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BBC Video presents
The Worst Week of My Life: The Complete First Season (2004)

"I know the week leading up to your wedding isn't going to be the smoothest of rides, but, ultimately, it's meant to be the best week of your life."
- Howard Steel (Ben Miller)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: February 09, 2007

Stars: Ben Miller, Sarah Alexander
Other Stars: Alison Steadman, Geoffrey Whitehead, Janine Duvitski, Raquel Cassidy, Dean Lennox Kelly, Ronald Pickup, Emma Pierson, Lizzie Roper, Paul Brooke
Director: Dan Zeff

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (sexual situations, language, brief nudity)
Run Time: 03h:19m:40s
Release Date: August 22, 2006
UPC: 794051255822
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ AB+B- C

DVD Review

The popularity of the British sit-com got a major resurgence in the US when The Office debuted on BBC America, who also brought The Worst Week of My Life to American viewers. A hilarious exercise in what-can-go-wrong-will, this wonderful albeit brief series (seven episodes—one for each day of the titular week) is making its stateside DVD debut, with an American version of the series just around the corner.

Howard Steel (Ben Miller) is a week away from marrying the gorgeous Mel (Sarah Alexander). As the week progresses, the anguish increases for the poor groom, who loses the wedding ring, has to find a new best man, and needs to avoid Cassie (Raquel Cassidy), a psychotic ex-flame who will stop at nothing to have him back. On top of that, Howard has to impress Mel's parents, Angela (Alison Steadman) and Dick (Geoffrey Whitehead), who believe that their daughter could find a much better man.

Now this is what the Meet the Parents franchise should strive to be! All of the same elements are here, including focusing on the prospective groom, and the bride's parents being of a higher class than his. The major difference between the two storylines is in the chemistry that this British cast shares with each other. Miller and Alexander are one of the more believable married couples you'll see on screen. Alexander in particular does a fine job conveying just the right amount of shock and dismay to fit the specific situation that her fiancée has gotten himself into. The audience is never truly frustrated that nothing goes right for Howard, as it's clear he isn't the bumbling idiot that most of his ilk turn out to be.

Miller and Alexander are surrounded by a great cast; each supporting actor portrays his or her character as just quirky enough to be memorable. Steadman and Whitehead are perfect parents-of-the-bride, while Ronald Pickup steals every scene he's in as Fraser, a wily war veteran with a huge secret. Cassidy plays Howard's crazy stalker with such brilliant conviction that we're often torn between feeling sorry for her and being scared out of our minds. Even the smallest of characters shine, whether it's the eccentric "new" best man Dom (Dean Lennox Kelly), Howard's new stripper stepmom, Trish (Lizzie Roper), or the poor Vicar (Paul Brooke)—this is the ultimate in sit-com writing and casting.

With each episode representing one day of this particular week, we get something new and original during each half hour. It's not that the wedding ring gets lost but how it gets lost and where it eventually winds up that's so memorable. We've also seen pets meet an untimely fate in stories like this, but the manner in which this poor canine goes to doggie heaven is incredibly funny. Having things broken up by day is a brilliant move also, giving us a better idea of the time frame that Howard has to work with to fix all of his problems. Despite the narrow scope of this first week, Howard and Mel's story has become a full-blown series, now in its third season. After enjoying every minute of Season One, I can't wait to give the subsequent shows a spin when they hit DVD.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is surprisingly rich with color and image detail. Shadow and contrast levels are also handled well throughout, and there's very little in the form of dirt, grain, or other print flaws.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: There's nothing flashy at all about this Dolby Digital 2.0 mix, but it suits the material just fine. Everything stays up front for the most part, but the music does spread to the rear speakers occasionally. No problems to report with the crystal clear dialogue either.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 42 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Coupling: Season 3, BBC America
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Interviews
  2. Outtakes
Extras Review: We get a couple of extras and some previews, including nearly 15 minutes of interviews with the cast and crew, as well as four minutes of hilarious outtakes. Both of these segments are well worth a look, but the outtakes are a must-see.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

The Worst Week of My Life: The Complete First Season is another example of just how funny British comedy can be. With a streamlined story and cast of characters that are easy to emotionally invest in, this series' first seven episodes are well worth a look. BBC's disc offers a couple of supplements, as well as solid audio and video.


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