The Job Lot (ITV, 2013, ITV2, 2014-2015)
This is a sitcom from about a decade ago now that definitely caught my attention at the time, although this wasn’t really because of the comedy. To quickly go over the idea, The Job Lot is a sitcom that was set at a Job Centre in the west Midlands, and the lives of the staff seem to be as bizarre as those of the people who regularly attend and are looking for work.
Among the regular cast members were Jo Enright, Sarah Hadland, Russell Tovey, and Tony Maudsley, who are known for appearing in various other comedy shows, and much more. And among those making guest appearances were Sean Pertwee, Keith Duffy, Meera Syal, Mark Benton, John Thomson, Will Mellor, and Maureen Lipman. Again, plenty of familiar names there.
The first series was shown on ITV, and has been released on DVD. The response from viewers and critics was roughly middling to indifferent though, and the second and third series were moved to ITV2 (although they were subsequently repeated on ITV in a late-night slot), and they have not had a DVD release. There were 18 episodes in three series.
But what really did make me take notice about The Job Lot was the location, as this was made not too far from where I live in London. Now I know that this is supposed to be set in Birmingham, but curiously, it seems that this wasn’t made there at all. When I was much younger, there used to be an electricity shop (in the days of the London Electricity Board), which sold ovens and the like.
But that then closed down, and was empty for many years. And that’s where this was made, for most of the exterior and interior scenes. And indeed, even though this now ended over seven years ago, the “Brownall House” sign is still there, and I wonder how many people who live round here realise when they walk past that this almost successful sitcom was made there.
I have explained before that I am rather overawed by celebrities, and to think of how many people came here to take part is remarkable. Realising that this was all unfolding near me when I watched, now that really is local TV. I can only imagine how the decision was made, but then so many other TV shows have been made around here over the years that I wonder if some viewers think why are they all set at the same places in London.