Series four ended with Mark and Sophie's disastrous wedding and the end of their relationship. As the pair finally return to work after their none-honeymoon, Mark starts to try and shake off the bad publicity that appears to be surrounding him. Unfortunately, Sophie has more friends at the office and no matter where Mark goes he's tracked by evil eyes the sound of tutting. But, unlike Sophie, he can't turn on the tears and things are starting to get uncomfortable. However, after Sophie smashes his coffee mug, Mark finds someone on his side and Johnson instructs Sophie to take some time off.
With Sophie out of the way, Mark can start afresh and begin his all new quest for "the one". His radar soon homes in on Dobby, the new girl in the IT department whose geeky hobbies and interests match Mark's to the letter. As is the usual case with Mark, he dithers and continually ponders, but he eventually asks Dobby out on a date and to the club (the aptly named "F*ck Bunker") where Jeremy and Super Hans are performing (or should that be trying to perform). Although the night starts off well, we have to remember that this is Mark, and the date soon comes crashing to an end when they find a dishevelled, and vomiting, Sophie in the toilets who drops Dobby a major bombshell by revealing that she is Mark's wife.
Meanwhile, Jeremy's apparent never ending supply of money has finally run out. Living off the money his mother had been giving him (not that he gave Mark any towards running the flat) he continues to stubbornly refuse to get a job - living in the forlorn hope that his music career will finally take off. Even when his great-aunt dies his expected inheritance fails to materialise with his mother refusing to give him any more money - instead spending it on her self. Unfortunately, with yet another Jeremy family argument, Mark's ambitions to write the military biography of Jeremy's mother's boyfriend are holed below the waterline.
Sick of Jeremy, Mark attempts to replace him with Saz - an Australian woman he met whilst speed dating. Naturally, with Mark's luck, Saz ends up as a rather rowdy person who simply pretends to like him for a free place to live. Out on his ear, Jeremy asks Big Suze if he can stay with her, and while at her house, he steals Johnson's credit card (did I mention she's seeing him now?!) and promptly goes on a shopping spree. Unfortunately (there's that word again!) Jeremy is not the cleverest of fraudsters and Johnson catches Jeremy red handed - leaving Mark to pick up the financial pieces again. So, with a promotion, a sacking, a religious cult and a pregnancy ahead of us, it's just another day in the weird life of Mark and Jeremy.
No doubt still filmed on a rather tight budget, and with an array of handheld Digital Video cameras super-glued to their heads (well, ok, probably not), the picture quality isn't really anything special. Never the less, I'm still not complaining as it continues to be consistent and it's not up against any mega budget Hollywood blockbuster (although, horrors of horrors, there are advanced plans for American version of the series). Also, given that the majority of the camerawork is via their tight angled and unique "Point Of View" filming it's hardly surprising. Still, at least there's no evidence of print damage or any major issues with outlining and pixelisation.
As with their previous DVD outings, and due to the continual bandwidth limitations of terrestrial television broadcasts, there is very little to be expected from the Peep Show sound department. Still, the 256Kbps Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is more than sufficient for its needs and the all important dialogue department is kept crisp and clear whilst the musical score remains its catchy self as usual. Overall, it's nothing special, but it's something that is to be expected from a television series such as this.
The menu system is carried over from the previous DVD releases with scored and animated menus at each level along with various cut scenes playing in the background. However, unlike the previous releases, there are no audio commentaries. I guess the boy's are a little busier these days, but that's still no excuse not to give the fans something extra - especially since they tended to be the highlight of the extras. Never the less, there's still some good extras on offer with the rather amusing Relationship Tree being the best of the bunch.
Starting off with the thirteen minute Relationship Tree featurette, Sophie is on hand to narrate and help reveal the worrying trends in Mark and Jeremy's relationships. With some startling revelations throughout the five series, I'm sure the two (and others!) would prefer we'd forget they ever happened. Next up is the ten minute Sophie's Peep Show featurette. In it, we get to see series five through Sophie's eyes with her own internal monologue. Needless to say, her inner thoughts are just as bad as Mark's and Jeremy's - and who would have thought that?!
In the ten minute Behind the Scenes featurette Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong talk about the series and how they went about writing the show. With plenty of clips from the series, plus some good behind-the-scenes footage of the group going through a script read through and rehearsal, it's a good look at how the show is put together. However, from then on things go a little down hill with the rather pointless Deleted Scenes. For such a classy series as this you would have thought a few more scenes would have been available than the paltry two on offer here. Running for a mere two minutes, there's an extended scene in which Mark helps Sophie out of the F*ck Bunker whilst the other is a scene in which a rather hungry Jeremy returns to the Sperm Clinic to claim a half eaten sandwich.
Even though fans of the series will be a little disappointed with the extras - especially the lack of audio commentaries on the episodes, the comedy content more than makes up for it. With a series that continues to develop with even more possibilities than the last, it's hardly surprising that Peep Show keeps gaining more fans and even more BAFTA awards along the way. I've mentioned it before in other reviews, but Channel Four really do have a knack of finding and nurturing classic comedy (Father Ted, Spaced and Black Books instantly springs to mind) and Peep Show pretty much tops that list which, considering I received the very first series on DVD to review without ever hearing of it, is all the more remarkable.
Peep Show is a cracking comedy show. It's wacky, it's hilarious and, after the major disappointment of series four, it's back on track with probably the best of the five series to date. Here's to (the already commissioned) series six and many more beyond. Highly recommended.
- Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
- Peep Show Relationship Tree
- Deleted Scenes
- Sophie's Point of View