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  1. #1
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Instead of asking

    Originally posted by samkydd@May 10 2005, 01:22 PM

    The half hour sit com has been an integral part of British TV and radio life for yonks, and we all have our favourites from The Glums to The Office. But which ones should never have made it into our homes in the first place?

    Why don't we be a bit more positive and ask which are the best sit coms?



    I expect the classics like Flowery Twats will get plenty of votes. But which are your secret pleasures? The ones nobody else seems to like, or know about.



    I've just been watching some of the re-runs of Dinnerladies on UK Gold and that's one that always makes me laugh. But then again it is written by Victoria Wood so I'd expect no less.



    I suppose my secret pleasure would probably have to be Nightingales (1990) with Robert Lindsay, David Threlfall & James Ellis written by Paul Makin.



    To quote (my own review) from the IMDb

    Three disparate characters are nightwatchmen in an office block somewhere in Britain. Their night life is surreal to say the least. Anything can happen from a friendly werewolf performing open heart surgery on one of them to an allegorical Mary who turns up pregnant at their door on Christmas Eve.
    There was a fourth guard called Mr Smith who was a corpse sitting in the office. He had died three years before and the rest of the guards were dividing up his pay packet.



    Steve

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK Freddy's Avatar
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    Cheers for this Steve 'cause we are good occasionally so here goes



    Rising Damp with Leonard Rossiter

    Ffizz with Richard Griffiths

    I Didn't know You Cared with Robin Bailey

    Sorry I'm a Stranger Here Myself with Robin Bailey

    Ever Decreasing Circles with Peter Egan

    Chance in a Million with Simon Callow

    Life Without George with Simon Cadell (sadly now not with us)



    Freddy

  3. #3
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Freddy@May 12 2005, 12:57 AM

    Cheers for this Steve 'cause we are good occasionally so here goes



    Rising Damp with Leonard Rossiter

    Ffizz with Richard Griffiths

    I Didn't know You Cared with Robin Bailey

    Sorry I'm a Stranger Here Myself with Robin Bailey

    Ever Decreasing Circles with Peter Egan

    Chance in a Million with Simon Callow

    Life Without George with Simon Cadell (sadly now not with us)



    Freddy

    I'll always second a vote for Ever Decreasing Circles with such a perfect cast and great scripts.



    And I loved Chance in a Million as well. Our first introduction to Simon Callow & Brenda Blethyn. A quite subtle script on that one. Tom Chance wasn't unlucky, he was plagued by coincidences



    Steve

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: UK Freddy's Avatar
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    Totally Agree Steve.



    For the life of me I can't understand why it hasn't been repeated. I loved the one with Marc Sinden as the trumpet player which ended up with SC and BB recreating High Society in the boat parked outside the house as True Love played.



    AS for Fawlty Towers and the anagram I wonder which came first. One of those times when you were glad you weren't watching it with your parents.



    Freddy

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Originally posted by SteveCrook@May 11 2005, 11:47 PM

    Instead of asking

    Why don't we be a bit more positive and ask which are the best sit coms?



    I expect the classics like Flowery Twats will get plenty of votes. But which are your secret pleasures? The ones nobody else seems to like, or know about.



    I've just been watching some of the re-runs of Dinnerladies on UK Gold and that's one that always makes me laugh. But then again it is written by Victoria Wood so I'd expect no less.



    I suppose my secret pleasure would probably have to be Nightingales (1990) with Robert Lindsay, David Threlfall & James Ellis written by Paul Makin.



    To quote (my own review) from the IMDbIMDb

    There was a fourth guard called Mr Smith who was a corpse sitting in the office. He had died three years before and the rest of the guards were dividing up his pay packet.



    * * Steve

    Well they had the greatest sitcoms on TV a while back, and as that awful Vicar of Dibley crap was ranked quite highly, I thought that it would be more interesting discussing which were the very worst!



    The best for me has to be Hancock, Steptoe & Son, Dad's Army, Fawlty Towers, and The Office, and of those I'd say that Dad's Army stands the test of time. I can watch it over and over and still find it very funny! It's not so much the scripts (and I don't like Jones' catchphrases) it's the interplay between them all, and Arthur Lowe's wonderful character.



    One "new comedy" (a term the BBC usually use when the programme they're about to broadcast is new but not very funny) is Early Doors which is terrific!



    I wrote a TV comedy play once in the mid 80s, and Thames were interested in it, but as a sitcom. Unfortunately they wanted me to break it up into self contained episodes, then re-write it to fit their ITV format; formulate it to take into account advert breaks, only one outside sequence allowed per episode, minimum of scene changes etc because at the time the budget for one episode was around £30,000, and it had to be well within that.



    Now for an inexperienced writer like me it was a tall order, and I found it technically very difficult to do and they weren't offering any assistance. It took me six months to re-do in my spare time, every night, and then someone else there read it and quite rightly rejected it, because in its new sitcom format it was bloody awful (even for an ITV channel)! I should have taken it to a Film 4 type film maker because as a one off low budget film it might have worked okay!



    So whenever I see a good sitcom I realise how much hard work has gone into it, and whenever I see a bad one I fail to understand how it managed to get produced and on the air in the first place!

  6. #6
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    1 Only Fools and Horses

    2 Dad's Army

    3 Fawlty Towers

    4 Steptoe and Son

    5 The Good Life

    6 Citizen Smith

    7 Anything with Ronnie Barker

    8 Ever Decreasing Circles

    9 Surgical Spirit

    10 Watching

    Ta Ta

    Marky B

  7. #7
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    Back in the 80's I used to really enjoy "Sorry !" with Ronnie Corbett. It was quite surreal at times. Ran for about 7 years but as far as I know the BBC has never repeated it on a terrestrial channel.



    It was one of those that you loved or hated, and I can quite easily see it figuring in somebodies worst list.



    And another classic which just popped into me head - "Brass". There was some real talent involved in that. Some of the jokes were very subtle indeed.



    S.P.D.

    Keir Hardies cap.

    Fathers 25 year old bottle of Glen Hoddle

  8. #8
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Marky B@May 12 2005, 12:53 PM

    1 Only Fools and Horses

    2 Dad's Army

    3 Fawlty Towers

    4 Steptoe and Son

    5 The Good Life

    6 Citizen Smith

    7 Anything with Ronnie Barker

    8 Ever Decreasing Circles

    9 Surgical Spirit

    10 Watching

    Ta Ta

    Marky B

    Nice to see Ever Decreasing Circles get another mention.

    And yes, Watching was another delight, especially the earlier episodes. an unlikely cast but they worked very well.



    Steve

  9. #9
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    Watching was something quite unique on television,along with Surgical Spirit it was an ITV sitcom that was actually funny. I always enjoyed Emma Wray's wisecracking scouser,an extrovert who was in love with the mild mannered PaulBown. The programme introduced us to Liza Tarbuck and the ever dependable John Bowler (now PC Roger Valentine in The Bill). Also a delight was Patsy Byrne.

    Ta Ta

    Marky B

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    The best for me have mostly been mentioned; classics like Hancock, Steptoe, Dad's Army, Likely Lads, Fawlty Towers, Only Fools, One Foot in the Grave and The Office.



    Phoenix Nights and Black Books are a couple of recent ones I've enjoyed. Black Books brings me to Dylan Moran who starred in a short-lived BBC2 comedy called How Do You Want Me with Frank Finlay and Charlotte Coleman (of Four Weddings and a Funeral) who sadly died in her 30s. One of the most underrated of recent years imho.

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by DB7@May 12 2005, 02:31 PM

    The best for me have mostly been mentioned; classics like Hancock, Steptoe, Dad's Army, Likely Lads, Fawlty Towers, Only Fools, One Foot in the Grave and The Office.



    Phoenix Nights and Black Books are a couple of recent ones I've enjoyed. Black Books brings me to Dylan Moran who starred in a short-lived BBC2 comedy called How Do You Want Me with Frank Finlay and Charlotte Coleman (of Four Weddings and a Funeral) who sadly died in her 30s. One of the most underrated of recent years imho.

    I've remembered a surprisingly good C4 one from about 20 years or so ago, Chance in a Million with Simon Callow and Brenda Blethyn. It was an off beat sitcom where incredible co-incidences occurred to the main character, Tom Chance, who was a cross between Frank Spencer and Boris Johnson!. I only saw it on its first outing and I've never seen it advertised on the repeat channels.



    NB. I've just asked Channel 4 if they'll consider repeating it.



    Shelley too, starring Hywel Bennett was fairly enjoyable (ITV as well) in its early series and the last one when he was on his own again. Very dated now of course, and it was guilty of Groucho Marx and Oscar Wilde witty retort syndrome, but it did suit the era it was made which was the first years of Thatcherism. Many of the supporting cast were good actors; Kenneth Cope, Josephine Tewson, John Barron.



    I saw that Nightingales one Steve mentioned and it was quite good. Another one I was very entertained by was Dear Ladies with Hinge and Bracket. I was fortunate enough to see this talented duo live a few years ago in a pier theatre.

  12. #12
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    Has everyone forgotten Man About The House, or am I the only twat that laughs at double ententres? (Bear in mind I'll cry if any one says that!!)

  13. #13
    Super Moderator Country: Fiji
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    Nope - I enjoyed MATH too ! Esp Sally Thomsett !



    SMUDGE

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Diane Blackwell@May 20 2005, 01:53 PM

    am I the only twat that laughs at double ententres?

    Language,Diane,language.

    Ta Ta

    Marky B

  15. #15
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Diane Blackwell@May 20 2005, 02:53 PM

    Has everyone forgotten Man About The House, or am I the only twat that laughs at double ententres? (Bear in mind I'll cry if any one says that!!)

    A woman walked into a bar and asked the barman for a double entendre

    - so he gave her one !



    :clap:



    Steve

  16. #16
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    OK back on topic with my contender for Best Sitcom......(drum roll).....



    Dad's Army



    Not an original suggestion I realise, but the combination of writing, acting and direction from all involved makes this just sublime, over a period of a number of years. There are just so many themes one could discuss: the interplay between Mainwaring and Wilson (inspired casting, reversing the stereotype officer/non officer roles); the fact that I still come across people who have the characteristics of a Godfrey; or a Corporal Jones, or a Pike; the way the "small town" feeling was captured so perfectly; the way it worked very well on radio as well as TV etc etc



    Also, it stands repeated viewings, even though they become very familiar - and it's now very popular with a younger generation: my 12 year old son adores it!



    It's quite good as well....



    rgds

    Rob

  17. #17
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    The Young Ones

    Slapstick performances and surreal interludes. Some great writing from Ben Elton, Rick Mayall, Lise Mayer and Alexei Sayle. The latter providing some classic moments such as, “Italian revolutionary biscuits rise up out of your tin.?



    The only down side being that for years during the eighties there were countless wags quoting “Oh, have you got a video?? on spotting your VCR.

  18. #18
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    Originally posted by Rob Compton@May 20 2005, 08:57 PM

    OK back on topic with my contender for Best Sitcom......(drum roll).....



    Dad's Army



    Not an original suggestion I realise, but the combination of writing, acting and direction from all involved makes this just sublime, over a period of a number of years. There are just so many themes one could discuss: the interplay between Mainwaring and Wilson (inspired casting, reversing the stereotype officer/non officer roles); the fact that I still come across people who have the characteristics of a Godfrey; or a Corporal Jones, or a Pike; the way the "small town" feeling was captured so perfectly; the way it worked very well on radio as well as TV etc etc



    Also, it stands repeated viewings, even though they become very familiar - and it's now very popular with a younger generation: my 12 year old son adores it!



    It's quite good as well....



    rgds

    Rob

    I agree,Rob. What I have always said about Dad's Army,is not so much its scripts which were funny,but the cast and characters. It was arguably the best company put together for the small screen. Arthur Lowe as the pompous Mainwaring,belittling his sergeant,knowing jealously he was of better officer material than he's ever be;Clive Dunn asthe ever brave Corporal Jones,willing to put his life to the test for his captain,and offering ladies an extra sausage against rationing rules;John Laurie as Private Frazer,his rolling eyes and his rolling Scot's accent preaching doom;Ian Lavender as the innocent,naive Pikey,the youngest of them all,but who needs a long scarf and sucking his thumb when the Nazi peril is crossing the channel;the kindly Arthur Ridley as Godfrey,who in the event of Nazi invasion,would forever be hostage to his bladder;Bill Pertwee as ARP warden Hodges,who I swore had all the characteristics the lads would have to fight against in the event of invasion;the verger and the vicar,indignant that the church was used for the practice of war;however,who can ever forget Le Mesurier as the benign,but calm Wilson: "Do you think that's wise,sir". Ladies' man (father of Frank Pike?) and WWI officer and hero,a gentleman beyond the call of duty.

    I doubt,if such a programme was to be made,you could ever get such a cast together (I mean with new actors). Despite all the current plethora of "Bollocks of the Glen" type programme,Dad's Army effortlessly always brought us the England we know no more,that some of us would wish to meet again,and the England that the real Dad's Army would have died for to preserve.

    Ta Ta

    Marky B

  19. #19
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Well he did the short lived Terry and Julian (1992) where he effectively played himself. Do you think he could take a minor role in a sitcom?



    Steve

  20. #20
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    I don't recall that at all! Sigh... another one that got by me.

    You didn't miss much. Julian played a flamboyant Channel 4 celebrity - effectively himself. Sharing a flat in London with a straight flat-mate. The flat-mate's girlfriend used to pop in every so often to be insulted by Julian. Other regulars were people like Russell Churney from Julian's Sticky Moments game show.



    Steve

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