So What Now? (BBC1, 2001)
Lee Evans is a comedian whose stand-up routine became popular for his energetic delivery as much as it did for his amusing observations, and he ended up being one of those performers who would always be referred to as “the rubber-faced funnyman”. His career escalated to the point that he would often go on sell-out tours and he featured in many successful comedy films including There’s Something About Mary. Having enjoyed some of his work over the years, when I read that he was going to star in a sitcom I was very pleased.
So What Now? was a sitcom that was co-written by Evans and there were high hopes for it when it launched based on the quality of his previous work. In the first episode he is thrown out of the house by his wife Eileen, so he decides to move in with his old mate Stuart who is a double-glazing salesman, and then they move on to be joined by the landlady Heather, but of course, things slowly start to go wrong as Lee is the ultimate accident-prone man.
However So What Now? wasn’t really about the characters and there wasn’t really much to the show in the way of various plots, most episodes were simply designed to lead up to a set-piece of outrageous physical comedy acted out by Evans, which made critics draw comparisons with the sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. It seems that Evans was always able to create Frank Spencer-style chaos wherever he went, and whether he was stuck in a radiator or trying to move a sofa for no particular reason it always got plenty of laughs.
The DVD also has some interesting features, with a documentary that looked back at Evans’ career to that point which was shown on TV a few days before So What Now? launched, and there were also about half-an-hour’s worth of outtakes, I did think that a lot of these were very funny, especially when Lee seemed to completely forget what was happening and practically made up a new show on the spot.
So What Now? only ran for eight episodes in one series. I did read that there were plans for another series, but this never happened, partly because it seems that Evans was disappointed with the direction of the show and wanted to return to stand-up. The show was also something that is now practically extinct in TV schedules – the pre-9pm sitcom, and I remember watching it regularly. The show only really existed to be as silly as possible, and even though the reviews were mixed, I really liked it and pleasingly Evans remains a big name in comedy to this day.