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Must-see 70's BBC comedy,
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This review is from: The Very Best Of Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads [DVD]  (DVD)
Throughout the 70's, BBC was prolific in it's production of comedies. From 'Last of the summer wine' to 'Are you being served?' it was a laugh-a-minute. Amongst that was 'Whatever'.
Following on from the earlier 'The Likely Lads', Clement and La Frenais proceeded to write another 27 episodes and a feature film. Long before 'Men behaving badly' had been dreamt up, us Geordies had Bob and Terry, 2 school mates, all the way back to Mrs Hindmarch's 4B class at Park Juniors. The years had been kind on Bob...he'd fallen in love with Thelma Chambers (Bridgit Forsyth)...whilst Terry had been in the army and had returned home a broken man with a leg injury and estranged from his German wife.
The capers resume when Bob and Terry meet by chance on a train. All rather lame stuff by today's standards, but still extremely comical. The tale then moves through the difficulties of Terry's integration into 1970's Newcastle after a few years away, and Bob's impending marriage to the toffee-nosed Thelma, whose father Bob is employed by (played by Bill Owen, or Compo from 'Last of the summer wine'). Lots of scrapes ensue, and Terry manages to cause chaos whilst always remaining a likeable character. Bob's impending marriage is the axis round which the episodes rotate, all with perfect comic timing.
The episodes are ended by a pause of a couple of years and then a feature film (available on a separate DVD) was produced in 1976 which marked the end of the series. James Bolam has always refused to take part in a reunion, which is a crying shame as the comedy value of a few episodes 30 years on would be amazing with such strong writers.
This was pretty risque for it's time, so thanks to Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais for opening the floodgates for our current raft of fantastic comedies!