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The Brittas Empire: season three

cast: Chris Barrie, Michael Burns, Pippa Haywood, Julia St John, and Richard Braine

creators: Richard Fegen and Andrew Norris
174 minutes (PG) 1993
Eureka DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Emily Webb
Gordon Brittas, the manager of the Whitbury Leisure Centre is back... and going from one disaster to another. This show usually provokes two reactions - love or hate. (When my husband came into the room while I was watching this series his words were, 'Get this **** off. I can't stand it!')

The Brittas Empire endured for seven series - 1991 to 1997 - and its humour is built on a single theme; the unbelievably irritating character of Gordon Brittas (played by Chris Barrie who has also appeared in Red Dwarf). In series three, Whitbury Leisure Centre is preparing to celebrate its first anniversary. Brittas gets sent to the dock accused of murder, sent to Coventry by his staff and sent a mysterious parcel containing a large dead spider.

Brittas Empire has a loyal following and series three is widely recognised in fan circles as the one where the supporting characters come into their own, instead of being merely foils to Mr Brittas. The most entertaining supporting player is Colin (Michael Burns) who plays the loyal 'deputy wet manager' and has serious personal hygiene problems (he always has hideous boils on his face).

Despite being one of the most irritating bosses in television, Brittas is a poor cousin to Ricky Gervais' David Brent and The Brittas Empire looks like so many British sitcoms from the 1990s - dated and amateurish. I didn't love this series, however it is entirely watchable; a sort-of pound-stretcher version of Fawlty Towers.

DVD extras include: Terry Wogan interview, stills gallery, game and weblinks.

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