Ed Stone Is Dead (BBC Choice, 2002-2003)
This is a sitcom from the later days of BBC Choice, refreshing TV for the digital age. There seem to be no clips of this show online, and only one picture of the cast together, but as I do remember watching this, I might as well do a review. Richard Blackwood is someone who was a host on MTV in the late-90s, before going on to his own late-night stand-up comedy show on Channel 4.
He was often claimed to be the next big thing, and after a while he became popular enough to even have some hit singles (“who da man” and all that). About a year or two on from this, he was a host of Top Of The Pops, and he had the lead role in this sitcom which had an unusual idea. Ed Stone (which sounds like “headstone”, do you see, ha-ha) is fatally hit by a bus one day, which is rather disappointing for him.
But there has been a miscalculation by the Grim Reaper, and his time isn’t up just yet. So it is decided that Ed sort-of becomes half-dead, meaning that he can continue his life, although he can now not do things like taste what he eats or drinks, feel pain, and so on. Ed tries to take advantage of this, and often talks to Nigel, a Grim Reaper-type representative, who is a big Buffy The Vampire Slayer fan.
Ed’s flatmates soon realise that there is something different about him, and what a crazy bunch they are! There’s Adam and Scotty, along with Kate (who is fond of Ed, and it must’ve been an interesting moment when he explained to her that strictly speaking he isn’t alive) and Beth, the quirky American one, because you’ve got to have one of them, haven’t you.
There was only one 13-episode series of Ed Stone Is Dead, which seemed to do well for BBC Choice, and I was a regular viewer. There has been no DVD release though. Among the writers were Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, who would go on to work on Channel 4’s Peep Show, and plenty of other comedy talent turned up, including Johnny Vegas, Catherine Tate, and Robert Webb.
There was some difficulty determining who exactly the audience was for this though, whether this was aimed at teenagers, or older adults. There was a repeat run on teenage channel Trouble, and presumably edits had to be made. Some episodes were also repeated in the unlikely slot of Sunday Morning on BBC2. And a few years on, there was another repeat run, on Freeview channel FTN.