Waiting For God (BBC1, 1990-1994)
This is another sitcom that was popular with viewers on BBC1 throughout the early-90s, when they were way ahead of ITV in creating successful comedy shows. Waiting For God was set at the Bayview Retirement Village, and centred around Tom and Diana, a pair who might be aging, but definitely feel that they have much more to offer the world. How much humour can be squeezed out of this idea then?
Tom was played by Graham Crowden, a veteran actor, and recently was the centenary of his birth. And Diana, who is much more angry and cynical than Tom, was played by Stephanie Cole, who was not even 50 at the time of the first series, and make-up was able to make her look older. But all these years on, I’m still not sure if she has reached the age of the character that she played.
An unlikely friendship between Tom and Diana soon forms, as they struggle to prove to their relatives and friends that they are still fully functioning. Among those who often visit Tom are his boring son Geoffrey, along with his wife Marion. The manager of Bayview was Harvey, who was a rather oily individual, who liked to keep everything running smoothly, as long as it made him lots more money.
This led to several clashes with Tom and Diana, who always stood up for themselves (or sat down if their back had gone), and for the other residents, to make sure their wellbeing was as important as they felt it was. Also featuring was Jane, who was a rather downbeat assistant to Harvey, but remained loyal, whatever schemes he had been up to.
Harvey really is keen to build an empire, and he also has ambitions to join a golf club. I presume that is a club where golf is played, not a club that you play golf with, I don’t know. There were 47 episodes of Waiting For God in five series, and this did well enough for there to be a couple of Christmas specials. All of the episodes have been released on DVD.
They were all written by Michael Aitkins, and this was by some distance his most successful work. Among his other sitcoms are Honey For Tea and A Perfect State, which were two of the biggest comedy flops on the BBC in the 90s, and are just about forgotten now. This one isn’t though, having entered and remained in the repeats loop, with episodes still being shown on various channels to this day, and in more recent years, there has also been a stage show version.