|Index||5 reviews in total|
I saw this series when it originally aired many years ago. It was something the folks watched that caught my eye at a young age & it wasn't until recently that I rediscovered this great series on the newly released DVD sets. The show, the cast, the writing, is as funny now as it was way back when. The basis of the series is three hypochondriacs who are under the care of an unsympathetic doctor. The cast couldn't be better & Peter Bowles is as great as always. I wish they could have crammed more than 6 episodes on a 2x DVD set. Seems a bit small.. Regardless, I am glad to get to enjoy this series all over again.
Two years after the end of 'Doctor On The Go', I.T.V. came up with
another hit medical sitcom, only this time the main characters were the
patients, not the doctors.
'Only When I Laugh' was a screamingly funny show from 'Rising Damp' author Eric Chappell. Three patients from differing social backgrounds - trouble making lorry driver Roy Figgis ( James Bolam ), naive Norman Binns ( Christopher Strauli ), and rich hypochondriac Archie Glover ( Peter Bowles ) - share a hospital ward. Their 'nemesis' is the pompous Dr.Gordon Thorpe ( Richard Wilson in what was his best television role before 'One Foot In The Grave' ). The Indian male nurse Gupte ( Derrick Branche ) was well-meaning but incompetent, and this led to the series being branded 'racist' in some quarters. Gupte mysteriously vanished from the later episodes. Bolam's 'Figgis' wasn't far removed from 'Terry Collier' of 'Likely Lads' fame, while Bowles' 'Glover' was a try-out for his later series 'The Bounder'.
Although it stretched credibility somewhat that all three men should be confined to hospital for such an incredibly long time, this was one of I.T.V.'s best sitcoms of the late '70's/early '80's. Great theme tune, too!
The three hypochondriacs strike again. A good series must make one sit down from the beginning to the end, and this one certainly manages it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Shame that, not including mine, there are only five reviews at this
time of what was an excellent series. Indicative I suppose of the
fairly new advent of the net among older viewers of an old series.
I digress. Three, and it has to be said, hypochondriacs, take up space in the the men's surgical ward of a general hospital to the chagrin of Dr Gordon Thorpe. (Richard Wilson). The 'patients', James Bolam (Royston Figgis), Archie Glover (Peter Bowles) and Norman Binns (Christopher Strauli) all have strong characters/different traits, clashing with one another at times but at others, working together when necessary. Also some interaction with the male nurse, Gupte (Derrick Branche). There were numerous situations, like outsiders also being admitted to the ward creating paranoia or comic incidents, but some great writing by the excellent Eric Chappell brought some classic one-liners with the situations. My favourite episode is where Figgis dons a doctor's white coat. No, not to diagnose, (even though he started the episode like that) but to get out and have a pint at the local pub! That of course meant he had all and sundry 'other' hypochondriacs bombarding him with their ailments after Figgis trying to reluctantly avoid this. Temptation anyway gets the better of him and he can't help admitting nearly all in the pub to the hospital! Classic!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A dreadful TV series that I used to know as "The Suppurating Bedsores
Show".(In those days my family only had one TV and I didn't always get
the final say about what we watched).The idea of the three main
characters being sat in a hospital bed for the duration of this series
honestly made me feel ill! It's been a long time since I've suffered
this garbage but I'm sure it never gave me a laugh. Richard Wilson as
the curmudgeon of a doctor would later strike TV fame with his
portrayal of cynical pensioner Victor Meldrew.
Maybe the greatest handicap that the likes of "Only When I Laugh" and the similarly dreadful "Wish You Were Here" had, was that UK TV sitcoms were,in general, better if they WEREN'T made by one of the ITV franchises. (similar era...compare these shows with the BBC's far superior "Porridge" or "Citizen Smith" that were still funnier even as repeats).
And is it merely my memory playing tricks or didn't ITV sitcoms have more manic sounding 'canned laughter' as if the makers were desperately trying to convince everyone that these shows were really funny...but only served to put sensible people off watching them.
|Ratings||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|