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Mr. Benn will summon many fond memories for some, and perhaps, like myself, confuse others as to what exactly it is. It was way before my time, but sitting though these fourteen delightful episodes – that all together make up the complete adventures of this character – was magnificent.

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Series


At first glance, the animation seemed to be very low-key and even a little babyish, but upon further inspection I found it to carry an age-old charm only a series of this nature could wield. It made me cast my memory back to reading those illustrated books primary-school teachers would hand out way back in the days of my childhood. And while Mr. Benn might be thirty years old, from what I can tell it hasn’t lost its original gift of telling good, fantastical and utterly wonderful children’s tales.

As stated above, Mr. Benn is made up of fourteen episodes, each narrated by Ray Brooks. Each episode lasts for around fifteen minutes, and every single one involves the character venturing into his local costume shop at the start. From there, he is magically transported to a different era or setting for a brand new adventure.

The first episode, entitled ‘The Red Knight’, sees Mr. Benn donning a suit of red armour. When he enters this land of magic and sorcery, he stumbles into a depressed green dragon he feels committed to help. Another episode sees Mr. Benn travelling to the time of the cavemen, another to the far reaches of outer space. After a few episodes, you quickly begin to realize that this show is very formulaic, but it has a rare and unique gift to be able to please just about anyone, regardless of age.

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Video


The video quality does vary somewhat, as the early episodes look quite gritty and old, and the newer ones look a little cleaner and modern. Even so, the video isn’t amazing. Noise is present in large quantities and across every single episode. Some of the animation also looks quite muddy and blur. In saying that however, the colours have been well preserved, and even though they look a little gritty at times, they are still pretty to look at nonetheless.

Audio


The Dolby Digital Mono score for Mr. Benn is actually a pretty decent one. Dialogue is predictably muffled and dull-sounding on the whole though, but everything else remains audible for the most part. Ray Brooks is a great narrator, and all that really matters is that his voice is clear enough to enjoy – in that, this DVD certainly does succeed.

Extras


The only special feature on the disc is the fourteenth episode, entitled’ The Gladiator’, which was filmed last year sometime. That’s your lot I am afraid. So all of those who are to buy this DVD for the sake of nostalgia, you might be somewhat let down by the lack of extra features and material. What’s worse, I am not even sure I smell a special edition coming either. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. But for now, this is all you’re getting. Don’t shoot the messenger.

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Overall


Mr. Benn is simply great entertainment. While for most it will be like a sweet trip down memory lane, I can probably see it gaining some new followers with this DVD release. Though the audio and visual elements are not the best, and the disc lacks any real bonus features, the content from all fourteen episodes shines though rather nicely.


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