Very Big Very Soon (ITV, 1991)
This is yet another entry in the “were there any decent 90s ITV sitcoms?” series. I don’t plan to review all of them of course, it’s just that ITV tried out so many sitcoms in this decade, and it was considered that the majority came up short compared to what the BBC were offering at the time, I wanted to investigate if they really are all as bad as they’re often claimed to be.
Here’s why I decided to review this one. I don’t remember watching this sitcom at the time, but it was recommended that I should feature it in this series, and as the majority of the episodes are on YouTube I thought why not give it a go. One thing that is interesting about Very Big Very Soon is that it was written by Daniel Peacock. Now you might remember he wrote a few other shows that I have reviewed including Harry And Cosh and Cavegirl, and he has also appeared in various sitcoms including Only Fools And Horses and Girls On Top.
Another notable thing about Very Big Very Small was that it starred Paul Shane, best remembered for his role as Ted in BBC1’s sitcom Hi-De-Hi! He played Harry James (and he didn’t sing thankfully), someone who thinks of himself as something of a cigar-puffing impresario who is a major player in showbusiness, but is actually a variety agent who works in a small office above a cafe and is having some trouble getting his not particularly impressive roster of acts any work.
So this means that he spends most of the episodes having to deal with the likes of cringeworthy comedians, terrible magicians, ludicrous impressionists and so on. He is also troubled by ventriloquists who seem a little too attached to their dummies. And as this show was set around the time that the old-school variety was falling out of favour, it just made everything worse. Yet he was insistent that he would get his clients to the top and they would be “very big very soon”.
The other regular characters were Harry’s long-suffering secretary Beattie, and his ex-wife Avril who he simply couldn’t get rid of. There were also the comedians Ernie and Matthew who Harry said should work together as a double-act but just ended up constantly bickering with each other. But honestly, some of these acts were so bad they wouldn’t even get on Britain’s Got Talent, ha-ha.
Very Big Very Soon (a Central Production for ITV) was shown on Friday evenings in the summer of 1991, but there was only one series, I’m fairly sure that it hasn’t been repeated on any channel since, and there hasn’t been a DVD release either. I’m not sure what the response was from viewers at the time but having enjoyed some of Peacock’s sitcom work over the years I didn’t think that this was too bad an effort really.