Q: The Complete Q (DVD)
Spike Milligan's anarchic and surreal comedy sketch show Q5 was first shown on BBC Two in March 1969, six months before the launch of Monty Python's Flying Circus. The Python team admit it gave them carte blanche to up their own silliness quotient, but their own TV days were over by the time Spike was offered a second series, Q6, in 1975. Qs 7, 8 and 9 followed over the next five years, before 1982's swansong There's a Lot of It About.
This 5-disc set collects all the surviving shows together for the first time. Four episodes of Q5 were wiped, but the three that remain changed the face of TV comedy forever, ushering in new generations of alternative'talent from Kenny Everett and Not the Nine O'Clock News to Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer.
Spike (born in British India) is joined as a performer by John Bluthal, Peter Jones, Bob Todd, Chris Langham, Julia Breck and John Rappaport, and in the early shows by Richard Ingrams, John Wells and Fanny Carby. Shambolic sets and rough-and-ready wardrobes set the scene for comedy mayhem, and sketches and gags stop abruptly, overlap or repeat for maximum confusion.
A comedy Hitler is a frequent abrasive presence, world leaders of the day are roundly mocked, and madcap skits include an interview with the Queen's chicken, a grandmother-hurling contest, Jehovah's burglars, the smallest police station in the world and the irresistibly dotty Pakistani daleks.
The fact that Spike had gone there probably enabled us to go a little bit further than we would otherwise have gone. John Cleese
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