After You’ve Gone (BBC1, 2007-2008)
After You’ve Gone is a sitcom that starred Nicholas Lyndhurst as Jimmy, someone who has had a divorce and whose ex-wife now works in Africa, so he has to raise his two teenage children Molly (Dani “Tracy Beaker” Harmer) and Alex (Ryan Sampson) by himself, although his widowed teacher mother-in-law (Celia Imrie) is still around and they often clash on just about everything.
Jimmy works as a painter and decorator alongside his colleague Kev (Lee Oakes, who was great as Munch in Two Pints Of Lager), although they are more likely to both be found at the pub The Leek And Shepherd trying to drown their sorrows and pondering life with the landlord Bobby (Vincent Ebrahim). Jimmy then gets a new girlfriend, hairdresser and barmaid Siobhan (Amanda Abbington, she was in Sherlock you know), although there are a couple of episodes which feature his ex-wife Ann (Samantha Spiro) who briefly returns and now has a new man in her life called Dr Howard (Alexander Armstrong).
To pick out a few memorable moments that happened throughout the 25 episodes, there was an episode where Jimmy takes part in a pub quiz and tries very hard to succeed, but he has some trouble with the answers, and there was also an episode where Alex decides to try and look his best for the school photograph. There was also an episode which featured a lot of bickering about who owned a ping-pong table. It was funnier than it sounds.
After You’ve Gone wasn’t the greatest sitcom that Nicholas Lyndhurst has ever appeared in of course, but I do feel that he is a great comic actor and you can’t go wrong with him on board. However, I thought that he only gave the third-funniest performance in the show. Again, I enjoyed seeing Lee Oakes who was great as Kev, but I was most impressed by newcomer Ryan Sampson as Alex, and I hoped that he would go on to further success in TV. In more recent years he has featured in Tennant-era Doctor Who, and he is also one of the main characters in ITV2 sitcom Plebs (ITV2 in half-decent show alert!) where again he is very funny.
After You’ve Gone ran for three series and a couple of Christmas specials, rather curiously it was announced that a fourth series had gone into production, which was quickly followed by the news that the show had been cancelled. Although it wasn’t a huge hit with viewers, as far as mainstream domestic sitcoms go I’d watch this over My Family any day, a show that I’ve never really been a fan of. All three series have been released on DVD, including extras such as a look behind the scenes, outtakes, and deleted scenes.