The Very Best Of The Two Ronnies Review
The Two Ronnies are a comic duo that in their absence from the entertainment scene illustrate what is lacking from the current batch of British comedy. Made up of the two extremely likeable individuals Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker, the duo met whilst working on various sketches with John Cleese. Although they had performed together in other sketches their classic partnership was not cemented in the public's eyes until the Bafta award ceremony in which the two men performed together. A BBC series was offered and they were up and running on the sketch front a year later. The Two Ronnies was a prime time BBC sketch show that lasted between 1971 and 1987 (a year before Barker retired) and became a firm favourite for comedy lovers across the nation.
Sketch shows are hard to review as is preferable not to reveal too much detail in order for newcomers of the comedians' work not to have the punch line ruined. However, fans will be pleased to note that what they get for their money is just an ninety minutes of classic highlight material from the show's sixteen year run. The most famous aspects of The Two Ronnies work includes Corbett's solo monologues of the tongue-twisting variety delivered in that pseudo-Mastermind chair. Who can forget the duo's own play on Mastermind with Corbett playing a contestant whose speciality is answering the question before last! Not to mention the funny send ups of a news bulletin or the instantly quotable line of "It's good night from me - and it's goodnight from him".
However, how does the show hold up thirty years on from its inauguration? Whilst it is very pleasant to watch two gems of classic British comedy perform, some of the charm has understandably been lost along the way to 2001. The sketches are well written for their contemporary time period, and contributions came from such famed sources as Michael Palin, John Sullivan and Barker himself (under the pseudonym of Gerald Whiley) but some of the ideas are ridiculously stupid, but then so was traces of Python. In a nutshell, you either like this type of humour or you don't, although those belonging to the generation of alternative comedy fans probably will think twice about buying this DVD. If you are a fan, this knocks the other Two Ronnies release for six in that it is double the length and is better quality in every department.
The picture appears to have been converted from the original video transmission tapes of the series. Picture quality varies due to differing ages of the clips and sketches, but on the whole the picture is blemish free if slightly hazy looking. However, even on DVD, the quality does not appear to be as good as the versions featured on television.
Presented in the original mono soundtrack (although in the appearance of fake stereo) the sound is crystal clear and appears to have been cleaned up a touch compared to the television transmissions.
Just a small biography of Corbett and Barker, which is slightly disappointing considering Ronnie Barker's other DVD release Porridge contained an interview with him.
The Two Ronnies do form quite an important part of twentieth century comedy and fans will no doubt rush out and buy this release. If you are new to the duo, I suggest maybe a sample exercise before buying, but having said that the RRP is only £12.99 new anyhow.