Peter Learmouth wrote 'Surgical Spirit', starring Nichola McAuliffe, a medical sitcom I never really liked ( though wanted to ), and the dreadful Dawn French/Jennifer Saunders 'Black Adder' rip-off 'Let Them Eat Cake'. It is easy then to forget that he showed great promise at the start of his career. Thames Television's 'Cowboys' ran to three seasons in the early '80's, and starred the irreplaceable Roy Kinnear as 'Joe Jones', a seedy businessman who has started a building firm only because his used car sales company went bust. He employs three highly disreputable ( and incompetent ) characters - plumber Richard Geyser ( Colin Welland ), drunken painter Wobbly Ron ( David Kelly, who as 'Mr.O'Reilly' in 'Fawlty Towers' knew a thing or two about shoddy workmanship ), and van driver 'Eric' ( James Wardroper ) who keeps jumping into the air for no reason and shouting "Knockout!".
Jones also employs 'Doreen' ( the late Debbie Linden ) as a secretary even though her typing skills are less impressive than her bra size. He keeps trying to seduce her despite constant rebuffs. Geyser does not really want to work for Jones ( he has a habit of not paying his staff on time ) but it seems a better alternative to the dole.
The first episode sees them arriving at a rundown house. They try to renovate it but it is too dilapidated and in the very last scene it collapses completely. They then realise they were in the wrong house all along, and make a run for it. The show combined witty lines with visual comedy not unlike that of 'Some Mothers Do Ave Em' ( it shared that programme's producer Michael Mills ).
Funniest moment - Geyser tries to go upstairs, but after putting his feet through the rotten wood several times goes up on his bottom. As he reaches the very top, a hole opens and he disappears into it!
Second funniest moment - Geyser is chatting to Joe when a scream reaches their ears. Wobbly Ron has just fallen through the loft ceiling. After what must be the longest pause in sitcom history ( Kinnear looks desperate to laugh ), he says: "I think something's happened!".
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