As a man, I find it a bit embarrassing admitting that I enjoy Miranda, the BBC sitcom co-written and starring Miranda Hart. Though I would like to preserve my machismo by assuring you that I don't "love" it - just like it. This DVD contains 6 episodes comprising Series 1. (175 minutes).
The English sitcom is set in a joke shop run by two friends, Miranda, a gangly, awkward woman and Stevie (Sarah Hadland), a short, squeaky woman. These two are frequently visited by Miranda's mother, played by Patricia Hodge, who is constantly coming up with ruses (futile) to find her hapless daughter a husband. Miranda's mother is desperate for her daughter to become "respectable" like all the other posh young women they know. Miranda suffers from chronic social faux pas and struggles even to keep up with her posh friends. However, she does fall in love but, sadly, given her accident and foot-in-mouth prone nature, this attachment does not progess as she wishes.
So, the premise of the show is Miranda's ridiculously hapless escapades in love, friendship and running a joke shop. The comedy is slapstick and irony based. Sometimes, I would say, the irony is excessive and their is a hint of smug/smart-alec to the comedy. However, most of the time it is absurd and rather amusing antics of a very English middle class and, usually, feminine way.
I would say that this comedy appeals to women more strongly than men. The main characters are women and the focus is on the fooleries and delusions of womenkind. Miranda's extreme clumsiness is funny but my favourite characters are Miranda's mother (Patricia Hodge) and Miranda's uber-posh, ditzy, Tilly (Sally Phillips). These two play rather extreme stereotypes of the posh upper-middle class females but they pull it off with brilliance. It's the scenes with either of these two that is the real reason that I watch Miranda.
Particularly amusing is the mocking of "posh-isms" or posh slang, as it might be called. So, Miranda's mum is always trilling, "Such fun!" to fill gaps in conversations, whilst posh friend, Tilly, urgently repeats, "Bear with, bear with" whenever she is interrupted by a phone call. Miranda Hart clearly understands the nature of posh talk (especially female) and she exposes it quite funnily in her comedy.
In criticism, I must say that the plots of the episodes of Miranda are not always the most creative or effective. There is a sense of working "on the fly" and coincidences and chances keep the plots going. Also, I find Miranda's romantic interest slightly torturous - I'd much rather see her falling into a hole in the park, rather than mooching around talking about how nervous she is about speaking to Gary.
Due to the basic plots and, sometimes, unimaginative storylines, I would not call this comedy "great". It does not really make me laugh out loud (though I am hard to please). However, it is amusing, does satirise upper-middle class society and women quite well and in Miranda, Sally Phillips and Patricia Hodges, it has some very funny absurdist performers.
Miranda was recommended to me by a friend and I have not been disappointed. Miranda is just hilarious! The DVD features six episodes from the first series first shown on BBC1, and has a running time of 175 minutes. The DVD costs around £8 from Amazon which I believe is quite a reasonable price for a comedy DVD. It also features outtakes, the set tour, a section introducing the cast and behind the scenes footage.
Miranda, played by Miranda Hart is a really likeable character who makes you laugh and empathise with her situation. Through the series she tries to find love along with running her Joke shop. Her mother (Patricia Hodge) is hilarious, along with her sidekick, friend and shop manager Stevie (Sarah Hadland). There is also the will they/won't they scenario with Gary (Tom Ellis) and Miranda's posh friends from boarding school also appear regulary including Tilly (Sally Phillps). Throughout the series, you get to know the characters, along with their personality and sayings which makes them familiar; this also means you can sometimes predict what is going to be said or what is going to happen which adds to the comedy value in my opinion. For example Miranda's mother will always say "Such fun" and "What I call..." which is really funny.
In each episode, Miranda talks to you/the audience giving an update on her life before the title credits. Also at the end, all the characters smile and pose at the camera which is funny. Throughout the show, Miranda also talks directly to you to try and escape situations which I find really comical and entertaining. Miranda gets herself into amusing situations and makes them worse by the way she deals with them, for example stating her sons are called Cliff and Richard Richards in one episode! The episodes are very well written and great to cheer you up if you are having a down day or just generally for good evening viewing with friends or family.
Miranda is a 15 due to some naughty language and topics discussed but it is all very light hearted as this is the nature of the show.
I find that watching the show really brightens up my day and makes me laugh everytime. I find it really uplifting and if you haven't seen Miranda yet I would recommend buying it. I can't wait for series two to be released on DVD!
This 2009 BBC situation comedy was created and written by Miranda Hart and directed by Juliet May.
Apart from Miranda Hart other writers of the show include James Cary, Simon Dean, Dan Gaster, Jason Hazeley, Richard Hurst, Will Ing, Paul Kerensa, Joel Morris, Paul Powell, Georgia Pritchett and Tony Roche
Miranda, the show, first hit the small screen in 2009, creating 12 episodes with-in two series, six episodes per series. The first series hit the DVD shelves a year later, (November 2010), being given a 15 certificate, with the second series planned to be burnt to DVD in November 2011.
There are plans for a third series, which has been commissioned by the BBC, and there are rumours that a Christmas special is on the cards.
The series main characters include...
* Miranda Hart as herself, a 6 foot 1 inch female who is often mistaken for a man, mainly due to her rather ample sized frame.
* Sarah Hadland as Stevie Sutton, Miranda's best friend, who runs the Joke shop that Miranda owns, and lives above.
* Sally Phillips as Tilly, Miranda's boarding school friend.
* Katy Wix as Fanny, another of Miranda's boarding school friends
* Patricia Hodge as Penny, Miranda's mother, who is a bit of a snob and is heart broken that Miranda has never married, so she is constantly trying to get her married off to anyone that will have her.
* James Holmes as Clive, the owner of the restaurant which is next door to Miranda's joke shop.
* Tom Ellis as Gary Preston, the chef in Clive's restaurant who Miranda has a little bit of a crush on.
** BRIEF IDEA...
Miranda is a 6 foot odd woman, and I do mean odd, who owns a joke shop after buying it using her inheritance. She runs it with her best friend Stevie, who is the complete opposite to her, in a lit more than the size difference.
Miranda grew up in a public school and still sees a couple of her old friends from there, only her old school friends are a lot more 'snobbish' than Miranda herself, leading to many embarrassing situations when the three of them meet up.
Miranda's life is a roller coaster of trials and terror, with her main terror being her own mother, Penny, who is constantly trying to find Miranda a husband, or even a boyfriend, just someone to show her that her daughter is not the man some people think she is.
Miranda is constantly trying to fit in with everyone around her, especially her snobbish old school friends, but things don't always go according to plan, leaving her in many slightly embarrassing situations, especially when Gary is around, with such dilemmas as losing her trousers, trumping, inadvertently attacking people for strange reasons and a lot more.
When Miranda turns up at a restaurant for a reunion with her old school friends, Tilly and Fanny, she realises that Gary, a very old friend, who she thought had been long gone on his travels, is now working as the chef.
But when Gary asks Miranda out for a drink things start to go downhill for her, especially when she buys some new clothes from a strange shop, leaving her looking not quite herself.
Only things get even worse for Miranda when she then goes wedding dress shopping with her friends Till and Fanny, leading Gary and Penny to think the totally wrong things.
Miranda receives a rather nice proposal from Gary, only it's not quite the one she was hoping for, then again, anything's better than nothing, but, with this proposal in her mind, she is soon thinking of new ideas to get closer to the love of her life. Unfortunately, when she takes up Stevie's offer of French lessons she discovers a face from the past, (Peter Davidson), resulting in some very confusing and somewhat disgusting mishaps.
But regardless of the hassles from the past, Miranda continues in her quest to impress Gary, trying to dance her way into his heart.
Penny's finding her daughters career choice, or more be it her owning a joke shop, is embarrassing her on the social scenes. So when she hears that Tilly, Miranda's old school friend, has gained yet another promotion, she sets about telling the social sets that Miranda is in a rather special career, or two, only for the truth to slowly unravel, leading to some very confusing scenarios.
Can things ever go right for Miranda..?
When Miranda discovers that some of her friends think she is a little boring, accusing her of being too predictable, she decides to take a spontaneous trip on her own, only this trip is not quite what is seems. So with Miranda on her trip of a life time, almost, it is not too long before her friends discover what she is really up too, leading to a few embarrassing situations.
Unfortunately, in the true meaning of Miranda's luck, her trip away is filled with many events which would cause a grown man to cry.
When penny tries to set Miranda up on a blind date at a party she tries everything to get herself out of it, using every excuse she can think of, including announcing her close relationship to her close friend. But when she discovers who her blind date is she soon announces the truth, only for more disappointment to set in once again.
When Stevie finds a wallet in the shop it is not long before she and Miranda are in competition to see who can get a date with the mystery owner of the wallet, Using what ever means they feel are needed, including some help from a couple of four legged friends, which does lead to an unexpected meeting with some badly dressed youths.
Unfortunately, Miranda learns that Gary is planning to leave town to start a new job in Hong Kong, making her feel that her chance to date him will be lost forever, but her idea to organise a leaving party leads to even more incidents in the life of Miranda, yet again.
I've seen Miranda Hart in a show called Not Going Out,(2006) with Lee Mack, and also in a show called Hyperdrive, (2006). In both shows I found her style of comedy quite a refreshing change indeed, especially her role as the cleaner in Not Going Out.
So when I read that she had been offered a show of her own I decided to give it a try, hoping that her style of humour, albeit the brief clips I'd seen, would remain throughout this new show of hers.
Fortunately for me, and her soon to be fan club, her humour remains constantly dry and somewhat hysterical throughout.
This show is without doubt one of the funniest comedies to hit the small screen in a long time, in my opinion, which is truly missing from the television these days. So when this came out on DVD it was a must for me to add to my collection.
The main character, as you can guess from the title, is Miranda Hart herself, and she certainly makes her character come across as daft as possible, without looking like an idiot, so to speak, the way she manages to create chaos out of calm.
I don't want to spoil it for anyone that has never seen the show so I won't say too much in the way she portrays her character, but suffice to say that she feels no hassles in having very few friends, if you don't include her fruit friends, or showing little embarrassment when she manages to fall off a chair or two, like an over excited child in a toy shop... and more.
And the way she suddenly looks into the camera to make a 'silly' comment about events that have or are happening make me giggle out loud.
It's not just Hart that makes this show as comically brilliant as it is, it is the combination of the others too, such as Patricia Hodge, (from films such as behind enemy lines, the Elephant man and just ask for Diamond), who plays her role as the irritating mother to perfection, using some cracking comments and releasing them at just the right time.
Sarah Hadland, (who has appeared in programs such as The Bill, Green Wing, Horrible Histories and more), as the blonde and slightly dippy Stevie, and it is the two characters being so totally different is what makes them work so well together.
There are a coupe of irritating characters, but this irritation is more comical than annoying, with the main one being Miranda's old school friend Tilly, played brilliantly by Sally Phillips, (Bridget Jones Diary, Notting Hill, Mean Machine and TV shows such as Skins, Green Wing and more). As I said, her characters here is comically annoying, coming across as a well bred young lady who looks down her nose at Miranda at every opportunity, with her 'silly' comments and 'annoying' remarks, giving the show more of that mix of comedy that has made it as funny as it is.
Then there's Miranda's true love, Gary, played by Tom Ellis, who isn't the funniest of characters, sometimes being a little wooden in parts, but not every one needs to be funny to create a comedy do they.
Let's not forget the other characters who add that special kind of 'style' to the show, such as James Holmes as Clive, the slightly camp restaurant owner, who delivers some truly funny one liners throughout the series.
And Katy Wix as Fanny, the other of Miranda's school friends and Tilly's 'wing woman' so to speak, although she is not quite as irritating as Tilly, being more of the quieter one.
The comedy is made up of lashings of quick one liners, dollops of dry with, fountains of farcical expressions, cunning comments to the camera and astounding acting from the cast.
Each episode is simply brilliant, each being crammed with some cracking humour, luckily Miranda seems to quite enjoy having a laugh at her own expense. But my favourite has to be the final episode in this series, involving the Stevie, Miranda, a mystery man, a few dogs and a few disgruntled and slightly confused youths. This episode is hilarious, especially when Miranda finds herself in a trick situation in the woods but managing to put on a brave face as she finds a way out of her upcoming embarrassment.
Sadly, for me the one thing that does spoil it is the endings of each episode, which I won't go to much into as I don't want to put anyone off the show. But suffice to say, the final few seconds of each episode, with the closing credits rolling through, are well worth fast forwarding as for me they just look completely stupid, but not enough to spoil the show one bit.
I know that this show is not for everyone but it is more than likely for most people to sit back and enjoy, but the stats give an indication of how popular the show really is, with this first series grabbing over 2.5 million viewers, rising steadily as the show progressed, never losing any viewers as it aired.
Plus, the shows recognition and awards to date include... (Stats and information courtesy of the tinternet)
Miranda Hart won the comedy performance at the 2009 Royal Television Society Awards.
Whilst the show was nominated for the scripted comedy and comedy writing awards, plus, it was given nominations at the 2010 British Academy Awards, those being 'scripted comedy' and 'female comedy performance'.
Hart and Hodge were both nominated for 'Best Actress' in the 2010 Monte Carlo television festival.
Miranda, the TV show, was nominated for 'Best Comedy Program' in 2010, with the show winning 'Best new British TV Comedy' in 2011.
The show was also nominated for 'Bests Sitcom' and won the 'Best Scripted Comedy' at the Royal TV Society Awards in 2011.
Miranda herself winning 'Best TV Comedy Actress' and the 'People's choice Award for the King or Queen of Comedy 2010'. She also won 'Best Comedy performance'
Also, for the record, Juliet May was nominated for best director at the 2011 British Academy TV Craft Awards.
And Miranda herself, together with the show, were nominated for 'Best Performance in a Comedy Role' in the British Academy TV Awards.
So, if you want to get this series on DVD, adding it to your collection maybe, then grab a copy from amazon for under £8.00, which for over 3 hours of dry wit and cracking humour is well worth the money.
Plus, you also get a few extras, such as a look behind the scenes, an introduction to the cast, a set tour with Miranda herself and most impressively some cracking out takes.
I just don't see how anyone cannot find Miranda funny. The catchphrases, the turning to camera and the way in which she has created a character who we can easily familiarise with as she finds herself in socially awkward situations, many of which we most of us experience on a regular basis. If we aren't the ones falling on our faces ourselves, we are the ones witnessing it happening to others.
Miranda is great as it does not consist of crass or crude humour and therefore can be watched by the whole family. Physical, slapstick comedy plays a larger role than verbal comedy in Miranda as actions do speak louder than words. Her mother's (Penny played by Patricia Hodge) attempts to marry her off is the highlight of the show, particularly as we find ourselves wishing her and Gary, played by Tom Ellis, would just get it together. In one episode Gary walks into the shop to find her dressed as a transvestite with Miranda acting blissfully unaware and that's when we think - oh god, will it ever work for these two?! However, we soon learn that Gary is just as goofy as Miranda, for example when he is playing air guitar in the restaurant and quickly runs to turn the music off when she walks in.
Favourite catchphrases (and so addictive you find yourself using them!) :
- Bear with.. Bear with.. Bear with.. Back! (Often used by Tilly)
- What I call.. (Used by Miranda's mum Penny)
- 'Are we?'
I found the first series funnier than the second but I only had to watch a few episodes before I was completely hooked and I can't wait for the third series!
Bargain buy at £7.79 from Amazon or £11.99 from Play. On November 7th Series 1 and 2 will be available as a box set for £17.99.
I saw the end of series two of Miranda on BBC 2 around Christmas time and I really enjoyed it so when I got paid last month and had a little extra left over after paying the bills I decided to treat myself to the DVD of the first series.
I managed to get my copy brand new for £10 on ebay but it is currently selling for £11.99 on Amazon which is a good price. I have seen it cost quite a bit more than that (up to £20) so it is worth shopping around for the best deal if you are interested in buying it.
*What is Miranda?*
Miranda is a comedy series which began in 2009. It stars Miranda Hart who also writes the series. It is semi-autobiographical and in it Miranda Hart plays Miranda. It also stars Sarah Hadland, Tom Ellis and Patricia Hodge.
Miranda is over 6 foot tall and often gets mistaken for a man. Her mother is constantly trying to marry her off but it seems as though nobody is interested. Much to her mothers dismay, Miranda owns a joke shop which is ran by her best friend Stevie because Miranda lacks any managerial skills.
Miranda is meeting her old school friends for lunch, although she doesn't want to. Whilst there, she bumps into an old university friend Gary who suggests they go out for a drink to catch up. Miranda is over the moon as she really fancies Gary and she sets out to buy a dress for the occasion but buying a dress for a woman over 6 foot proves to be harder than it seems...
Miranda is desperate to make Gary realise they are meant to be and when Stevie suggests they go to a French class in the evenings she agrees it might be a good idea as she can then show her romantic side. She eagerly attends the class but is dismayed when the teacher turns out to be her old school teacher.
Mirandas mother is desperately trying to persuade her to change her career path. When Mirandas old school friend is boasting about her new job she blurts out that Miranda has a job in television. This encourages Miranda to go out and find a proper job, after all she doesn't do a lot at the shop! Meanwhile, Miranda is trying to cancel her gym membership...
Miranda's friends are constantly saying she is boring. Therefore, she decides to do something spontaneous - she is going to go to Thailand. However, she really cant be bothered to do this so decides to book a hotel round the corner.
Miranda's mother has a plan to set Miranda up with somebody she has recently met at a wedding. Miranda is not keen but every time she trys to excuse herself from the party, her lies come out wrong and she ends up agreeing to be there!
A handsome man leaves his wallet in the shop and Stevie decides she is going to return it to him personally and then try and get a date with him. Miranda is jealous and says that perhaps she would rather go on a date with him, after all it was her shop he left his wallet in...
*Series one on the whole*
Series one was very funny and I really enjoyed watching it. Miranda is an absolutely hilarious and I think most people will find her very funny. She is very conscious of her height and the fact that people keep calling her Sir but rather than feeling sorry for herself she makes it a comedy scenario.
There are some classic comedy moments in this first series including Miranda getting stuck in a chair, her declaring she is a lesbian with Stevie and getting stuck in a park gate. Each episode contains some very funny moments and the comedy fits in very well with the plot of each episode.
Miranda often speaks to the audience directly which I found really helped us know how she was feeling and what she was really thinking. These moments often provide hilarious moments of comedy as we get to get into Miranda's mind.
The episodes worked well together but you could certainly watch one episode without seeing ones prior to it. Each episode had a new plot and a new story to follow but there is also a couple of long running themes such as Gary and Mirandas romance and Mirandas mothers nagging! Each episode lasts around 30 minutes.
All of the characters in the series were very funny and although Miranda does take centre stage they all provide very funny comedy moments. The acting in the series is great and each character is very realistic and believable.
Very funny comedy series, definitely worth £11.99 of anyones money.