Chance in a Million (1984–1986)
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His long suffering fiancé Alison (Brenda Blethyn) always meekly hoped for the best, enduring the most ludicrous of mishaps.
I often wondered if it wasn't rerun because its principal actors went on to greater things and having joined the ranks of "luvvies" they didn't want reminders of where they started from.
If true, this would be a shame because it was an excellent series.
You know how for years you tell younger people how great an old series was and then it comes on and you don't even crack a smile when watching it? Well I'm glad to say that this isn't one of those. It had me in stitches and was even better than I remembered! The combination of the superb acting skills of the two (now very famous) main actors as well as the ridiculous coincidences and the wistful love story is irresistible.
Buy it. Now.
All the clichés of early 80's sitcoms in abundance - awful lighting, wooden sets, even more wooden acting from the other characters and extras, past-it's-sell-by-date canned laughter.
I only have memories of this as a child when it was originally aired. I can see why C4 haven't showed it again as it's just too dated.
But if you do have a spare few quid get the DVD set and marvel at Blethyn's hilarious, sweet and barely repressed sexual librarian and Callow's bumptious but likable bad luck lightning-rod.
Mention must go to the writers - incredibly convoluted and humorous plots. Maintains the great Brtitish tradition of the farce.
The two meet by chance in the same hotel where Tom has arranged to meet a blind date and Alison has arranged to meet a relative she hasn't seen since childhood. Typical sitcom plot line, wouldn't you say?
Tom and Alison soon forge a great friendship which soon gives rise to a serious relationship. Eventually, in the final episode, Tom and Alison get married.
Written by Richard Fegen & Andrew Norris ( later to script the superior 'The Brittas Empire' for the BBC ), 'Chance In A Million' is today probably best remembered for bringing then unknowns Simon Callow and Brenda Blethyn to a mass audience. Simon Callow was born to play the eccentric Tom and Brenda Blethyn's performance of the squeaky voiced but sexy Alison was equally as fine. There's a very funny scene in one episode where Alison, dressed for her hen night, goes to make a phone call at a telephone box where outside are a group of prostitutes hanging about, at which point the police arrive and arrest them all, including Alison, under the impression that she is a prostitute as well!
So, while not exactly a classic, 'Chance In A Million' was worth watching for the talents of Callow and Blethyn. In 2010, all three series were given a welcome DVD release by Revelation Films, which as a special feature includes the unbroadcast pilot episode.
Look out. by the way, for a guest appearance in the final episode from a fresh faced Stephen Fry as Reverend Hoblyn