access to digital/satelitte/cable can hear Craig Charles' voice, commentating on a Japanese game show called Takeshi's Castle, mid-mornings on Challenge TV.

It truly is awful. It's a Japanese version of It's A Knockout, but without the joy. Craig does his best, bless him, but he clearly has no access to documents which explain what is going on. He also seems to be watching the programme for the first time, so he bumbles and makes mistakes quite a lot. As the on-screen writing is in Japanese, he doesn't have a clue who the contestants are or where they come from. Well, they do show a flag, but Craig often fails to recognise them. He also thinks that Mexican people speak Esperanto.

The games are also fairly terrible. They all follow the premise of 'get from one side of the course to another without falling in the water'. And of course, Craig doesn't know any of the rules, other than about them not falling in the water.

It's still worth watching, although don't expect to be impressed.

 

Seriously Funny

 

Some of you may be interested to know that two Red Dwarf-related clips are used in Seriously Funny, the new compilation of clips from Comic Relief, which was released on DVD in time for Christmas.

These are part of the Bohemian Rhapsody video from 1993, and the clip of Rimmer falling off his chair in Back to Reality, which was shown as part of a compilation of out-takes in 1997.

If you want my opinion, the DVD is crap. All the pre-1999 clips, which were shot in a full screen aspect ratio (4:3) have been cropped to fit a widescreen (16:9) presentation. Consequently, a lot of the shot is missing, which means that there's barely a forehead in the whole compilation. Secondly, all of the sketches featured are much shorter when they were when they were shown. All you're getting is a series of meaningless one-liners, and the edits are clumsy and obvious. This is particularly annoying when you consider that the compilation runs for a little over 60 minutes, and a DVD can hold four times that amount.

There are no extras, and not even any subtitles. I can't believe I squandered by £10 HMV voucher on this. I could have bought the Derek and Clive film instead.

 

The Very Best of Have I Got News For You?

 

Just to even the balance, I thought I'd provide a positive review of a vaguely Red Dwarf-related product. The Very Best of Have I Got News For You features Red Dwarf alumni such as Tony Slattery, Arthur Smith, Craig Ferguson, Tony Hawks, and of course Hattie Hayridge and Craig Charles.

Far from your average 'best of' compilation, the main feature runs at a whopping three and a half hours, and includes all the great moments. You can see Ian Hislop on the offensive against The Hamiltons, Piers Morgan and Paula Yates, special guest appearances from Colin The Parrot and The Tub of Lard, all the great running gags such as Brown Suit and Jet Packs, as well as the infamous Angusgate episode from earlier this year. The feature also includes never before seen post-show footage relating to famous moments. For example, Ian warning Angus that he faces a prison sentence for contempt of court and a Daily Mail journalist being singled out in the audience.

Also included is a great commentary from Paul Merton and Ian Hislop (not Angus, obviously). It reveals a lot about what they think about the guests, and they tell a lot of back stage stories. They also critisise the producers for some of the set-piece jokes that didn't work, as well as for leaving some of their favourite moments off the feature.

There is also a collection of old trailers for the show, which includes a prophetic joke about Sven and Ulrika. There's also a couple of archive clips relating to the show, such as a Newsnight feature about The Hamiltons' appearance and Terry Wogan trying to persuade Nick Hancock to put the show into Room 101.

It truly is a brilliant release, good feature, good extras, and it's worth watching for the haircuts alone
.

 

This page last updated: 4th January 03

Website: © Ian Symes 2002

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