Up the Elephant and Round the Castle (1983–1985)
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Jim gets himself into all manner of scrapes, and not always legal ones at that. In one episode, he is dating a young woman who unbeknownst to him has a jealous boyfriend who is built like an army tank and who looks as though he would pulverise someone if they so much as looked at his girlfriend and on another occasion he is mistaken for a terrorist when a siege takes place in his street.
In the first series, Jim has a girlfriend in the shape of Lois Tight ( played by future 'Eastenders' star Anita Dobson ), however the relationship seemed to flounder as the show progressed. Jim's friends include petty criminal Tosh Carey ( Brian Capron ) who sometimes is the cause of Jim's misdemeanours, busty Wanda Pickles ( Sue Nichols ) whose husband Stan ( who is never seen ) is serving time in prison and Vera Spiggot ( Sara Corper ), a dowdy young woman who has a massive crush on Jim.
Also on the scene are Jim's dad ( the late John Bardon ) who is often dossing at Jim's house to escape from his dragon of a wife ( Rosalind Knight ), snobbish local Councillor Bertram Allnut ( Roger Sloman ) who is later replaced with the even more conceited Councillor Arnold Moggs ( Nicolas Day ) and Brian ( Brian Hall ), the landlord of the Freemason's Arms, Jim's local pub.
In his autobiography, 'Close To The Edge', Jim said he never enjoyed working on sitcoms - claiming that 'they are not real' and he 'doesn't feel at home in them!'. It's a shame he feels that way as in my view, 'Up The Elephant & Round The Castle' is one of his better pieces of work. Don't get me wrong, I like and admire the man as a stand-up comedian and game show host but, for me, sitcom is the one thing I felt he did extremely well in, and should have moved on to do more.
Three series of 'Up The Elephant & Round The Castle' were made in total. Not long after its conclusion, the character of Jim London went on to appear in the long running sequel 'Home James' in which he was a chauffeur for wealthy businessman Robert Palmer ( I wonder if he was any relation to the late singer? ). After 'Home James' ended in 1990, Jim's only regular television appearances were as host to the game shows 'Big Break' and 'The Generation Game'.
Having been re-watching the series recently, I think it stands up rather well, with only the obvious canned laughter letting it down.