A lost classic TV series sometimes seen on satellite.(The best place for repeats, but worthwhile when they dig up classics like this!)
James Shelley (The excellent actor, Hywel Bennett) is an ex-Uni over-qualified person for the jobs market. With qualifications as long as his arm, surely there's something he could do though - well, his best virtue is as a professional layabout!
Constantly at odds with the establishment, that especially in Thatcherite 1980's Britain is uncompromising, he manages to enter into mouthy exchanges, well AT the Labour Exchanges! With his pregnant wife-to-be Fran, where the series starts, there will obviously have to be a time when he'll have to woefully except employment. Even when he does, his battle begins again, IN work! One of my favourite lines is where he can't believe in the amount of tax that can actually be taken from our wage packets. (This is where we lose any contempt for the layabout we may have had and join him!)"give it back... the booty, the swag!" On being informed by the first tax official the amount he's had deducted is right: "They can't take this much ... not without a gun and a getaway car!" on entering the office of the next tax official: "Look, just hand it back, and we'll say no more about it!" At one point, he visits a psychiatrist on someone else's behalf, only to tell the shrink : "Try and take things easier...cut down on the rubbish you talk, and if you're not feeling better in a week...kill yourself!"
It's actually at this point visiting the taxman really, never mind being in work that he decides to marry Fran - as the taxman informs him he'd get more money with the married allowance (After saying to the taxman that if a single person gets less, it's like 'fining' them for not being married - "Do you put them in prison if they continue?!"). The series progresses well, especially the quick-talker's banter with his landlady, Mrs 'H' (Jospehine Tewson)whom he's at odds with. As ProfessorStahlman rightly says, after this, (1981+) when Fran left, it wore decidedly tiresome, not because of Hywel Bennett, but it just didn't work when James was in work, so long, trying to earn a crust, and having had a daughter, who lived in Canada with Fran from his now-defunct relationship with her. A good script at times nonetheless and the early series are always a definite must-see!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?