The Comedy Vault – My Hero.

My Hero (BBC1, 2000-2006)

This is the sitcom that was fairly successful in the early-2000s. My Hero initially attracted some attention as the main character was played by Ardal O’Hanlon, in his first sitcom role since the end of Father Ted, although this was going to be something rather different. Such was the anticipation for this, the first episode made the cover of Radio Times.

One day, although she doesn’t realise it at first, Janet is rescued by an alien superhero called Thermoman. He is actually from a different planet, and he has assumed the persona of George Sunday, a seemingly modest man who works at a health food shop. It becomes clear quickly though as they start to fall for each other there is something rather unusual about George.

He can do things that most people can’t, but he seems to have some trouble with understanding the basics of how people live their lives on Earth. Janet’s parents wonder why she had decided to stay with him, and her work colleagues at the local surgery, the grumpy Mrs Raven, and the suave Dr Crispin don’t know either. His uncle Arnie and neighbour Tyler are aware of his origin though.

Janet eventually marries George, and they go on to have children, who have superpowers too, including being able to talk despite being a newborn, which leads to that creepy thing of having an adult mouth stuck on their face to make it look like they’re talking. George and his growing family then go on further adventures. My Hero did do well with viewers at first, being rather straightforward Friday night entertainment that wasn’t particularly edgy, although it did mean that this earned an “the sitcom that it’s OK to not like” reputation, which was unfortunate.

After the fifth series, O’Hanlon decided to leave, and he was replaced by James Dreyfus (who had been rather amusing in sitcoms including The Thin Blue Line and Gimme Gimme Gimme). He also becomes Thermoman, although his name was changed from George Sunday to George Monday. This change went down really badly with viewers though, and the sixth series turned out to be the last.

The ratings halved, and the final two episodes were shown in a Sunday afternoon slot, which was a very quiet and downbeat way to conclude a once popular sitcom. There were regular repeat runs for a while, but My Hero seems to have fallen out of favour in more recent years, only the first few series have been released on DVD, and there seems to be no plans for the rest any time soon.

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