Review: Q Volume 1: Series 1-3
DVD: Q Volume 1: Series 1-3 (1969 – )
I’m a child of the 60’s and my Dad is solely responsible for my sense of humour. He loved ‘being silly’ and always stated that the day you didn’t find a fart funny was the day that you’d forever lost a little piece of your childhood. We’d sit together in front of the record player and he’d put on LP’s by The Goons, Blaster Bates and Bob Newhart (among many others in his extensive collection), then when we got a television we’d sit guffawing at Monty Python, Fawlty Towers and Benny Hill. It was my Dad who originally saw the BBC advert for The Young Ones before the series was aired and made a point of us both sitting down on the first night in anticipation of some crazy humour.
My abiding memory of our shared laughs together always reverts back to the comic genius of Spike Milligan. My Dad had all of his books (highly recommended if you haven’t read them) and of course Spike was one of the Goons (along with Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers and, for a short period, Michael Bentine) whose records were never off our turntable for very long. I was too young to watch the original run of the first few ‘Q’ series which began in 1969, but re-runs of it in the 1970’s and 80’s always had us both in tears of laughter. There were 10 series filmed, with the final series being named ‘There’s a Lot of It About’, which aired in 1982.
There are many theories around as to why Spike called series one ‘Q5’, surely ‘Q1’ would be the logical starting point? Logic however, was never high in the priorities of Spike Milligan’s comedy. The same applies to ‘continuity’, ‘being politically correct’ and ‘sticking to a script’. The ‘Q’ series is the moving image equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting; what first seems to be an overcomplicated assault on the senses, on greater reflection reveals itself to be a work of genius, with hidden structure and form that keeps revealing more on each subsequent viewing.
Spike, and indeed the shows regular cast members, which includes: Julia Breck, John Bluthal, Robert Dorning and previous guest on the 60 Minutes With podcast; Linzi Drew, all openly appear to be having a fantastic time recording the show. On-set accidents, improvisation, breaking the 4th wall and ‘corpsing‘ are all regular occurrences that would have meant a re-take on any other show, but in the Q series they are met with relish and add a unique flavour to the shows that makes them even more appealing. During a period when the likes of Terry and June were dominating British television viewing statistics, Spike was riding the wrecking ball of the Q series and not giving a damn what got in its way. Good for you Spike.
Unfortunately only 3 episodes remain of series 1 and are presented here in the best possible quality that is available. From series 2 onwards however, all episodes have survived and are shown in their entirety.
For those of you who are already aware of either Spike Milligan and/or the Q series, you will already know that this is an essential purchase and it is hopefully already sitting on your DVD shelves since its release on November 21st, 2016. For everyone else; I implore you to dip into this slice of comic genius. It might not tickle your funny bone in ways that you are familiar with, but it is definitely a series that warrants repeat viewings to try and catch all the madness that is happening on screen at the same time.
Take 3 minutes of your day to have a look at the clip below. If that doesn’t raise at least one laugh from you, I can guarantee that you also don’t giggle at a surprise fart and that your inner child is yet another step further away.
Q Volume 2: Series 4-6 will be released in 2017, and I am HUGELY excited about that upcoming release.