Green Wing (Channel 4, 2004-2007)
Green Wing is a sitcom that was created by the team behind Channel 4’s successful sketch show Smack The Pony. It was rather innovative in a couple of ways. Firstly, the episodes were an hour long, instead of the usual half-hour for most sitcoms. Secondly, it had a rather distinctive look, with some camera techniques that some viewers seemed to find rather irritating and it put them off the show, but I must admit that it didn’t annoy me that much.
Green Wing was set in a hospital, but there was almost no interaction with any patients throughout the episodes, it was all about the staff that worked there and their lives. A very impressive cast of comedy names were put together for the show. Characters included Guy and Mac (played by Stephen Mangan and Julian Rhind-Tutt who became such an entertaining double-act that they also appeared together in an advertising campaign for Barclaycard, but not playing these characters).
Guy also invented his own sport called Guyball that people were soon playing up and down the country (possibly). Also featuring to play some rather bizarre characters were Tamsin Greig, Michelle Gomez, Pippa “Mrs Brittas” Haywood, and none other than Mark Heap (as a bumbling doctor), and you can’t really go wrong with him on board. Watching him have various mishaps (one highlight being the time when he over-excitedly jumped in a pool for no particular reason) was always enjoyable.
Green Wing got some positive reviews from critics and it went on to win some awards. There were two series, and the show concluded with a special one-off edition that lasted almost a couple of hours, which must be one of the longest-ever individual episodes of a UK comedy show. Every episode has also been released on DVD, and there are some extras including some deleted scenes and a look behind the scenes.
I think that Green Wing can be compared with the similar American sitcom Scrubs that ran around the same time (and I plan to review that soon too). Although there was no doubt for me that Green Wing had a great cast and some funny and inventive moments, one criticism I have is that I was never really that convinced that they were doctors, it sometimes came across more as a bunch of wacky comic actors running around a hospital for no reason, whereas with Scrubs, a show that had its rather unusual moments too, the cast always convincingly played the characters as if they were hard-working stressed-out doctors, which made it have more of a impact.