By the time of the sixth series, there were signs that this superb comedy was running out of steam. The series is just over half the length of the preceding five series, for one thing, and the focus of the comedy has moved from biting satire (the writers have since said that they'd assumed the worst excesses of government had gone once Blair et al had taken the reigns of government, and have admitted how naive they were to assume that) to sharp, brilliantly constructed portrayals of desperate characters who know they are on the scrapheap.
The tone is much darker than in previous series, but I, for one, welcome this, and believe the sixth series to be at least as good, if not better than, the fifth series, certainly in terms of characterisation. All the regulars are on fine form, from George's luck finally changing (although the eventual outcome for him is, sadly, entirely in character) through Sally's marriage to a cold, unfeeling millionaire played by Melvyn Hayes in a surprisingly hard performance, who "reminds me of my granny" (again, the eventual outcome is entirely in character), to Dave and Henry's fall-out over ethics and their eventual reconcilliation. With cameos from Letitia Dean as the airheaded bimbo of a weathergirl ("don't forget, Helen, the teenage m*sturbators of today are the television executuves of tomorrow"), David Troughton as Sir Roysten's unhappy son, and Roger Hammond as the bloated megalomaniac himself - who fails to recognise Gus, who'd spend the last eight years worshipping the ground he walked on - and high production values all round, this is well worth a look. If it fails, it is only because the bar was set so high in 'Drop the Dead Donkey''s early days, and, though shorter than other releases, the final episode alone makes this release worth buying, and any feeling of disappointment will by due to the characters' lot in life rather than any lack of quality on display.