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Extras Series 2 (Feat. Chris Martin) DVD Release


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THE AWARD WINNING COMEDY SERIES ON DVD

DOUBLE DISC OF SERIES TWO RELEASED ON

MONDAY 26TH MARCH 2007

 

As previously reported, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant co creators of the multi award winning BBC series Extras, launch the double disc DVD of series two, complete with exclusive extra clips, including behind the scenes footage, a video diary and lots more unseen exclusives. The double disc DVD will be available from Monday 26th March 2007. The box set of series one and two is also available from Monday 26th March 2007. For more information go to http://www.rickygervais.com

 

In series one Extras brought to life the mundane tedium of the life of Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais). Andy was a desperate man. He’d been an actor for five years but thanks to his useless agent (Stephen Merchant), he’d never done any acting. Instead he was just a lowly film extra, walking around in the background while the stars did their lines.

 

All that soon changed in series two, when Andy’s script “When the Whistle Blows” was produced by the BBC and put in front of a main stream audience. Despite his burgeoning success, Andy is still surrounded by the usual cast of idiots: his hapless best-friend Maggie (Ashley Jensen), his incompetent agent Darren Lamb (Stephen Merchant) and ‘Barry off EastEnders’ (Shaun Williamson).

 

Each episode features cameos from guest stars including Chris Martin, Ben Stiller, Samuel L Jackson, Orlando Bloom, David Bowie and Robert de Niro.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Havin a laugh - on us

 

extrass2dvd.jpg

 

Win signed Extras DVDs

 

The second series of Extras is released on double DVD today – and we have three signed copies to give away.

 

The release includes extra clips, including behind the scenes footage, a video diary and lots more unseen exclusives, as well as every episode in the series.

 

Series two saw Ricky Gervais’s hapless actor Andy Millman finally secure the sitcom he had hoped for – When The Whistle Blows – but is then forced into making uncomfortable compromises at the behest of the producers.

 

Also starring co-creator Stephen Merchant, Ashley Jensen) and Shaun Williamson, each episode features cameos from guest stars including Chris Martin, Ben Stiller, Samuel L Jackson, Orlando Bloom, David Bowie and Robert de Niro.

 

Series two sells for £21.99 – with a box set of both series also released today for £27.99.

 

Click here to watch a clip:

 

http://www.chortle.co.uk/about/2007/03/26/5173/>http://ukpress.waytoblue.com/media/video/extras_series2_clip5_330k.ram

 

And to stand a chance of winning your own signed copy, just answer the question below by April 9, when the winners will be chosen from all correct answers received.

 

The DVD is certificate 15, so you must be older than this to enter, and bulk entries from mailing services will be disqualified.

 

Good luck!

 

Who called Extras: ‘The finest sitcom ever crafted since the cosmos was created. Except for mine'?

 

Enter at http://www.chortle.co.uk/about/2007/03/26/5173/havin_a_laugh_-_on_us

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Extras – read all about it

 

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You could be forgiven for thinking a series about a wannabe actor whose useless agent only ever got him walk on roles would not be the most compulsive viewing – but how wrong you’d be.

 

Add in the fact it’s written by and stars Reading-born Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and it begins to make sense.

 

Reading Alive caught up with Gervais to talk about the series which has been knocking them dead from here to Hollywood.

 

In series one, Extras brought to life the mundane tedium of the life of Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais). Andy was a desperate man. He had been an actor for five years, but thanks to his useless agent (Stephen Merchant), he had never done any acting. Instead, he was just a lowly film extra, walking around in the background while the stars did their lines.

 

In the second run of this exquisitely wrought, bittersweet comedy, Andy is catapulted from the obscurity and misery of a life as a supporting artist to the relative celebrity of writing and starring in his own mainstream sitcom, When the Wind Blows. Despite the commercial success of the sitcom, however, Andy still feels deeply dissatisfied. Fame and fortune have not lived up to their promise; they have not made him a more fulfiled person.

 

To make matters worse, he is still lumbered with his hapless best friend and former fellow extra, Maggie (Ashley Jensen), his disastrously incompetent agent Darren (Merchant), and the luckless ‘Barry off EastEnders’ (Shaun Williamson). For all his overnight celebrity and his supposed entourage of famous pals, Andy is still very much stuck in the B Team. The series features many of Andy’s heroes, such as Robert De Niro, David Bowie, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Diana Rigg, Daniel Radcliffe, Robert Lindsay and Jonathan Ross, but he is still left feeling “is that it?”

 

Ricky, who broke through onto the stellar level when he and Stephen created the global phenomenon that is The Office in 2001, is delighted that fans will now be able to enjoy the second series of Extras on DVD. “Stephen and I love doing the extras for Extras,” beams Ricky, who is currently in the midst of a massively successful stand-up tour of his new show Fame.

 

“We always put a huge effort in to making them, and this time we’ve made special hour-long programmes featuring interviews with the guest stars and us corpsing!

 

“But my favourite is a programme about the different ways in which I torment our editor, Nigel Williams. Nigel is my muse, and he’s prepared to do anything. In one sequence, I tie him to a machine; it’s like one of those experiments they used to try in institutions during the 1950s before they got stopped on grounds of cruelty! I couldn’t even get away with that with my radio producer, Karl Pilkington. He’d say, ‘alright, that’s enough’. When I wanted to paint Karl’s head orange and put it in a fruit bowl, he wouldn’t do it. But Nigel would be up for that!”

 

Ricky, who with Stephen and Karl has recently produced a series of immensely popular podcasts, remains very grateful that his work attracts such a devoted following.

 

“We adore the fact that because the DVD extras are not for broadcast, we can leave in bits that might seem self-indulgent or only directed at a few people. We know some sections will only be for a few fans, but we also know that they’ll love it.

 

“It’s like the programmes themselves: I’d rather make something that is the favourite show of one million than the fifth favourite show of ten million. Anything artistic is about making a connection, and Stephen and I have always tried to do that. We make our programmes for like-minded people. We also make them on our own terms and we are never interfered with. Fans know they’re some of the very few who are bothering to watch these extras and I really like that.”

 

Ricky, who has recently taken co-starring roles in the hit movies Night at the Museum and For Your Consideration, goes on to describe what happens to Andy in this second series.

 

“Andy gets to peek behind the curtain at the lives of the famous, but is sorely disappointed to find that his life remains exactly the same. It’s about people who are unhappy with their lot. They crave something different, but once they enter the magical land of fame, they realise that absolutely nothing’s changed.

 

“Andy is disappointed because fame does not give him what he was promised. Now he’s a little bit famous, why isn’t the phone ringing all the time? And why isn’t he at the top of the pile? You can never be famous enough. As soon as you get it, you start looking at other people and thinking ‘his trailer is bigger than mine – it’s not fair’. That’s what Andy thinks. It was the same set-up in The Office; you’re always disgruntled that someone has got a bigger chair than you.

 

“The idea of desperately seeking fame is all about ego, and people saying ‘love me or I’ll kill myself’. People who want to be rich and famous think it’s a direct route to happiness. They think it’ll solve everything, but of course it solves nothing.”

 

Like all the best British sitcoms, from Hancock and Dad’s Army to Fawlty Towers and I’m Alan Partridge, Extras is about losers rather than winners. Ricky underlines that it is vital for the comic impact of the show that Andy and his cohorts ultimately don’t succeed.

 

“In comedy, you want someone stumbling on stage and telling you his life is rubbish,” said Ricky.

 

“You can admire cool comedians, but you can’t love them or hug them like we want to hug Oliver Hardy or Johnny Vegas. Comic characters should be precarious.

 

“You care about Stan and Olly because you want to stop them falling backwards off that wall. In the same way, you can’t help warming to Woody Allen when he asks a girl, ‘what are you doing on Saturday night?’, ‘Committing suicide’, ‘What about Friday?’, He’s so desperate, he’ll make do with someone who wants to kill herself!”

 

Andy’s close acquaintance with failure is one of many elements that makes him such a plausible character.

 

“Real characters have the familiarity of an old pair of slippers,” Ricky reckons.

 

“It’s nice to dress up occasionally, but we all prefer the comfort of our slippers. We smile whenever Andy walks in.

 

“The big challenge of a second series is to keep the elements people loved about the first while moving things on. The good thing about sitcoms is that they’re always the same and you know what you’re getting. So for the second series of Extras, we created a narrative arc, developed the characters and gave them moral dilemmas.

 

“So Andy has taken the sitcom and now regrets it. That’s just like life. People come to a crossroads, not once but 50 times. There are thousands of different ways to live a life, and things can turn on a sixpence. You can be on top of the world one day, then wake up the next morning and find a lump. There is always something new for us to explore, but we always want to keep it believable. We don’t want the characters to discover that they’ve got a twin they never knew about or that their house is built over an ancient Native American burial ground.”

 

Very encouragingly for the millions of Extras fans out there, Ricky is not ruling out the possibility of further installments.

 

He said: “The Americans are gagging for a third series. The cachet is very high now, and it feels like we could get anyone we want. It would be a good time to do another.

 

“We’ve got an idea for a special, and it would be nice to tie up all the loose ends. But that would certainly be the last of extras.”

 

As always though, Ricky would be extremely careful about which stars they choose.

 

“If you just get someone for the ‘ooo, look who it is’ factor, that dates very quickly,” he observes.

 

“We’re asking people to play original characters around their personas or the opposite of their personas. It’s not just a case of dressing up for Comic Relief and thinking ‘it doesn’t really count’.

 

“Viewers have got to be able to get who these stars are in five years’ time. We wouldn’t invite on Big Brother winners or pop stars no one will remember in five years. I think after 91 films, Samuel L Jackson will be ok, and I reckon David Bowie is safe. I think people might just about know who he is next year!”

 

Extras Series 2, double disc set (£21.99) certificate 15, and Extras Series 1 and 2 box set (£27.99) certificate 15 are out now.

 

http://www.getreading.co.uk/entertainment/comedy/2009/2009181/extras__read_all_about_it

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  • 3 months later...

Extras - Season Two DVD Review

 

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During the first season of Extras, Andy Millman struggled as a background actor who could never seem to catch a professional break. Extras: Season Two takes this basic idea and changes directions just a bit. This season picks up as Andy is preparing his first starring role in "When the Whistle Blows" a sitcom he also wrote. Throughout this season Andy is on set shooting his new sitcom, dealing with the notoriety that goes with being on a national television show. He has gone from being a dumb wannabe to an up-and-coming TV star. His friend Maggie and his agent Darren are both back to add to themes.

 

Even though I dogged Extras: Season One in an earlier review, thanks to Season Two, Extras has become one of the funniest seasons for a television. Extras: Season One felt like a show built around the gag that each episode would include a famous cameo. The gag was successful if the actor understood the rationale for their cameo (e.g. Kate Winslet) and abysmal if the actor just didn't get it (e.g. Ben Stiller and Samuel L. Jackson). Extras: Season Two has a much better selection of star cameos; particularly, because the actors know what to do and their roles are better prepared. So, to begin with, the core idea for the show is in a much better position.

 

In addition to recruiting better costars, Extras: Season Two has immeasurably funnier situations for the cast to deal with. Instead of being stuck in on-set calamities, many of the funniest scenes occur beyond the scope of a television set. Episode 2 has the gang out at a bar fending off Andy's new found fame as well as David Bowie ridiculing "the funny fat man". In Episode 4 Andy and his agent have quite a crazy time at the BAFTA Awards, especially when trying to explain their drug use in an award show bathroom. Finally, in Episode 5 Andy gets some stage work with Sir Ian McKellan that is a bit more homo-erotic than he was ready to accept. These three situations all happen outside of the set and add just the right amount of variety to the show.

 

One of the other changes that has bolstered the show is the expanded use of Stephen Merchant and Shaun Williamson. Merchant is Andy's agent (Darren Lamb) and Shaun plays himself (as Darren's assistant and client). The duo add a completely new level of bits, gags, and situations. Whether it is Darren's inability to refer to his client by his real name (he calls Shaun "Barry from EastEnders") or Shaun's puppy dog-like sadness, the two guys support the show's subtle shift from arrogant smart-ass comedy to a much smarter (sometimes slower) blend of comedy.

 

Also, the addition of a show-within-a-show gag is a stroke of genius. While "When the Whistle Blows" starts as quite a sad gag of a sitcom, I found myself interested in seeing the fake show in full length form. Having Gervais mock the sitcom genre while completely reveling in it is consistently hysterical. And then, to invite Chris Martin from Coldplay to pretend to sell himself out is beyond genius. The idea of a show-within-a-show is very difficult to pull off and the work in Extras: Season Two should be textbook for anyone looking to explore this genre.

 

Overall, Extras: Season Two finally lives up to the potential of The Office and Gervais & Merchant's work online (they co-host the funniest podcast ever made). There isn't a single weak episode in the set and well worth buying. The bonus features include six episodes of interviews that are perfect fit for fans of Gervais & Merchant's podcasts. The other bonus features are nice but it is really the interviews that make buying this DVD worthwhile.

 

http://www.the-trades.com/article.php?id=5700

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