I'm not sure I've handed out a 10 before on RYM but this wonderful series thoroughly merits it. A commercial flop on first release in the UK in 1960, it has always had critical and cult success which drew it to my attention.
Although billed as a situation-comedy, it's more situations-study, with no jokes, laughs, or even a live or canned audience to make the viewer's job any easier. It subverts convention from the very first scene as Anthony Newley's title character walks out of a typical family sit-com set-up, breaking the third-wall in the process, to take us on the first of his trips through "Gurney-land", an inner world of fantasy, imagination and ideas.
And what ideas, each episodes intrigues and beguiles in equal measure, with the philosophical, mackintosh-wearing Newley at its epicentre. I really only knew Newley before this as a sometime pop singer, but he's absolutely brilliant in this, giving such a wonderfully natural performance that you'd think his every utterance was freshly-thought rather than scripted. I found so many original and daring thoughts in the plotting in this show that I can't wait to watch it again, which I plan to do in one sitting to do it justice.
I love my 60's TV but in truth can only think of one other series from that era which was so maverick and yet still entertaining in its approach, that show being Patrick McGoohan's equally out-there "The Prisoner".
A couple of final thoughts, the tick-tock theme tune completely fits its subject and the final scene where Gurney metamorphoses back into a character role of the real Newley is sheer genius, but in truth, there are many such magical moments in this quite unique production, so far ahead of itself that in my opinion no-one's quite caught up yet.
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