Extras: The Complete Series 1 & 2 £5.97 @ Amazon
Extras: The Complete Series 1 & 2 £5.97 @ Amazon

Extras: The Complete Series 1 & 2 £5.97 @ Amazon

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Both series of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s triumphant Extras are united in this box, and with nothing more than a Yuletide special planned beyond these episodes, it’s a great chance to catch up with this star-packed, offbeat programme.

Unlike their previous The Office, Gervais and Merchant have delivered a less accessible but no less rewarding programme with Extras. It starts with Andy Millman, a ‘background artist’, sitting in the shadows of a variety of different shows, before, in the second series, he gets his own spot in the limelight.

What’s helped characterise the series, of course, has been the continued presence of star names in cameo roles. These range from Hollywood bigshots--Samuel L Jackson, Kate Winslet and Harry Pott.., sorry, Daniel Radcliffe--and continue through to familiar faces from British TV--step forward Les Dennis, Ross Kemp and Barry from EastEnders. Most of the plaudits, though, rightly go in the direction of the splendid Ashley Jensen, who emerges as the most likeable and rounded of all the show’s characters.

There’s little danger, it seems, that Extras will dethrone The Office from the top of its creators’ CVs, but thanks to its strong writing, its measured mix between melancholy and amusement, and some superb performances, it more than carves a very strong niche for itself. --Jon Foster
Contains series one and two of the comedy show Extras. In series one, Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais) is an actor but his agent cannot get him an acting job. Instead he is just an extra in films, a different film a different location, ever hopeful that one day he will actually get some lines. Ricky Gervais’ follow up series to the enormously successful The Office sees Gervais repeating the acute observations on real life used in The Office, this time in the world of films. Guest stars on Extras include both Hollywood actors (Ben Stiller, Kate Winslett, Samuel.L Jackson, Patrick Stewart) and actors familiar to British television viewers (Ross Kemp and Les Dennis). All the actors are more than happy to send themselves up, whether it be Patrick Stewart and his sex obsession or Kate Winslett only deciding to do a Holocaust film because she thinks she’ll win an Oscar for it. Series two of Extras finds extra Andy Millman commissioned by the BBC to create and star in the sitcom ‘When The Whistle Blows’. However, Andy’s initial happiness with his achievement is soon quelled when he finds he has to make a lowest common denominator show in order to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Andy’s sitcom has been transformed from a show that was in many ways like Gervais’ groundbreaking previous show The Office into a catchphrase-driven show that’s filmed in front of a studio audience. Additionally, he has been told that he has to wear large glasses and a curly perm wig. The second series of Extras sees Millman attempting to adjust to fame and life in the public eye and the compromises that come with. Guest stars include Robert De Niro, Orlando Bloom, David Bowie, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Jonathan Ross, Sir Ian McKellen, and Daniel Radcliffe.

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