The Savages (BBC1, 2001)
This is another sitcom that was a one-series wonder. The Savages was written by Simon Nye, who was also behind Men Behaving Badly (one of the most successful sitcoms of its era), along with My Wonderful Life, Is It Legal?, and Beast, so plenty of viewers wondered if this one would be up to standard. This one centred around a family, but they weren’t “savages”, they were “Savages”, because that was their surname. Er, yes.
Episodes were originally shown at 9pm, not long after the news was moved to 10pm, and it was still odd to see something else in that slot. And this was also in “digital widescreen” when that was something of a novelty. The Savages are a family, where life really is chaos. The father is the terrifically-named Adam (Marcus “Toffee Crisp” Brigstocke), who is a cartoonist for a national newspaper, but he often struggles for ideas.
The mother is Jessica (Victoria Hamilton, the woman off CITV sitcom Cone Zone who later played the Queen Mother in the early series of The Crown), and she is a travel agent. They have two young children, Nicola and Luke, who are always making trouble, both at school and home. Adam and Jessica are often bickering with each other too, but somehow they manage to get through life.
Adam’s father is Donald (Geoffrey Palmer). Now wouldn’t it have been great to have had Geoffrey as your father (or indeed your grandfather). He could offer you his wisdom with his lovely voice. But maybe not in this case. He has gone through a divorce, is now retired, and doesn’t really know where he is in his life, so most of his observations are either unhelpful or rambling.
Other characters include Adam’s brother Mark. There were only six episodes of The Savages (and the later ones were moved from 9pm to 9:30pm). And well, this isn’t one that you are likely to see repeated on Dave or some such channel nowadays, and there has been no DVD release. The reason this flopped seemed to be because the antics of the family just weren’t outrageous enough.
And this seemed to be a surprise when compared to some of the things that happened in Nye’s other sitcoms. This was not too far off simply being yet another one of those straightforward domestic “my crazy family” sitcoms. And with another BBC1 sitcom My Family taking most of the acclaim in that area of comedy at the time, there really wasn’t any need for this.