Whilst compiling pieces for this blog, I have looked through various pages of old magazines and newspapers that I have kept to help remind me of the TV shows that I have enjoyed over the years that I would like to share on here. Recently I found a picture of an old sitcom that I vaguely remember watching in the 90s, and wondered if it had turned up on YouTube, and indeed it has, so credits goes to the uploader “nuttysteve80” for letting me revisit Sunnyside Farm.
The show was produced by Granada for BBC2 and shown on Friday nights. It was written by Richard Preddy and Gary Howe, and it starred the daft Sunnyside brothers Ray and Ken (Phil Daniels and Mark Addy) who are struggling to work on a horrible farm with smelly cows. One day a new middle-class couple Wendy and Justin turn up (Beth Goddard and Tony Gardner) with their two children and get caught up in all of their antics. Ray instantly falls for Wendy who is thinking of leaving the incredibly dull Justin.
Also appearing were the nasty Mr Letchworth (Michael Kitchen) and Mr Mills, who seems to be a regular ordinary enough man at first who is actually a rather odd cross-dresser. He was played by Matt Lucas long before his Little Britain days and he is following me on Twitter which is nice of him, so if you’re there, hello Matt. How about that, I watch him in this show and 18 years later we’re best buddies. Sort of.
As the episodes went by the plots became ever more ridiculous and there was plenty of shouting from the cast and a lot of crude energy to the point that you could almost smell the cowpats coming out the screen. There was also a connection with the group Blur to the show. Damon Albarn sang the theme tune, and Phil Daniels and Matt Lucas have both of course appeared in Blur videos.
It is fair to say that Sunnyside Farm somewhat divided viewers, it was a rather crazy show that you could either get into or couldn’t stand. In one newspaper review a critic described the show as “a cross between The Young Ones and Steptoe And Son“, and even went as far to say that it was “the most original sitcom since Father Ted” which is praise indeed, before adding that if the show got a second series it could easily become a cult success.
It didn’t though. Only six episodes of Sunnyside Farm were ever made, with no repeat run or DVD release, and a very short Wikipedia entry, it’s now practically forgotten, which is a shame. Hoever it’s a show that I am glad to have rediscovered and still enjoyed. “Burt Bacharach!” was the show’s catchphrase.