Terry and Bob from The Likely Lads (1964) continue their life after Terry arrives home from serving in the Army to discover that Bob is about to marry his girlfriend Thelma. Can Thelma lead...
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Terry is up in court for fighting in the pub with local lad Dougie Scaithe and is found guilty and is fined. Unaware that Terry and Dougie have patched it up, Bob confronts Dougie and also gets into ...
The adventures of two "likely lads" ostensibly set in the North East of England (but filmed in Willesden Junction, London). Terry and Bob have been friends since childhood. Bob is the ... See full summary »
Terry is divorced from his German wife and has a Finnish girlfriend Christina. At Thelma's suggestion they join her and Bob on a caravan holiday but due to a mishap the men get separated ... See full summary »
BBC Television comedy detailing the fortunes of Reginald Iolanthe Perrin. Disillusioned after a long career at Sunshine Desserts, Perrin goes through a mid-life crisis and fakes his own ... See full summary »
Classic 1960s British comedy series about a middle aged man and his elderly father who run an unsuccessful 'rag and bone' business (collecting and selling junk). Harold (the son) wants to ... See full summary »
Harry H. Corbett,
Bless This House centres on life in Birch Avenue, Putney, where travelling stationery salesman Sid Abbott (Sidney James) and his wife Jean (Diana Coupland) live with their teenagers: Mike (... See full summary »
Albert Steptoe and his son Harold are junk dealers, complete with horse and cart to tour the neighbourhood. They also live amicably together at the junk yard. But Harold, who likes the ... See full summary »
Harry H. Corbett,
Wolfie Smith is an unemployed dreamer from Tooting London, a self proclaimed Urban Guerilla who aspires to be like his hero Che Guevara. Leading a small group called the Tooting Popular ... See full summary »
Terry and Bob from The Likely Lads (1964) continue their life after Terry arrives home from serving in the Army to discover that Bob is about to marry his girlfriend Thelma. Can Thelma lead Bob onto the straight and narrow path or will Terry divert things once again ? Written by
Steve Crook <firstname.lastname@example.org>
UK TV is in forever love with repeats of "classic comedies" to the extent that on Christmas Day, the BBC found room on the schedules for an ancient episode of "Dad's Army" and gave whole themed evenings to the likes of Ronnie Corbett and "The Good Life", all of which are as about as funny as a hip-transplant. But tucked away on Channel 5 was the Christmas Special from 1974 of the best situation comedy ever to grace the BBC, the superb "Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads", starring Rodney Bewes and James Bolam, written by genre-masters Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais ("Porridge", "Auf Weiderschien Pet").
While this Christmas edition is exceptionally funny and what actually prompted me to post this, I well remember that the standard of writing and acting was almost as strong spread over the two or three series they hung around for.
Unlike so many of the other so-called classic sit-coms, some of which I've mentioned above, the eponymous "Likely Lads" are wholly grounded in real-life, dealing with everyday situations, talking in everyday language. Thus there's no need to insert the cartoony outrageous characters so beloved of the Perry/Croft or Esmond and Larbey teams. These were two blokes that you could relate to who could be sat just a few seats up from you in the pub or at the football. The humour is less about the situation than the priceless dialogue, so sharp, barely a word wasted.
There's no artificiality in the setting, very obviously a run-down, depressed Newcastle or in the accents they employ. More than this though, they represent the working-class everyman muddling through life, dealing with the mundane, occasionally falling out with one another but being mates, always falling back in again.
The acting is superb, Bewes never better as the middle-class, socially upward aspirant Bob, Bolam in the only role in which I can watch him, as the down-at-heel feckless Terry and Brigit Forsyth a perfect foil for both as Bob's hoity-toity wife who comes between them.
But it really is more about the writing and time after time Clement and LaFrenais showed a winning empathy with character and the ability to get laughs out of the depiction of ordinary situations. "Porridge" and "Auf Wiederschien" are great too but this is their finest creation and in this Christmas episode, very possibly their best ever hour. Great, nostalgic theme-tune too, co-written by LaFrenais - a record of it even made the lower reaches of the pop-charts at the time
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