Smith And Jones In Small Doses (BBC2, 1989)
Just before their comedy sketch show moved to BBC1, comedy double-act Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones decided to try and do something a little different. They had often been praised for the naturalistic acting style that they had applied to their sketches, and this show (which was included as a extra on the DVD that wasn’t supposed to be released, it’s a long story) was an opportunity to expand on that.
Smith And Jones In Small Doses consisted of four individual comedy-dramas that were all about 20 minutes long, these were made on location with no laughter track. The majority of these were two-handers (the final part was the only one to feature an additional cast member), that were by various acclaimed writers, including Graeme Garden, and Griff himself. This is a brief analysis of the stories.
In “The Whole Hog”, a businessman is rather shocked to run into his ex-wife, who he hasn’t seen for a rather long time. But he can’t determine if he’s more shocked by the fact that she has had a sex change, or is now the boss of his children’s dolls company! In “The Boat People”, two men spend a rather uncomfortable weekend on a yacht. The mood becomes miserable as it becomes clear that one of them enjoys being on the sea much more than the other one.
In “Second Thoughts”, two men argue about who has had it worst, as they both want to be the first to throw themselves off a new bridge. And in “The Waiting Room”, two priests with rather differing attitudes to their religion try to fill the time with a discussion as they wait. But what is it that they are both waiting for exactly? This one definitely took an unexpected turn.
The good thing about Smith And Jones In Small Doses was that this was definitely up to the usual standard, and must’ve increased anticipation by viewers for their next sketch series (and there was a repeat run in 1990 to precede that year’s new series too). I don’t know if this series won plenty of awards like much of their other work together did, but it wouldn’t surprise me.