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on 19 June 2014
I had the great fortune to see this Mel Smith sitcom when it was first broadcast in 1988 - I loved it at the time and now consider it to be 'up there' amongst the best comedies the UK has ever produced. Right from the start of the first episode it is possible to sympathise with Colin Watkins - an intelligent, likeable chap hamstrung in life by his frustration and lack of career ambition.

Colin rants at the world, usually internally, but is generally too polite and 'British' to confront the things that cause him grief. His neuroses remind me of Basil Fawtly but Mr. Watkins is a much nicer chap and by the time a couple of episodes have gone by it's difficult not to be hoping for him to succeed. While this is Mel Smith's show the support is quality, notably from Louisa Rix as his long-serving girlfriend, Mike O'Grady (best, and perhaps only mate) and Andrew Robertson as the manipulative BR Complaints Department boss. Later on Annette Crosbie and Nicholas Ball turn up as Colin's Mum and showbusiness mentor/tormentor - both to excellent effect.

Stuck in a job that could define tedium, Colin dreams of being a horror writer but most of his efforts are eloquent yet hopelessly old-fashioned. Throughout the two series his talent and opportunities develop despite fate seeming determined to trip him up but in the meantime there are lots of laughs and - impressively - moments of real sadness and drama.

The twelve episodes tell a complete story and it's one that has stuck with me for a quarter of a century. Happily I taped them all and then transferred the onto DVD just before the tapes gave up the ghost. I've survived with the crackly, hazy image ever since and am delighted that the BBC have finally got around to releasing this properly. it's just the episodes on the DVD and the price might seem a bit steep (£30 as I write) but this is a true classic - scandalously neglected for many years but now hopefully finding a new - and doubtless appreciative - audience. It's a pity Mel isn't around to see it released - a great man of comedy who now has his defining acting role available to buy and enjoy.

Brilliant stuff.
16 people found this helpful
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on 21 February 2018
I must have changed since I watched this, but it just didn’t make me laugh any near as much as when my younger self watched it originally. The rants are still funny but Colin just seems like a moaning minny, and the architect of his own misfortunes. Mel Smith still remains the great underrated actor who is greatly missed.
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on 18 July 2017
i remember watching this when first aired. a little gem it was too, sadly the bbc only made 2 series, but never mind, still great.
i can still hear the theme tune, which was mozart`s horn concerto no.4 in E flat major KV495.
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on 16 June 2014
If you've never watched this series then buy this DVD. One of Mel Smiths greatest performances in my opinion. Re-runs on BBC well over due.
6 people found this helpful
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on 3 March 2018
A very funny series starring the late Mel Smith which has strangely never been repeated.
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on 12 February 2017
My husband really likes this and finds it very funny but I find it depressing. Colin is a middle aged man just not having a lot of luck in life. Feel really sorry for the character!
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on 1 July 2014
First saw this series in the early 90's on UK Gold, glad it has been released on DVD, hopefully the comedy series Smith & Jones will get a full release & not just the "Best Of" DVD.
2 people found this helpful
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on 4 September 2014
The late great Mel Smith at his best,I'd been waiting many a year for this to be released on dvd,a great dvd will be watching again and again.
5 people found this helpful
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on 29 March 2018
Having loved this programme when it was orginally broadcast I was absolutely delighted to be able to purchase the series on DVD. Mel Smith comic genius RIP...
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on 15 November 2016
Was a gift well received
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