Nighty Night (BBC3, 2004-2005)
There were a lot of sitcoms tried out on digital channel BBC3 over the years, but I was never really that fond of many of them, but even though this one like most of the others was rather crude and dark I did actually enjoy it. The way I got into was rather simple really, and how I imagine most people in TV would want it to happen, I saw a trail for the first episode before it launched, thought it was rather curious, and decided to give it a watch.
Nighty Night was created and written by Julia Davis who had already appeared in a few comedy shows including the first series of BBC2’s Big Train. Along with Davis the show featured a lot of unusual characters that were played by a great cast. Davis played Jill, who might just be the most horrible and mean-spirited character to have ever appeared in a British sitcom.
In the first series, Jill works in a salon alongside the useless Linda (a pre-Gavin And Stacey Ruth Jones), and her husband Terry (Kevin Eldon) has become ill. She then goes off to find a man and doesn’t let anything like Terry’s recovery get in the way. Jill becomes very fond of the doctor Don (Angus Deayton, in one of his earliest TV appearances after trying to get his career back on track following his embarrassing departure from Have I Got News For You).
Jill will do anything to be with Don, who is married to Cath (Rebecca Front), who realises that something odd is happening. Jill also meets Glenn (Mark Gatiss, as a character possibly even more hideous and strange than anyone he played in The League Of Gentlemen) who is finding it hard to meet a woman, mostly because of his rather unfortunate facial tic.
Also featuring as a couple are Sue (Felicity Montagu) and the vicar Gordon (Deayton’s old KYTV colleague Michael Fenton-Stevens). Jill practically bumps off half the cast including Glenn to try and get her man, thanks to some devious plans including poisoned Angel Delight. After this climax, it looked like there wasn’t any other direction for Nighty Night to go in, so it was something of a surprise when there was a second series a year later.
Don and Cath were now trying to repair their marriage, but Jill and a reluctant Linda have managed to track them down in Cornwall to make their lives a misery all over again. Miranda Hart also appears in this series. I felt that this series didn’t contain as much action as the first one, but it was still rather intriguing. Both series have been released on DVD with plenty of extras (the second series is rated 18, the first BBC comedy series to receive that rating I believe I’m right in saying).
Another thing I noticed about Nighty Night was that the soundtrack mostly consisted of mid-80s British rock groups such as Marillion and Def Leppard. As I have said before I have never really been that keen on sitcoms that critics like to describe as “it’ll make you cringe more than laugh”, but thanks to the good performances from the entertaining cast coping with the shocking moments this was one that I stayed with to the end.