Britcoms: Butterflies and Alexei Sayle's Stuff

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by James Landau, Jun 12, 2004.

  1. James Landau

    James Landau Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been patiently waiting for the BBC to announce a region 1 release of a couple of my favorite British comedies: Butterflies, starring Wendy Craig and Geoffrey Palmer, and Alexei Sayle's Stuff, starring, well, A-L-E-X-E-I S-A-Y-L-E! (Who is that fat bastard?) But so far—nada. The first two (of four) series of Butterflies got a region 2 release in October 2002 and April 2003, but nothing since then. So it looks like the final two series may not be coming.

    Does anyone know if a region 1 release of either of these two shows is anywhere on the BBC's radar or can I expect a wait so long, I better check into suspended animation?
     
  2. Ian_H

    Ian_H Supporting Actor

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    Have either of those shows been broadcast in the states? I love Alexi Sayle but I have never seen this show.

    --Ian
     
  3. Mark Lx

    Mark Lx Second Unit

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    Yes, Butterflies was run several times in North America, both on PBS and some cable channels. Not for several years that I know of. It's getting kind of dated. The only dated British show PBS will show for some reason is Are You Being Served, which I like but has being on constantly (from Detroit) for 15 years. Butterflies was good beacause it had serious and sad issues combined with hilarious comedy, without being too sappy. I would get it. I'd also like to see "Waiting For God" and "One Foot in the Grave". I'm not not old myself, but I always find it funny watching old English people bitch and complain about life.
     
  4. James Landau

    James Landau Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, Alexei Sayle's Stuff has been broadcast in the States, but I think the number of markets it aired in was limited compared to many other British comedies. I saw it in the Twin Cities when the local PBS station, KTCA-2, aired in twice in the early '90s. I seem to recall that it also aired in Chicago on WTTW-11. Not sure where else it may have been seen, but it probably turned up in most of the major markets.

    The opening theme music for the second series was particularly memorable as they did a parody of the Mickey Mouse Club theme: a bunch of children dancing and singing "...who's an ugly bastard and as fat as he can be? A-L-E X-E-I S-A-Y-L-E!..." It all comes to a grinding halt when Alexei skips out to join them in the fun and a little girl takes one look at him and asks "Who is that fat bastard?"

    I'd really like to see the show again and wish I would have had the foresight to record them on VHS. Alas, I think that was the last I saw of Alexei until he turned up on Keen Eddie last summer.

    To add to Mark's comments in regard to Butterflies: this show seemed to be ubiquitous in the '80s as pretty much any PBS station that showed British comedy had it on their schedule at one point or another. I must have seen each episode half a dozen times on KTCA alone. A couple other comedies that KTCA aired in that time frame were Good Neighbors and To the Manor Born. They're still airing Good Neighbors at least once a year and To the Manor Born even turns up from time to time. But for whatever reason, they haven't shown Butterflies in more than a decade. To the Manor Born is being released on DVD this Tuesday so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Butterflies will eventually turn up as well.

    Speaking of To the Manor Born, I'd love to see another Peter Bowles sitcom on DVD: The Bounder. Anyone other than me remember that one?
     
  5. Mark Lx

    Mark Lx Second Unit

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    I know I've seen Peter Bowles in another sitcom, but I can't remember anything about it. He was also sometimes the judge on Rumpole and in the 1966 cult movie Blow-up. Felicity Kendal (Good Neighbors) was in a short-lived sitcom called "Solo", which PBS ran a couple times. It was similar in style to Butterflies.
     

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