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Bad News
Bad News (DVD)
March 2015
Released: 2012, BBC
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

Back in England, there was a comedy troop called ‘The Comic Strip’. Four actors/comedians got their start in the live stand-up circuit and eventually got a show that ran periodically in the 80’s and early 90’s for five seasons. There were also many one-off specials and movies. Think of it as perhaps an equivalent to Canada SCTV or America’s Saturday Night Live.

One of the more popular segments were two episodes about a fictional Heavy Metal band called Bad News. There were two episodes about Bad News, one called ‘Bad News Tour’ which first aired in 1983 and the sequel ‘More Bad News’ in 1988. The pair of episodes are now available on DVD as a set simply called BAD NEWS. The DVD is a single disc with no booklet and the total run time is 81 minutes.

Each episode is fantastic. The first introduces us to the band of hapless souls with no talent or business acumen. The comedy sketches follows the band through a number of mishaps, poorly attended gigs, shady promoters ripping them off, the van breaking down etc… the usual true-to-life stories of many bands. It might seem a bit dated by today’s standards but it was a classic of the era.

The success of the skit led to not one but three albums on a major label where they expanded the comedy into real songs and spoken word bits. By this time the ‘band’ had achieved cult status in Britain and to a lesser degree in the Commonwealth countries that would broadcast the show on the BBC. I saw it in Canada in the 80’s but know of very few American’s who saw it. The next step was another skit called ‘More Bad News’ in 1998.

‘More Bad News’ had better production values and because of the status of the comedians in England they were able to get a number of guest stars to contribute. Specifically, Joe Elliot and Phil Collen of Def Leppard, Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy and Phil from Motorhead and Rudolph from Scorpions all have cameos. All of them are in one the joke and saying how lousy Bad News is! The plotline is essentially the band gets a chance to reform, get a record contract (on Frilly Pink, a gay label), record a single, shoot a video and play at Castle Donignton. To celebrate they order 100 pints of lager proceed to get piss drunk have a fight and almost break-up as soon as they have reformed. They carry on and the scene where they are shooting the video for the song, ‘Warriors Of Genghis Kahn’ is side-splittingly funny. The whole thing actually culminates in an actual appearance by the comedy troop at Castle Donington where they get pelted with bottles as per the tradition. Of course the vast majority of the audience would be familiar with the band so it is a brilliant scene, a popular parody band appearing at a real Metal fest.

Some people have debated which is the better Metal comedy, Spinal Tap or Bad News. Even though I think Spinal Tap has a bit more global recognition, I slightly prefer Bad News. This DVD belongs in your collection standing proudly next to Spinal Tap as a one-two knockout metal comedy punch.
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by JP

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