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By Admin | January 10, 2006

Benny Hill fans may enjoy this new volume of the saucy funnyman’s TV specials, which is culled from 1977 through 1981. But by this time in Hill’s long career, the comedy was getting stale around the edges and there were a rising number of groan generating misfires to match the knockout laughs he was generating. This collection is rich with the hits and the misses.

The champagne here include “Digger Blue: Private Eye,” a dialogue-free slapstick romp with Hill as the clumsy Australian investigator flat-footing his way through a girls’ dormitory (the girls are all supermodel lovely, too); “The South Blank Show,” spoofing BBC’s “The South Bank Show” with the line-up of 1970s British TV personalities (most of this will be lost on Americans who are unfamiliar with the original show); “The Widow,” with Hill trying to impress a newly-rich young lady (to no avail); and a dead-on send-up of Bob Dylan (complete with the wild hair and the nasally voice). And, of course, the nutty Mr. Scuttle is present to mangle the language.

But, alas, there is also a high quantity of misfires such as “O’Jack” (an Irish version of “Kojak”); “Wondergran Meets Dracula” (with an old lady superhero taking on Hill as the caped one); and an egregious spoof of the opera “Carmen” which is perhaps among the unfunniest take-off in the comic’s career. Racial humor, which is neither amusing nor edgy, also ruins some of the skits (although one sight gag involving a group of angry homosexuals was edited in a manner that made the joke pointless).

Despite the occasional glimmers of comic glee, there is really too much flab here to appeal to anyone beyond the Benny Hill completist.

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