Yet, the series could easily have been cancelled when ITV viewers failed to respond to the original version, which featured Clunes sharing his flat with someone named Dermot, played by Harry Enfield. Indeed, it was only when the third series moved to the BBC and was then broadcast in a post-watershed slot--allowing writer Simon Nye greater freedom to explore his characters' saucier ruminations--that the show began to gain a significant audience.
By then, of course, Morrissey had become firmly ensconced on the collective pizza-stained sofa, while more screen time was allocated to the boys' respective foils, Caroline Quentin and Leslie Ash. Often glibly dismissed as a lame-brained succession of gags about sex and flatulence, the later series not only featured great performances and sharp-as-nails writing but also sported a contemporary attitude that dared to go where angels, and certainly most other sitcoms, feared to tread. Or, as Gary was once moved to comment about soft-porn lesbian epic Love in a Women's Prison: "It's a serious study of repressed sexuality in a pressure-cooker environment."
Series 2 includes: "Gary and Tony", in which Tony moves into the Gary's flat and makes his first disastrous attempt to woo upstairs-neighbour Deborah; "Rent Boy" in which Gary thinks Tony is gay; "How to Bump Your Girlfriend" in which no sooner has Tony got back together with his old girlfriend and filled her in about Gary ("nice bloke, ears like the FA Cup") than he decides to give her the shove; "Troublesome Twelve Inch" in which Gary tries to sell a rare record belonging to Dorothy without her knowing; "Going Nowhere" in which Tony buys a van to impress Deborah who in turn gets stuck in a lift with Gary; and "People Behaving Irritatingly" in which Tony's brother and missus visit the flat much to Gary's annoyance ("It's not enough that they were at it all last night, now they're trying to set up a national sperm bank in my bath.) --Clark Collis