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Before He Was House, MD: Must-Sees for Hugh Laurie Fans

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The label “Renaissance man” is one that is sometimes bandied about too freely when speaking of those in the public sphere. But when referring to Hugh Laurie (House, MD on the critically acclaimed FOX show of the same name), the title is completely appropriate. And there is no question that right now, Laurie is at the very top of his game. With three plus seasons of House behind him, he has received both popular and critical acclaim for his nuanced and complex characterization of the intense and troubled diagnostic genius.

During the course of the last 20 years, Mr. Laurie has assembled an impressive professional resume as comedic and dramatic actor (on stage and screens large and small), director, writer (of both sketch comedy and novel), musician (on several instruments), composer, and athlete.

Anyway, with the Writers Guild strike still ongoing and winter House hiatus upon us (even if the writers’ strike is settled tomorrow), I thought I might assemble a little guide to Hugh Laurie’s other available works; some are hard to find, others less so. Any would make a perfect holiday or birthday gift for that Hugh Laurie fan on your list (or for yourself). Just one word of warning: this list is not intended to be comprehensive, nor objective. So enjoy your Hugh Laurie fix and let me know what I’ve left out below in that little comment box.

TELEVISION

Blackadder (1983-1989) Blackadder was created by the very talented Richard Curtis, Ben Elton, and Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean). The entire series presents British history coupled with biting social commentary through a very comic lens. Laurie appears in the final two episodes of season two, before creating the rather iconic fop George, Prince Regent of Regency-era England. In powdered wig, satin clothing, and pop-eyed innocence, Laurie plays the idiot Prince George for broad comic effect. It is one of his most beloved early roles, and in it, he could not be farther removed from Gregory House. In season four, Laurie returned to play Lieutenant George, an equally daft (but slightly less over the top) Oxbridge educated young officer in the trenches under the World War I command of Atkinson’s Blackadder. There are some touching and deeply chilling moments (particularly in the final episode) of the clearly anti-war Blackadder Goes Forth fourth season. The four seasons of Blackadder plus a one-episode Blackadder V, and some one-off sketches are all available individually (except the one-offs) or in collector box sets (that include the one-offs).

A Bit of Fry and Laurie (1987-1995) Smart wordplay, quick repartee, silliness, and satire characterized the four seasons of this BBC sketch comedy series. Sometimes the sketches ran a bit long, but more often, they showcased the amazing physical grace, sly comic acting, and musical talents of Mr. Laurie, not to mention the fabulous writing talents of Stephen Fry and Laurie, who wrote and performed each sketch. Many of the sketches are as timely now as they were when they first aired. My favorites include the Tony of Plymouth sketch that ends season one and features the two engaging in swordplay on the stage; and nearly all of the original satirical musical numbers that came from the pen (and the guitar and piano) of multi-talented Laurie. The most ironic (if not iconic) of sketches is from the fourth season in a great parody of It’s a Wonderful Life, skewering Rupert Murdoch (a favorite target of the show), who, of course owns FOX, the network on which Laurie now stars! My favorite musical numbers include: "Mystery," "Kickin’ Ass" and "The Protest Song." Okay, and the Steffi Graf song. Soupy twist! (Hey, if you don’t know that particular term, Google it!)

Jeeves and Wooster (1990-1993) When Fry and Laurie weren’t engaged writing or performing ABOFL, they were playing Bertie Wooster (best described, by Laurie as a sort of male flapper) and his faithful valet Jeeves. Although the Wodehouse novels have been brought to the small screen by other actors, no one will dispute that the two were perfectly cast in their roles. Laurie imbues his indelible Bertie Wooster with a kindness of heart that offsets his inherent goofiness. He isn’t a blithering idiot, as he is so often characterized. (No one who uses language like Bertie does can be considered stupid.) But Bertie is rather disorganized and feckless, often getting into trouble trying to aid his friends who are even more incompetent than he is. Good thing Jeeves is around to help him out of hot spots. We are again treated to Laurie's wonderful piano playing in many of the episodes. One of my favorite moments: Bertie trying to make sense of singing the syncopated “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” at the piano. And Jeeves and Wooster singing "Minnie the Moocher!" (I’ve heard Laurie sing "Minnie" more recently and comparing the two renderings of the Cab Calloway classic as sung by Hugh Laurie is a great study in stylistic contrasts).

All or Nothing at All (1993) Now out on DVD in the US, the series stars Laurie as a charming con man. I recently reviewed this series for Blogcritics.

Spooks/MI5 (2002) Laurie appeared in two episodes of season one of this popular British series starring Matthew MacFayden (Pride and Prejudice). He played the director of MI6 Jools Siviter, a smart, tough, and icily charming man dripping with disdain for the mere mortals of MI5.

Fortysomething (2003) Just before he did House, Laurie starred in this multi-part British series. The show was received with mixed reviews by the critics, but stands as a lovely showcase for him, playing the perpetually bewildered Dr. Paul Slippery. I loved watching Him in this show. Not available yet, it is scheduled for DVD release in the US for April or May 2008.

FILM

Laurie has appeared in numerous film roles — small, medium, and large. The following are several that contain some of the more interesting characters he has created over the years. The films themselves have been great, fair, and not so good. Consistently, however, Laurie has created complex, multi-layered characters, often rising far above the material given him.

Peter's Friends (1992) Written by Martin Bergman and Rita Rudner, this is the tale of a group of college dramatics club mates (not unlike the Cambridge Footlights, of which Laurie, Stephen Fry, Tony Slattery, Emma Thompson, and Bergman were all part) who reunite ten years later to celebrate the New Year in this drama-comedy. Laurie and Imelda Staunton play a jingle-writing couple grieving the loss of one of their infant twin sons. Their subplot packs the biggest emotional wallop of the film, portrayed with great emotional depth and nuance — to me, an even greater dramatic impact than the main reveal of the film. Once again, Laurie gets to display his substantial musical gifts as he performs on piano (the Jerome Kern standard “The Way You Look Tonight”), and on guitar. A must-see film for Laurie fans, it is not easily available, but does play on channels from time to time. Peter’s Friends is only available on DVD in a Region 2 version, but a US-playable VHS tape of the film is occasionally offered on eBay!

Sense and Sensibility (1996) With a screenplay written by his friend Emma Thompson and directed by the brilliant Ang Lee, Sense and Sensibility is a beautiful adaptation of the Jane Austen novel. Although Laurie’s role in the film is small, he makes the most of it as the dour and sardonic Mr. Palmer. Married to a vacuous and overly-gregarious woman, toward whom he shows nothing but annoyance, Mr. Palmer shows a kinder and more compassionate nature when it is required.

Cousin Bette (1998) Starring Jessica Lange, this film got very mixed reviews. However, it is a treat for Hugh Laurie fans, as he plays a character of dubious morality and great greed in this period piece set in France. Based on the Balzac novel, Laurie plays Hector Hulot with great relish. His best scenes are with Bob Hoskins, who plays Hulot’s rival.

The Young Visitors (TV film, 2003) Based on a novel by a child writer, Laurie plays Lord Bernard Clark. The film is a delight as Laurie and Jim Broadbent play rivals for the hand of a young, socially climbing Ethel. It is a fantasy, but not really a children’s movie, with a great supporting job done by Bill Nighy. Watching Laurie as the smitten Lord Bernard as he courts the pretty Ethel is a real treat.

Girl From Rio (2001) Okay. I’ll say it. This movie is pure guilty pleasure. It’s not a great film, or even a very good film, but Laurie plays a geeky and oh-so-repressed Englishman, a banking cipher (with a secret life as a samba dancer), with great charm. After learning that his boss is having an affair with his wife, he embezzles a fortune from his London bank and flees to – where else? – Rio. Laurie’s meek banker makes a pilgrimage to Rio in search of the queen of the samba, who he finds, but not before getting into an immense amount of trouble. It’s fun, and silly, but I’m a softie for romantic comedies, so… Besides, Hugh Laurie dancing? The samba? Cool.

Maybe Baby (2000) Two versions of this romantic comedy exist on DVD. The first is the original, released in Britain. It is ten minutes longer and fathoms better than the American release. It’s amazing how ten minutes of edits can substantially harm a film. I have seen both versions, and if you can get a copy of the British version (Region 2) and have access to a multi-region DVD player or software, you should get that version. Laurie and Joely Richardson play Sam and Lucy Bell, a childless yuppie couple who go through all of the machinations required when infertility issues hit. (Having gone through some of these myself, I found the film very resonant). The film is based on Ben Elton’s novel Inconceivable, and the stars do a great job as the couple. Unlike the US release, the British version of the DVD features a running commentary track by writer/director Ben Elton and Hugh Laurie (alone worth the price of the DVD). There are fun cameos by Rowan Atkinson, Emma Thompson, Dawn French, and a host of other British comedy comedy legends.

Flight of the Phoenix (2004) Not critically acclaimed, this remake of the classic film is actually not bad — and quite engaging, especially if you’d never seen the original. The movie stars Dennis Quaid and Giovanni Ribisi. In a supporting role, Hugh Laurie plays a buttoned up corporate bean counter who, of all the characters in the film, undergoes the most striking changes — physically and emotionally. This film is also noteworthy because it was during filming this movie in Namibia that Laurie was sent the original audition pages for House, MD. With the difficulty of the shoot, in harsh conditions, the scruffy, weary, and haggard looking Laurie filmed his audition tape for the House pilot sequestered in his hotel bathroom. The rest is history.

IN PRINT

The Gun Seller. Laurie’s beautifully crafted novel is funny, dark, and chilling all at the same time. It got wonderful reviews on both sides of the pond — and for good reason.  I’m a big fan of political thrillers and spy novels, as well as a fan of wry comic novels. The Gun Seller blends it all together into a tasty treat. One cannot help but hear Laurie’s own voice in the novel’s hero, Thomas Lang. Laurie has written an as yet unproduced screenplay of the novel, which lies simply in wait (I think with MGM).

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • BoffleB

    Great suggestions, Barbara. I can only add that the House Soundtrack could be added to that list since it contains a Band from TV cover version of the Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” a song which has been used to great effect on House since the series pilot. Band from TV, as you, of course, well know, features Hugh singing and playing piano: their version of “Minnie the Moocher” is available on iTunes. And Hugh’s songs on J&W and ABoF&L: also brilliant! Simply brilliant!

  • http://community.livejournal.com/house_reviews Barbara Barnett

    Thanks for mentioning those Boffle! I was really disappointed when the Band From TV version of Minnie wasn’t included on the House soundtrack (but then why would it?).

  • Paquita Mompwetmo

    he was also in a twilight zone episode where he was an escaped convict who picked up an alien device that looked like a gun and the moment he touched it it bonded with his hand and became a part of him and he grew these postules on his sides where bullets grew out of his body. maybe they should punk him, where he’s supposed to treat an emergency case with a broken wrist and when he pulls off the sheet covering the arm he will see the same gun that he used in the twilight zone episode…just a thought…

  • marykir

    If you enjoy listening to Hugh there are several audiobooks, of which the easiest to find in the US are Jerome K. Jerome’s “Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow,” Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” and Alexander McCall Smith’s von Igelfeld trilogy which starts with “Portuguese Irregular Verbs.” All of these are available on audible.com. If you have young children, there are some audio versions of books by Giles Andreae, Lauren Child, and Roald Dahl which are lots of fun — but which probably will need to be ordered from the UK.

    Hugh has also done a lot of work on animated programs for children. These are also easier to find in the UK. The best one you can find in the US is “The Tale of Two Bad Mice and Johnny Town-Mouse” which is part of “The Peter Rabbit Collection” aka “The World of Peter Rabbit & Friends.”

    On the TV front, another fun performance is from “Tracy Takes On” season 1. Hugh appears as Timothy Bugge in 3 episodes: very briefly in episode 1, “Romance”; episode 4, “Royalty”; and episode 8, “Death.”

  • Mary

    And let’s not forget that many public libraries have pretty good video/DVD collections that will let you borrow items for free. That’s how I got to see “The Young Visiters” (sic), which was surprisingly entertaining for an adaptation of a book written by a very young girl with some peculiar ideas of how adults conversed. But all the actors do a splendid job with the material, (including Hugh Laurie, of course).

  • http://community.livejournal.com/house_reviews Barbara Barnett

    If you enjoy listening to Hugh there are several audiobooks, of which the easiest to find in the US are Jerome K. Jerome’s “Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow,” Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” and Alexander McCall Smith’s von Igelfeld trilogy which starts with “Portuguese Irregular Verbs.” All of these are available on audible.com. If you have young children, there are some audio versions of books by Giles Andreae, Lauren Child, and Roald Dahl which are lots of fun — but which probably will need to be ordered from the UK.

    Marykir–All are good choices for audio books. I personally love hearing Hugh reading Ben Elton’s Inconceivable (on which “Maybe Baby” is based). Hugh has such a great ear, and a flexible voice which makes it possible for him to create all of those wonderfully unique voices.

    Thanks for adding those, and it’s nice to see you over here!

    Mary–good suggestion about finding a lot of things in libraries.

    Barbara

  • Die Hard

    I am not sure whether I love him or whether I am in love with him. Either way I am gone. utterly and totally.

  • http://community.livejournal.com/house_reviews Barbara Barnett

    Die Hard–you will get no argument from me.

    Barbara

  • Krista

    I have spent the last year or so catching up on Hugh’s career. Where has this man been all my life?? He is awesome!!

  • http://community.livejournal.com/house_reviews Barbara Barnett

    Krista–agreed. It’s unique enough to have created one iconic character in one’s career (film or television). Hugh has created three completely unforgettable characters–I wish at some point in his career he would play Holmes. I believe that Sherlock Holmes is a character Hugh was born to perform.

    Barbara

  • cadeira

    Again a wonderful article from you. Thank you! Some weeks ago I´ve spent hours or so to collect all the stuff Hugh´s made on Amazon.
    At the moment, when I go out with my dog, I listen to von Igelfeld´s adventures and I have to laugh so often although I´m actually German and sometimes his “fake german” pronounciation is just outrageous but in an absolutely amiable way.
    I just wanted to add the two Stuart Little Movies and 101 Dalamtians, because noone else mentioned them yet. Never enjoyed rewatching kids movies as much since I´m a Hugh fan.

  • http://community.livejournal.com/house_reviews Barbara Barnett

    I have to admit to having the Stuart Littles and 101 Dalmatians on my DVR right now. Guilty, guilty pleasures (since neither of my kids are young enough anymore to actually watch them). I have no excuse other than that they star Mr. Laurie!

  • hl_lover

    Mr. Little is such a sweet man, again quite the opposite of Gregory House.

    Hugh has the comic chops and timing, along with a rubber face and quick wit, that are necessary to be a great comedian, with his equally good partner, Stephen Fry, but it is in drama that you really see Hugh’s depth as an actor. Such nuanced performances as Leo Hopkins and Gregory House are stunning in the range of emotions protrayed, sometimes with something as simple as a tightening of a cheek muscle, but more often through the soulfulness of his blue eyes.

    I suppose you could add Hugh’s performance in the Judy Garland biopic, “Life With Judy Garland–Me And My Shadows” to your list of Hugh’s film performances, although you won’t get blue eyes in this one, but brown (he wore contact lenses).

    And don’t forget his appearance in “Spice World, The Spice Girls Movie”!
    OK, kidding on that one.

    Great review, Barbara, of a marvelous actor’s career! Thanks for helping us through the current drought of new “House” episodes.

  • sdemar

    Thank you for the nice recap of Hugh’s past work. I am currently building my Hugh Laurie library, while my husband only shakes his head and gently teases me about my tv boyfriend.

    He is a true renaissance man. It is only right that he has finally made it big. He has worked hard and has earned his place in the spotlight.

    I simply adore him.

  • http://community.livejournal.com/house_reviews Barbara Barnett

    Thanks for chiming in hl_lover. And Sdemar.
    Hugh was excellent as Vincente Minnelli in the Judy Garland movie (alas with those brown contacts hiding the patent-able eyes). Hugh has always had a lot of range in his acting. That he finally has gotten the much-deserved critical acclaim for his dramatic acting is terrific after a legendary early career as a comic actor.

    My husband is constantly teasing me as well. He simply shakes his head and indulges me regarding my TV boyfriend.

  • ostrova

    WODEHOUSE. It’s spelled that way, even if it’s pronounced “Wood-house”. “Woodhouse” is the lady who trains dogs, not a male writer who created Bertie and Jeeves.

    “Rhymes with goodhouse, not roadhouse.”–PG Wodehouse.

  • http://community.livejournal.com/house_reviews Barbara Barnett

    WODEHOUSE. It’s spelled that way, even if it’s pronounced “Wood-house”. “Woodhouse” is the lady who trains dogs, not a male writer who created Bertie and Jeeves.

    Of course you are right. Megadoses of cold meds is my lame excuse for such a typographical error. Apologies from this Wodehouse fan.

    BB

  • Tourmaline

    Excellent article Barbara!

    Note that, in addition to playing the lead in Fortysomething, Hugh also stepped in to direct the series when the original director dropped out.

  • http://pointlessannointed.blogspot.com/ Colin

    I’m glad you’re liking Blackadder and a Bit of Fry and Laurie, are you an Anglo or merely an Anglophile Barbara?
    I hope Hugh’s success gives Stephen Fry some American profile too – I think all he has done so far is a ‘bumbling inspector’ cameo in Gosford Park, and his portrayal of Oscar Wilde in Wilde – he’s a gay you know!
    A Bit Of Fry and Laurie lit up my late adolescence with its genius and I can still recite parts of it – better still, but whether it’s available anywhere was Stephen Fry’s BBC Radio 4 series Saturday Night Fish Fry, where his word play was allowed even freer reign, Hugh Laurie was an occasional guest on the show.
    Blackadder too was an enourmous schoolyard hit – I swear to people of a certain age it is probably still basis of their knowledge of British history – with “A cunning plan” still an oft-repeated catchphrase to this day. Brilliantly cast, brilliantly written, brilliantly acted (Tim Mcinerney and Miranda Richardson in II especially)…
    Brilliant. Crikey, I could go on for hours about this – I wonder how well Blackadder travels? Monty Python did I suppose and Blackadder had far greater mainstream success at home…

    “Too many fat bastards eating all the pie,” indeed, the birth of modern socialism Blackadder III styley.
    And, one final word, I promise, well two. Blackadder IV’s finale does indeed have incredible emotional impact and was indeed something of a national event in this country… And, finally, Stephen Fry currently hosts a very old fashioned panel game on BBC2 and BBC4, called Qi for Quite Interesting, which they are trying to flog to BBC America, Hugh Laurie recently appeared on it, possibly with a view to that market – I hope you get it, it’s absurdly brilliant. Na night.

  • http://community.livejournal.com/house_reviews Barbara Barnett

    Thanks, Tourmaline! Yes, I recall that he directed (I think) two of the episodes.

    Colin–thanks for your comments. I confess to being an American Anglophile. Blackadder has really had quite a long life here on this side of the pond. It’s a wonderful history lesson (which is no surprise, given that Ben Elton is quite the student of history–I loved his recent novel on WWI).

    It’s funny that for so long Hugh really was so overshadowed by the more gregarious and flamboyant Fry. Nowadays, with Hugh’s success over here, he is clearly more in the spotlight (at least in the US) than is Stephen, and of course it was fun to see Stephen in the US Show Bones, filmed on the same lot as House.

    Love to see them do Holmes one day (with Hugh as Sherlock and Stephen as either Watson or Holmes’ brother).

  • http://www.couchslobs.com bertas

    Barbara great article and very informative too, it seems I can smell Hugh Laurie enthusiast a mile off :) I love Jeeves and Wooster, I grew up on Black Adder however I still have to get my hands on A bit of Fry and Laurie, perfect thing for Christmas season… hm you think Sherlock would be his thing? hmmmm but I have to say as much as I adore House I enjoy it best when he is with Stephen Fry they do gel so well together…
    anyhow thanks for the article, now I have to update my hm collection :))

  • http://pointlessannointed.blogspot.com/ Colin

    Ben Elton is more than a student of history, or at least it runs in his family, he is related to the very great British historian Geoffrey Elton – a leading Tudor specialist and Reggius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge. I heard a recent reminiscence of Blackadder (if you can get BBC Radio 4 in America on the web, you should really try and listen to it) in which it was recorded that young Ben was petrified that his uncle would dissaprove of his comedic take on British history, which, duly, he did. Until, that is, the final episode of Blackadder IV, which led him to send a note of congratulations to the young shaver.
    Fry certainly qualifies for the title ‘national institution’ in this country (with his ‘brain the size of Kent,” Emma Thompson, simply Britain’s most knowledgable man) and I would reccomend heartily his collected journalism, Paperweight, if you can get hold of it – great wisdom delivered with great humour. He also produces and directs films now through his company Sprout – he was going to make a Joe Meek biopic (I wrote a bc article on Joe you might like) but someone else got there first. I think he directed an Evelyn Waugh adaptation, Bright Young Things.
    I hope they don’t do Sherlock – I’m a massive Holmesian and the pair – certainly in this country – carry too much comic baggage for the roles. Again probably only in the UK, no-one would accept Laurie as Holmes with Fry as Watson, quite the wrong way round, although Fry as Mycroft (the brother) is a better shout.
    Fry’s written a number of novels, none of which I’ve read, but his autobiography would definitely be worth a look for an Anglophile, and I’ve checked Amazon and you can get Paperweight in the US – do it forthwith!
    Sorry, I should have said, great article too Barbara, and I shouldn’t have hijacked your Hugh to go on and on about Stephen Fry.
    And, I should probably admit I’ve never seen House in my life – though it is on British telly.

    “And death to the stupid prince who grows fat on the profits!”
    Sorry.
    All the best and look out for QI on BBC America, if they get the go ahead.
    Colin.

  • http://community.livejournal.com/house_reviews Barbara Barnett

    I’m a massive Holmesian and the pair – certainly in this country – carry too much comic baggage for the roles. Again probably only in the UK, no-one would accept Laurie as Holmes with Fry as Watson, quite the wrong way round, although Fry as Mycroft (the brother) is a better shout.

    I, too, a Holmes fan, and I so very much see HL in the role of Holmes (and Fry as Mycroft–and he would be fabulous in that role). One of the things that House has done for Laurie is to strip him of the “only a comedian” persona. He is immensely powerful as a dramatic actor, playing the troubled genius Gregory House (who is, btw, based on Holmes). It’s a powerhouse role (as it were)–and even British critics have admitted how sensational his is in the role. I could not see Hugh as Watson at this point. Hugh has the subtlety of emotion in his dramatic work (particularly in House, but in other things as well) to do Holmes justice.

    I wasn’t aware of Elton’s deep connections to history. Mostly aware of his knowledge and politics (and wonderful writing). I’ve read several of Fry’s books as well. (And of course Hugh’s Gun Seller). I love Fry’s way with language, and have enjoyed his work in ABOFL and other things–especially his stuff with Hugh.

  • http://www.couchslobs.com bertas

    Oh but I simply have to suggest Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry it is a great read, what that man does with the language is simply astonishing… do you know Barbara I have Gun Seller, I just did not have the time to read it yet…
    Colin you really think Fry/Laurie in a new edition of Holmes would not do well in UK? I think they have both proven they can do so much more then comedy… Fry was brilliant in Wilde and well Hugh as House although it is not his only dramatic role, as Barbara said is simply brilliant… anyhow we shall see, but you know what I would really really love? To have Fry as a guest star on House, now that would be a riot :)

  • http://community.livejournal.com/house_reviews Barbara Barnett

    Hi Bertas–I’ve read Moab. A very good read indeed. Fry on House–a lot of fans have suggested that it would be a lot of fun. But I’m not absolutely sure about that. Maybe as a clinic patient in a cameo-like role. I’d prefer that to Fry playing a patient of the week.

  • http://pointlessannointed.blogspot.com/ Colin

    As I’ve said I have never seen House, so perhaps it’s just my personal comedic baggage – and as 0.00000001 percent of the British television audience I can be easily disregarded! (Have a look at my blog of 20 years on the lash, and you’ll see that I’m not overqualified to comment on any of this such has been my disengagement) Holmesians, I think, tend to have a very developed view of the great (fictional) man, and the late and very great Jeremy Brett has come closest to mine – possibly to the extent that he’s queered the pitch for others. As a double act I don’t think you can go from Jeeves and Wooster to H and W but, really, that is just me and I don’t think I am in any way typical and the pair are marquee names, so why the flip not. I don’t think a British production is likely for a while anyhow – the Brett series’ long shadow, but with Hugh’s name such a hit in the states… Well, why not?
    I have lots of dreamy dreams, and writing a Holmes feature script is one of them, I think the time for a big screener is really ripe – The Hound would be the usual and most likely suspect.
    Ben Elton is now routinely traduced by people on the left in this country – he started out as a very political stand up and is considered a ‘sell out’ by many lefties (a bogus concept in my view) particularly after he worked with Andrew Lloyd Weber for some reason – as if musical theatre is in some sense an inherently right wing form…
    Sorry, I do go on don’t I?
    So, I shall now desist – or as it’s a slightly medical thread I shall now de-cyst!

  • http://www.couchslobs.com bertas

    Oh Colin I know what you mean about Jeremy Brett, I just wrote a blog post a few days ago about it actually :) I agree, he was the closest to Holmes in any of the TV versions ever… and may I nudge you, I know I am by no means objective, but do give House a try, you’ll be astonished at what Laurie is doing these days :)
    Barbara I’m glad you have enjoyed Moab it has been my favorite book of late, but I have to say I dont see Stephen Fry (goodness I have such a great affection for that man :) as just any common old patient… he would either have to have some illness House could not treat OR as some type of an authority figure that would make him even more miserable… like Melchy on Black Adder :) I would suggest if I may to see any of Stephen Fry’s documentaries, the one about his bi-polar disorder is just… well you will have to see for yourself… knocked my socks off with his honesty…

  • http://community.livejournal.com/house_reviews Barbara Barnett

    It would be best I think (if Fry ever did guest on House)if Fry played (if not a clinic patient) a straight up patient–and played it serious (not with humorous overtones. I love the delicate balance of the show never tipping over into outright comedy without a great deal of gravitas and pathos to keep it drama.

  • http://pointlessannointed.blogspot.com/ Colin

    Hey Bertas – I tried clicking your URL thingy in the comment and nothing came up – where is yer blog? I just want to look at your Brett-love…

  • http://www.my-virtual-income.com Christopher Rose

    Try it now Colin. Bertas didn’t put the full url in the little box above the comments box so I fixed it. He’ll need to do it himself if he comments again for the change to be permanent…

  • http://pointlessannointed.blogspot.com/ colin

    Thanks Christopher…

    I posted on another thread that Snarky has now arrived in this country – I think I saw it in or on the Guardian website! Bastards… I don’t like Americanisms coming in. Gosh darn hot diggity no sirree I do not!
    That was in a Fry and Laurie sketch once actually… The man who goes on holiday to return and find the police have been privatised:
    HLaurie: “Fill OUT a form! Fill OUT a form! Surely you mean fill IN a form.”

  • http://www.couchslobs.com bertas

    You know, I dont understand how I have waited this long not to see A bit of Fry and Laurie, shame on me :)

  • http://ubiquitous-a.livejournal.com/ Andrea L.T.

    For those who have had difficulty locating some of the DVD’s mentioned, and aren’t necessarily in a position to buy them, I have found that Netflix has all of the seasons of A Bit of Fry & Laurie, Wooster & Jeeves, Girl From Rio, The Young Visiters, MI-5, and a bunch of Hugh Laurie’s other work.

    I’d also recommend getting the Saturday Night Live episode he did on October 28th of 2006 (I bought it from iTunes, but it’s no longer available there; you can now get it on Amazon Unbox). There are some great sketches, and he did sing “The Protest Song” there as well.

    For myself, after having rented all of ABOFAL, I thoroughly intend to purchase the DVD set as soon as I can. Also, thanks for the information about Fortysomething being available next year!

  • http://community.livejournal.com/house_reviews Barbara Barnett

    thanks for adding that information, Andrea. Hugh’s Protest Song is one of those great parody songs that are timeless. It worked back in the mid 1990s and still works in 2007. In writing those songs for A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Hugh called upon so many different genres and musical styles. Each was a perfectly done parody, and the fact that he performed each perfectly within its own genre, whether on guitar, piano or harmonica marks him as an exceptionally talented musician.

  • Holly Forrest

    This is a great summary and listing of where to get a look at Laurie’s other work. I’m wondering if anyone knows where we can get sheet music for his songs. My son would love to play them. I can get lyrics easily enough, but need the music. Thanks!

  • http://community.livejournal.com/house_reviews Barbara Barnett

    Thanks Holly. What instrument does your son play? A lot of Hugh’s ABOFL songs are of very simple chord structure and pretty easy to figure out. I don’t think there is sheet music for any of Hugh’s compositions, so that would be your best bet if he plays guitar. Some music software will transcribe music that is recorded as midi files into sheet music and/or guitar tabs.

    Barbara

  • NYC House Lover

    So nice when one finds others with the same obsessions. I now own all three seasons of House, the entire ABFAL, the entire Jeeves and Wooster, Maybe Baby, and Girl from Rio… as well as The Gun Seller. Other things are in my Netflix queue. I just love the guy!!!
    This was a wonderful compilation of his work. Thank you Barbara!