Little Britain Live

Saturday Night Live and SCTV didn’t do it but the lewd brains behind Little Britain make it look so easy. Comedy tours are big business in the UK, they always have been. Matt Lucas and David Walliams (along with regulars Paul Putner and Samantha Power) have been performing their hit BBC show on the road for three seasons now and this DVD captures the duo’s stop at the Blackpool Opera House in May 2006. Filled with entirely new material, Live plays like an extended episode of the program, introducing favourite characters in harebrained scenarios. Vicky Pollard and her six-stroller army of babies make a guest appearance at her former school; Des Kaye plays an aggressive, outrageous game of "hide the sausage” with two unplanted audience members that nears sexual assault; Fat Fighters recruit a "larger” spectator and reduces her to a "fatty, fatty, boo, boo” but does reward her with a XXXXXL T-shirt; and even Anthony Head drops by as the Prime Minister, leaving Sebastian in (actual) naked ecstasy as he learns that the PM is undergoing a trial separation with his wife. Hell, they’re so good they even break out the difficult props and let Maggie barf on her friend Judy and give the itsy bitsy Dennis Waterman justice as he visits his agent. Improv isn’t a problem either, as these guys know how to adlib with the best of them. Of course, being live the sets aren’t as animated but the producers prepare for this shortcoming with one-dimensional, "virtual tour” photographs and limited props for ambiance. A featurette shows the cast and crew planning just how to pull everything off with self-effacing humour, and Lou and Andy take us on a tour of Blackpool, which is shot more like a TV sketch. Best of all though is "Little Big Swim,” a separate, hour-long BBC mini-doc narrated and directed by Lucas that follows Walliams in his actual attempt to swim across the English Channel, which took him nine months to train for. It’s pretty damn momentous, considering his forte is comedy not athletics. Plus: "making of,” deleted scenes. (BBC)