Not Going Out (BBC1, 2006-present)
For many years I have enjoyed the work of Tim Vine, mostly because of his ability to brighten up the game shows he was hosting with his huge amount of wonderfully silly jokes, and I have also enjoyed the work of the very funny Lee Mack including his great stand-up routine, so when they worked together on ITV1’s The Sketch Show I very much enjoyed it, and when they then went on to appear together in the sitcom format in Not Going Out I didn’t need much persuading to watch it.
And pleasingly Not Going Out has gone on to be a great sitcom. In the first series Lee lives in his fancy London flat overlooking Canary Wharf and the like with the American Kate, who also happens to be Tim’s ex. Of course, as the episodes progress there are lots of amusing situations and although he seems to be something of a layabout Lee always has a smart line for everything. From the second series Kate was replaced by Tim’s sister Lucy and Lee has gone on to have many odd moments with her too.
Also appearing in one series was Miranda Hart as Barbara, Lee’s cleaner. We also go on to meet Tim’s new girlfriend Daisy who it could be said was rather ditzy. In later series we also meet Lee and Tim’s dads which leads to some straightforward “north v south” rivalry. Unfortunately Tim left the show at the end of the fifth series, so in later episodes Lee often interacted with his new neighbours Toby and Anna. There have been so many memorable moments throughout the series that it’s difficult to pick just one, but for some reason a episode where Lee and Tim have to look after a baby who they think has swallowed the ball from their Subbuteo game was a really good one. Another great one was when Lee and Daisy appeared as contestants on the game show Pointless.
Not Going Out is one of my favourite sitcoms of the past ten years, seeing Lee (who has also written most of the episodes) and Tim interact and deal with the various bizarre situations that they land themselves in is always great to watch, and the show has ran to seven series and over 50 episodes, including various Christmas specials, the most recent of which contained an unexpectedly great surprise.
Not Going Out has gone on to win several awards, and all of the series have been released on DVD with various interesting extras. It seems that the show might only continue as an occasional Christmas special so people will have to make do with the endless repeats on Dave for now, but it is always worth a watch.