After being in the West Country for several weeks, 'the terrible twins'
Ralph and Brian - head for home. An exhausted Brian is looking
forward to resuming his solitary chess games and reading his books, but Ralph would rather go to Paris. Realising he does not know where his friend lives, Brian gets a contact address from Ralph's secretary. 'Home' for Ralph Tanner is a run-down council house in the East End, inhabited by his parents ( Max Wall and Gretchen Franklin ) who are ignorant, dirty, and who sponge shamelessly off their son. When he bought them an expensive hi-fi system, for instance, they pawned it and drank the money. Mr.Tanner wants a caravan holiday in Canvey Island. When Brian arrives, he finds that they have invited other family members. The trip looks set to be a nightmare. Then Ralph receives help from an unexpected source...
The final episode, and the one where the motivation behind Ralph's compulsion to make out he is better than he is becomes clear. Any one would be ashamed to have a family like his. Also cast as the Tanner family are Doug Fisher ( from 'Man About The House' ), Ralph Watson, and Helen Keating ( as nymphomaniac 'Next-Door Noreen' ). At one point, Brian likens them to Hogarth grotesques. The final scene ( also the funniest moment ) has Brian unhooking the caravan from Ralph's car. "Am I becoming you or are you becoming me?", asks Ralph, clearly shocked. "We'll discuss it on the way to Dover!", says his friend. And off they go. Their friendship is intact, but the terms have changed. No longer will Ralph will be able to lie his head off. Brian is now 'the other one'.
The show was over.
We can all speculate as to why it was not a greater success. Briers cast as an unlikeable character obviously was a key factor, but I think the main reason was it that it was just too dark for a peak-time sitcom. A year later, B.B.C.-1 repeated the error when they showed 'Time Of Your Life' ( starring the late Mark Kingston ), a show which clearly belonged on B.B.C.-2.
Nothing more was heard of 'The Other One' until 1997 when U.K. Gold gave it two comprehensive screenings, one in an evening slot, the other shown in the afternoons in the station's 'Comedy Cupboard' strand. A decade later, Metrodome unexpectedly released Season 1 on D.V.D. I reviewed it for I.M.D.B. in 2005 and was surprised to see how well it was remembered. I titled my comment 'A Forgotten Comedy Masterpiece'. Perhaps 'masterpiece' was too strong. Some episodes are better than others. But I believe that, for anyone who enjoys comedy that is a little bit different, the show is a must and well worth the effort of tracking down. One can but hope that, someday, someone will do the decent thing and put Season 2 on D.V.D.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?