Just A Gigolo (ITV, 1993)
It’s time for yet another entry in my “were there any decent 90s ITV sitcoms” series. In the early-90s, Tony Slattery was on TV so frequently that he really did seem to be ubiquitous. He appeared in comedy shows including Channel 4’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? (and the spin-off S & M alongside Mike McShane), hosted game shows including Channel 4’s The Music Game (that I reviewed a while back) and BBC2’s P’s And Q’s (which earned him a Radio Times cover), and he even found the time to be in a few sitcoms, like this one, and as I wanted to review it I was very pleased to discover that all seven episodes are on YouTube.
Just A Gigolo was a sitcom that starred Slattery as Nick Brim, a disillusioned French teacher who leaves his job. He lives with his younger brother Simon and tries to find a new way to earn some money. When out one night pondering his next move Nick is mistaken for a male escort by the middle-aged Marge (Wanda “Benedict Cumberbatch’s mum” Ventham) and is given £100. Although reluctant at first, he soon realises that this could be a useful career for him, and he often has his best suit and bow-tie on standby for anyone who might want some of his company, and he decides to join an agency. Well, it was better than having to put up with irritating schoolchildren.
Nick often takes his women to a wine bar, but he soon realises that he is rather fond of Natalie who works there, and he tries to pluck up the courage to ask her out without her discovering why he is such a frequent visitor. Nick often gets himself into some awkward situations, and Slattery proved that he had mastered the comedy basics by getting lots of laughs from doing things like taking his trousers off, having a custard pie thrown in his face, and randomly falling over.
Just A Gigolo was written by Carl Gorham, Michael Hatt and Amanda Swift, and it was a Central production for ITV. It was shown on Thursday evenings and I’m fairly sure that it hasn’t been seen since, not even turning up on the repeats circuit on channels like Granada Plus, UK Gold or ITV3. It didn’t return for a second series, possibly because Slattery had about 50 other shows on the go at the time and had to drop at least one of them.
One of the highlights was when Nick said “Bethnal Green” in an episode – that’s always going to be on to a winner with me! There was also an episode where Simon seemed to fall in love with a cardboard cut-out which remained me of an episode of Family Guy. Also, there’s no doubt that this show was recorded with a live studio audience, as they shrieked with laughter at most of what happened. Just A Gigolo hasn’t been released on DVD, but I do think that it was rather good, let’s hope it’ll happen one day.