Dead Man Weds (ITV1, 2005)
At the start of 2005, two sitcoms were launched at just about the same time on different channels which starred Johnny Vegas. BBC3’s Ideal was one, which was a great success and ran for seven series, whereas the other one, which was Dead Man Weds was a flop and vanished after six episodes. I’ve managed to track it down online though because I was interested in watching it again over a decade on to see if it deserves its flop status.
Dead Man Weds was a sitcom which starred and was written by Dave Spikey of Phoenix Nights fame. The Fogburrow Advertiser is a newspaper that covers a rather sleepy town where nothing much happens and they struggle to fill the pages. The new editor Gordon Garden (played by Spikey) who used to work on a national newspaper then comes along and decides to try and shake-up the staff, seemingly only consisting of Lewis (played by Vegas), youngster Dwayne, some old lady and Ken Barlow’s brother, to try and put some work into finding some important stories to publish.
Not long after, they soon unearth a scandal which is of such huge proportions that if they can get to the bottom of what is happening, not only will it be the paper’s biggest ever story, but it could possibly be the scoop of the year. The water in the area is turning blue – what could be the reason for this? Gordon decides that it’s time for some investigative journalism to solve the mystery, and well, Lewis and his colleagues have never seen owt like it!
Also among the cast were Tim Healy who ran the local pub and Michael Brandon who was the boss of the company Gene US that were behind the strange things. One interesting thing about Dead Man Weds was that the theme music was “It’s Good News Week”, a hit single for one-hit wonders Hedgehoppers Anonymous in 1965. However, it’s been announced that there are no plans to bring out the show on DVD, partly because of the music content, and also presumably because the song was written by a dirty old man. That’s great isn’t it, deliberately picking a theme song that you know will scupper your chances of a DVD release, not that there would have been a huge demand for one.
ITV1’s scheduling was at rather a low ebb at this point, and somewhat inevitably Dead Man Weds was another show that was pushed into a later timeslot for the final episode, something that seemed to happen to a lot of shows at the time, although they should be commended for trying out new sitcoms even if in the mid-2000s they were inevitably doomed. Looking back though the show was an interesting idea with an unexpected twist. It turns out it was a 16ft tall turkey all along! That’ll definitely put Fogburrow on the map!