Loved By You (ITV, 1997-1998)
Let’s have another entry in the “were they any decent 90s ITV sitcoms?” series. There aren’t that many left to look back at now, but here’s the story behind this one. In the 90s, ITV decided to adapt popular American sitcoms into British versions, including Brighton Belles (The Golden Girls) and Married For Life (Married… With Children). When these turned out to be rather big flops, it didn’t stop ITV from trying again.
Mad About You was an American sitcom about a newlywed couple that launched on NBC in 1992 which eventually ran for seven series, and it was shown in this country on the Paramount Comedy Channel. After this became popular, it was decided to launch a British version that was renamed Loved By You. I wanted to find out more and I have found an episode or two on YouTube.
The show starred John Gordon-Sinclair (who appeared in a few other sitcoms in the 90s) as Michael, a documentary maker for a TV channel that provides wholesome entertainment who is hoping to break into the film industry. Also featuring is his wife Kate (Trevyn McDowell), who is having a successful career in PR, and the episodes follow how they deal with all of this. Also among the main cast are some of Michael’s friends, and Kate’s sister Becky.
One interesting thing about the show is that the scripts were recycled from the American series. I managed to track down the original American versions of the episodes that I watched, and it was rather strange as the dialogue really was just about word-for-word the same. The first series was shown on Tuesday evenings, but there wasn’t that big a response from viewers.
However, ITV seemed to keep its confidence in the show, and a year later it returned for a second series, with a hope that the format would finally gel and become a hit. And yet, despite the first episode featuring a guest appearance from supermodel Caprice, incredibly this didn’t win the viewers over, and the show was quietly moved from Tuesdays to Thursdays to finish off its run, seemingly a sign that ITV had admitted this had turned out to be yet another flop.
It seems that the general opinion was that the actors didn’t particularly do anything wrong, but it had already been done in the American version, and much better too, so why should viewers accept any imitations. There were 13 episodes of Loved By You, and there hasn’t been a DVD release or any repeat runs. However, Mad About You was actually revived for an eighth series last year after a gap of two decades. They’re probably not newlyweds now though.