In the 1990’s I was a student and as a student I tended to be busy in the evenings, not watching TV but out and about. In one of the houses in which I rented a room, the TV was kept under the stairs, only brought out when there was something on someone really wanted to watch. And so it was that the original run of Goodnight Sweetheart totally passed me by. Then in 2016, as part of the BBC sitcom season, came the new episode of Goodnight Sweetheart (which we have since sadly learned is a one off, the BBC for reasons I cannot imagine deciding not to commission a new series). I really enjoyed it and so the DVD boxset of the original series went on to my Christmas list.
Having now watched through series 1 and started series 2, I am hooked. Who wouldn’t like the opportunity of Nicholas Lyndhurst’s Gary Sparrow to travel back in time? And what a great situation for comedy. However in my view this isn’t just a comedy, but a drama as well, as Gary is emotionally torn between his ambitious wife Yvonne (Michelle Holmes in the first 3 series) and his 1940’s sweetheart Phoebe (Dervla Kirwan in the first 3 series), a conflict of loyalties and interests! Unusually I find myself not only wanting to watch more episodes for the humour, but to find out where the series is going to go, the plot if you like. The acting is top notch, with supporting roles played by Victor McGuire (Gary’s friend Ron, the only one in on his secret) and Christopher Ettridge (none too bright 1940’s Police Constable Deadman). I am wondering how the female roles will transition to new actresses in series 4, the originals are so good. The writing, by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, is excellent, with an amusing touch of the cap to Dad’s Army in a bank scene at the start of series 2. And Gary’s 1990’s clothes in the opening episode are identical to those a friend of mine used to wear back in the day (coincidentally, given the Only Fools and Horses connection, my friend was called Rodney!). So I am looking forward to continuing to watch this treat that I missed and wonder more and more why the BBC won’t give us another helping.