I Think I’ve Got A Problem (BBC Radio 4, 2001-2003)
This is a radio sitcom that caught my eye (or rather my ear in this case), as it featured one of the more unusual ideas that I’ve come across, along with an unlikely combination of talent coming together. I Think I’ve Got A Problem was a musical-themed sitcom that starred Madness frontman Suggs as Tom Caine. Tom is someone whose problem is that everything he says is accompanied by music, as he becomes convinced that there is a band occupying his mind.
So every time Tom talks to people, he can’t help but burst into song. And we also hear from the members of the band (who talk with American accents for some reason) including Bouche, Clammy, Jake, and Monty, who play various instruments and insist to Tom that they are real. This means that Tom begins to sing at rather inappropriate moments, unintentionally causing trouble with people everywhere he goes, meaning he ends up losing various jobs, causing trouble at football matches, and his girlfriend Sadie walks out on him too.
Tom realises how strange this is and eventually goes to visit Dr Boone, played by Bob Monkhouse. Now I would never have thought that these two would ever have worked together on anything, but I’m pleased that it happened. Bob doesn’t feature too much though, only when Tom sets up the next scene where something awkward happened because of his musical outbursts, and they talk to each other in rhyming couplets. Bob also can’t help but sing himself for the closing theme.
Also notable about I Think I’ve Got A Problem was that the all the songs were written for the show, and a lot of them were rather catchy and amusing. I must say that having enjoyed a lot of hits by Madness over the years, it was good to hear Suggs trying something a little different and doing some comic acting. Also around this time he was stretching his talents even further by also being a game show host on Channel 5’s very exciting funfest Night Fever.
The show returned for a second and final series in 2003, where Tom was being dropped into ever more bizarre trouble by his imaginary band, and this was also notable for being just about the final thing that the much-missed Bob ever did. Also featuring among the cast was Phil Cornwell. There were eight episodes of I Think I’ve Got A Problem, where a song and dance was literally made out of every situation, and it was a great piece of late-night fun.