Directors Commentary


Reviewed by: Keith Dudhnath

Peter De Lane provides commentary on some of the television shows he directed, such as Bonanza, Flambards, Mr and Mrs, The Bounder and Only When I Laugh. Or rather, Rob Brydon (best known for the excellent Marion and Geoff) provides spoof DVD commentaries in the guise of Peter De Lane.

Directors Commentary is a simple idea, brilliantly executed. Brydon's performance is nothing short of perfect, all the more impressive as it is only a vocal performance. His sleazy, hissing laugh encapsulates the complexities of the character in one fell swoop.

Peter De Lane is a man who has had moderate success, deserved little of it and whose life has been peppered with unpleasant incidents. That I'm failing so miserably to describe him is further testament to the depth of the character.

The humour can be simplistic, almost contrived and yet, moments later, incredibly subtle. It's a mix that adds to the programme's charm and the audience's enjoyment. It could so easily have failed and just been someone saying little more than, "Look, isn't this old television programme bad?", but writers Brydon and Paul Duddridge manage to poke fun, partly at the original programmes, although primarily at De Lane and his life, in a fresh and innovative manner.

Without wanting to cast Brydon as a one-trick pony, which he clearly is not, it's fair to say that if you liked Marion and Geoff, you'll like Directors Commentary. Both programmes have, as you might expect, a similar pace, style and sense of humour. Their numerous differences mean that neither treads on the toes of the other.

Criticism is limited. Yes, we're introduced to "Bruce Forsyth" and dwarf cameraman, Denny Hall somewhat repetitively from episode to episode, but that seems like a necessary sacrifice. It must have been done, so that anyone who missed the first episode wouldn't miss some of the jokes.

The other complaint is that rather than commentaries on full episodes, they appear on 15 minute segments of episodes. Initially, this feels distracting, as if it's not a real commentary, but laughter and suspension of disbelief soon take over.

Give Directors Commentary a go. You'll love it.

Reviewed on: 26 Mar 2004
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Directors Commentary packshot
Spoof commentary series.
Amazon link

Director: Various

Writer: Rob Brydon, Paul Duddridge

Starring: Rob Brydon

Year: 2004

Runtime: 125 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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