BENNY HILL SHOW: R1 vs. R2 thoughts?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by AndyMcKinney, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

    Apr 2, 2004
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    Kentucky, USA
    Anyone here had a chance to compare the R1 and R2 releases? How about you, W.B.?

    From what I remember, the main difference seems to be that the R2s still retain the vintage "AdCaps" (ad break caption slides), which are edited out on the US sets. I also understand some of the VT countdown clocks may be included on the R2s.

    Packaging, release patterns, etc. aside (the type of stuff which isn't very important), can anyone weigh on on any other substantial differences in the episodes on the R2 discs as compared to the R1s? Are the correct vintage opening/ending Thames bumpers present on either set of episodes?

    How does picture quality stack up? I seem to remember some people talking about picture quality issues on the "shot on film" stuff when they compared the A&E sets to the earlier HBO compilations, saying the filmed segments looked worse in the A&E sets (if I recall correctly). Does the R2 surpass (or at least do no worse) than the A&Es?

    Presumably, most of the important extras are the same? I think the Eddie film did finally turn up on Network's sets.

    Wonder if it's too late to hope that Network are able to (or can be bothered to) secure rights to issue Benny Hill Down Under as an extra on their (hopefully) upcoming 1980s releases.

    Just thought I'd ask as the prices on the R2s are starting to drop to levels low enough that it is tempting to import them rather than buying the A&Es, unless Network made a major cock-up I'm unware of.
  2. William B.

    William B. Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 6, 2004
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    I haven't any of the R.2 releases - but I can say that only the Annuals as going up to 1975 had the VT countdown slates, while all sets have adcaps. And apart from the 1970 Annual which had Eddie in August, none of the Network sets have "bonus" material.

    All shows up to the April 16, 1986 edition have the "classic" Thames opening fanfare. After 1987 there was an edict from ITV directing companies to start with the programs themselves, rather than the company logos, therefore his last five shows for the company (1988-89) start off with the first quickie. (Comedy Central inserted the Thames opening to the openings of four of those last five when they aired TBHS in the 1990's.) As for the "original" Thames endcap, on the A&E sets I've seen only three that I know of: Dec. 27, 1972; March 25, 1981; and May 27, 1985.

    As for the "shot on film" stuff: With a few exceptions (probably the first three shows of 1973-74), much of the filmed inserts were shot on 16mm film, which may explain the "worse" picture quality on the A&E sets, coupled with the compression used to fit as many shows on a DVD as possible; on occasion they used "better-quality" 35mm film.

    And as to the possibility of BHDU being on any of the 1980's Network DVD sets: It should be noted that the first two shows Hill did for Thames in 1969 were put in the 1974 Annual. Insofar as the U.S. is concerned, Fremantle recently struck a deal with a company called BCI for release of other titles in their archives. Time will tell if BHDU is among them or not (Fremantle owns British rights to that Aussie show, however the show's U.S. distributor DLT Entertainment does not hold it). But as the last of Hill's shows was released by A&E Video, that would most certainly rule A&E out.

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