Outside Edge (ITV, 1994-1996)
Time for another “were they any decent 90s ITV sitcoms?” entry. And would you believe it, this is one that really can be classed as a success! Outside Edge started out as a stage show in 1979. In December 1982 there was a one-off feature-length special on ITV that was more of a drama. Over a decade later, the show returned to ITV, and this time it was in a sitcom format and also featured a different cast in the same roles, including Robert Daws and Josie Lawrence.
Roger Dervish is the captain of his local village cricket team, a job that he does take rather seriously, even though the team consists of fairly useless elderly players, who can barely hit the ball, and when they do they end up running each other out. He enjoys the authority though, and is there every summer without fail. His wife Mim is also at the matches, but only to make lots of sandwiches for the players.
Also on the team is Roger’s friend Kevin. And although his wife Maggie is much more glamorous than Mim with her stylish look, they soon bond as they both watch their husbands play. It may look very picturesque, but it was far from it for Roger, who is often out for a duck, both in the actual game, and as far as his social skills go, which creates a lot of awkward moments with Mim.
Having to deal with things like who should be on the team and whether he can beat his arch-rival is about as much as Roger can handle. Roger and Mim also have two children who are away, and he not so much talks to Mim as constantly mutters though gritted teeth at her. Kevin and Maggie have a much happier marriage, even though they seem to be more mismatched.
There were 22 episodes of Outside Edge in three series, and it achieved most of the successes that were available for a sitcom at the time, including several British Comedy Awards, a TV Times cover, and an hour-long special on Christmas Day in 1995. There aren’t many other ITV sitcoms from that era that can boast that. In more recent years there was a repeat run on ITV3 as well.
I also remember that series two and three began in the first week of January in 1995 and 1996, so I always associate watching them with the “about to take the Christmas decorations down” feeling, and looking forward to what the next year has to bring. I wonder if there’s a proper word for that. All of the episodes (including the play) have been released on DVD by Network over four discs, but they don’t contain any extras though.