Ralph Outen (Eddie Izzard) is a hot-shot advertising executive with a taste for the flash and stimulating, and who is not very happy to be turning 40. He is intrigued when he is ... See full summary »






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Series cast summary:
Eddie Izzard ...  Ralph Outen 3 episodes, 2003
Chloe Howman Chloe Howman ...  Angela 3 episodes, 2003
Nimmy March Nimmy March ...  Anita 3 episodes, 2003
Caroline Chikezie ...  Denise 3 episodes, 2003
Mark Benton ...  Gregory 3 episodes, 2003
Hugo Speer ...  Robert / ... 3 episodes, 2003
Jalaal Hartley Jalaal Hartley ...  Teddy 3 episodes, 2003
Kerry Fox ...  Maggie 3 episodes, 2003
Yasmin Kerr Yasmin Kerr ...  Amy 3 episodes, 2003
Joanne Whalley ...  Jess 3 episodes, 2003
Millie Findlay Millie Findlay ...  Katy 3 episodes, 2003
Amira Casar ...  Kristina 3 episodes, 2003
Vincent Regan ...  Ken 3 episodes, 2003
Adie Allen ...  Joanne 3 episodes, 2003
David Schofield ...  Brenman 2 episodes, 2003
Serge Soric Serge Soric ...  Wally 2 episodes, 2003
Stevie Ellis Stevie Ellis ...  Will 2 episodes, 2003
Jack Langham Jack Langham ...  Harry 2 episodes, 2003
Tallulah Pitt-Brown Tallulah Pitt-Brown ...  Eleanor 2 episodes, 2003
Annie Nelson Annie Nelson ...  Call Centre Boss 2 episodes, 2003
Martin Cole Martin Cole ...  Gordie 2 episodes, 2003
Stuart Organ Stuart Organ ...  Registrar 2 episodes, 2003


Ralph Outen (Eddie Izzard) is a hot-shot advertising executive with a taste for the flash and stimulating, and who is not very happy to be turning 40. He is intrigued when he is deliberately not invited to his old school reunion, which prompts him to drop by several of the old friends he had left behind, all of whom are experiencing changes of their own. Three-part drama series (164 mins), first shown on Channel 4 in 2003. Written by Derek Young

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Release Date:

8 April 2003 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(3 parts)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

very 2003
10 April 2003 | by paul2001sw-1See all my reviews

"40" is a very modern multi-perspective television drama, with plenty of hand-held camera work and rapid cross-cutting between scenes, telling its story in the minimalist fashion favoured by writers such as Tony Marchant (the stylistic resemblances to "Holding On", in particular, are clear). It features one neat trick that takes advantage of its economical style, in that it's actually slightly less compact than it seems: having been shown one selection of scenes, we subsequently return to the same events and see a slightly, but revealingly, different selection. At one level this is entirely bogus: as the different versions of the story do not correspond with the viewpoints of any particular character, the choice of what to show where is arbitrary and contrived. But it feels "natural" while you are watching it; at least, the handling of the plot is in keeping with the overall form of the work. In that sense, "40" can be considered a qualified success.

But ultimately the tale, though neatly done, falls slightly flat. Crucially, a lot of things happen but to little greater purpose: the particular details of each incident, even the showpiece school reunion, tend to feel little more than purely incidental. The lives of the characters are too disconnected to make a really satisfying whole: there's no real focus here, simply events. The actual story of each individual, meanwhile, doesn't really add up to much; and whole it is nice to see Joanne Whalley back on British television, her character, Jess, remains a mystery to us. Ultimately, a more traditional drama, with a closer affinity to fewer characters, and a less trendily efficient style, might have allowed a deeper story to emerge.

"40" isn't bad, but it seems to fit a paradigm for how to make television in 2003, namely, sketch several stories in outline only, then mix up their pieces and hide the thin treatment of each behind the breadth of the whole. This can work, as "Holding On" showed; but that serial had more depth and a unifying mood. "40" has neither. In a few years time, it will surely show it's age.

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