Renford Rejects (Nickelodeon, 1998-2001)
As you’ll know by now, a rather long time ago (and it is beginning to feel like it), I used to watch Nickelodeon in the early days of digital TV. This is one of the shows that I remember watching, and one of the few on that channel at the time that was British-made. It is a just-about sitcom that centred around football, which I never been hugely interested in, but I thought that I’d give this one a go.
Renford Rejects was a just about-sitcom that launched in the late-90s, and I am fairly familiar with the big football players and teams from the time because I used to listen to various matches on Capital Gold, and this was also around the time that the Premier League was established as one of the biggest leagues in Europe, and an increasing amount of imports were joining English teams and making a big impact.
Renford Rejects shouldn’t be confused with Dream Team, another football-themed show that launched around the same time (and that wasn’t a sitcom, although it could be argued that came across as one sometimes). This one featured a rather useless teenage five-a-side team. They decide to get together after being turned down by their school, and we meet various characters, including the players, along with their coaches and teachers.
The team captain is Jason, and also featuring are Bruno, and Ben the rather wimpy bespectacled goalkeeper. They all probably dreamed of one day playing in the likes of the Premier League or Serie A, but in their cases it would definitely remain a dream. When they aren’t being beaten in various matches, the players were often to be found down the Graceland cafe, which was run by Eddie, who was a big Elvis fan.
The opening theme to Renford Rejects was “Australia” by Manic Street Preachers, and most of the football action was soundtracked by various songs, mostly by The Lightning Seeds. The show did well enough to attract some impressive figures for guest appearances, including various footballers, and the TV presenters Jim Rosenthal and Bob Wilson. Comedians including Alexei Sayle and Tony Slattery also appeared, along with a young James Corden in one episode.
There were 52 episodes of Renford Rejects in four series, and they were repeated rather often on Nickelodeon. Not long after this, they also turned up on Channel 4 as part of the T4 strand, and I do think that the show was deserving of some exposure to a bigger audience in a more high-profile slot. I don’t think that any episodes have been released on DVD though.