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Archive for the ‘Five For Friday’ Category

Today is the Great American Smokeout, a day when the American Cancer Society encourages people to make a plan to stop smoking. So of course my mind turns to British TV and some of its characters who could probably use a little help kicking the habit. Granted some of them come from period dramas set in a time when the deleterious effects of smoking were not fully known.

Perhaps they can take a page out of Sherlock’s book and stock up on nicotine patches?

 

1.Thomas from Downton Abbey

Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier) with the ubiquitous fag hanging from his lips image credit Carnival Film & Television and ITV

Villain-ish Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier) with a ubiquitous fag hanging from his lips. You may recall he used to take smoking breaks with his partner in crime O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran) before she left Downton for warmer climes
image credit Carnival Film & Television and ITV

 

2.  Jane Tennison from Prime Suspect

DCI Tennison's (Helen Mirren) high pressure job surely takes a toll for which smoking (and drinking) provide some temporary relief image credit Granada Television

DCI Tennison’s (Helen Mirren) high pressure job surely takes a toll for which smoking (and drinking) provide some temporary relief
image credit Granada Television

 

3.  Bernard Black from Black Books

Bernard Black (Dylan Moran) might be happy if he could just smoke...and drink  and read. image credit Assembly Film and Television and Channel 4

Bernard Black (Dylan Moran) thinks he could be happy if he could just smoke…and drink and read.
image credit Assembly Film and Television and Channel 4

 

4.  Eddie and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous

Hedonistic Eddie (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) are rarely seen without a ciggie or a drink. (Is a pattern emerging here?) Image credit French & Saunders Productions and BBC

Hedonistic Eddie (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) are rarely seen without a ciggie and a drink. (Is a pattern emerging here?) Addiction is a way of life for these best friends.
Image credit French & Saunders Productions and BBC

 

5. Dr. Turner from Call the Midwife

Dr. Turner (Stephen McGann) and the former Sister Bernadette, now Shelagh Turner (Laura Main) share a smoke. Even though it's the late 50's/early 60's, you'd think medical professionals would know better image credit Neal Street Productions, BBC

Dr. Turner (Stephen McGann) and the former Sister Bernadette, now Shelagh Turner (Laura Main) share a smoke. Despite being set in the late 50’s/early 60’s, you’d think medical professionals would know better, especially our good doctor.
image credit Neal Street Productions, BBC

 

Wishing the best of luck to all those who are attempting to quit smoking today! It road is hard, but the benefits are undeniable.

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Just thought I’d shoot off a quick Five for Friday to remind everyone that it’s Mo-vember, that month-long campaign to raise awareness of men’s health issues by growing some hair above your lip. For those of you who are already sporting a bit of stubble, here are a few examples you might want to aspire to.

 

Ronnie Barker as Albert Arkwright in Open All Hours image credit BBC

Ronnie Barker as Albert Arkwright in Open All Hours
image credit BBC

 

Stephen Fry as General Melchett on Blackadder Goes Forth image credit BBC

Stephen Fry as General Melchett in Blackadder Goes Forth
image credit BBC

 

David Suchet as Hercule Poirot image credit Carnival Film & Television

David Suchet as Hercule Poirot
image credit Carnival Film & Television

 

John Cleese as Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers image credit BBC

John Cleese as Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers
image credit BBC

 

James Nesbitt at Tommy Murphy in Murphy's Law image credit Tiger Aspect Productions

James Nesbitt at Tommy Murphy in Murphy’s Law
image credit Tiger Aspect Productions

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"The Library" is a planet sized book repository. Or is it? image credit BBC

“The Library” is a planet sized book repository. Or is it?
image credit BBC

 

As you probably already know, I work in a public library. I’ve talked about British related programs I’ve organized like the Time Lord Trivia Tournament, our British Car Day and, of course, the monthly gatherings of my support group for expats and lovers of British culture, Anglophiles United.

But when most people think of libraries, these fun, out-of-the-box activities are not what come to mind. They think of implacable librarians, drab in appearance and stern in attitude; scholarly and musty volumes, as dry in content as their fragile pages; and a vault-like atmosphere that is quiet as a tomb.

What follows are some British telly clips about libraries. I really had an enjoyable time searching for them. Some support the stereotypes above and others paint a more modern or friendly picture of libraries today.

 

Psychoville – Jeremy Goode (obsessive guardian of library material)

 

Later in this story, Jeremy actually shows up at the woman’s house hoping to recover her delinquent book. Real library staffers don’t actually fixate on things like this. People lose stuff all the time. We do send them to collections though if they misplace too many of the precious things of library and neglect to pay up of their own accord.

 

Mr. Bean – clumsy patron

 

Where I work, we don’t have such ancient and rare tomes and no gloves are required to touch anything on our shelves. That being said, we do unfortunately get items back in our book drop in less than pristine condition: food and beverage splatters, crayon scribbles, pages torn out and, yes, even sand under the plastic dust jacket of the book of the latest copy of ‘Girl on the Train’ or ‘Game of Thrones’.

 

Derek (and Kevin) – patrons with specific interests and tastes

 

We do get individuals like Derek who want to take out the same book over and over again. They are usually children, but Derek has a child-like quality about him. On the other end of the spectrum, we get blokes like Kevin in as well, but they are more likely to be using our computers to find  “adult images” than magazines.

 

The Old Guys – A mature, attractive librarian

 

We’re not all middle aged ladies in cardigans with glasses hanging on a chain around our necks.  In fact, harmless flirting has been known to happen across the circulation and reference desks. I work with women (and men) of various ages, fashion sense and style and temperaments. Some are enthusiastic and energetic while others are more reserved and timid. And believe it or not, there are some quite confident and ambitious librarians as well, rather like Barbara (Cherie Lunghi) the new librarian in the clip above.

 

Doc Martin – play group

 

Libraries don’t have to be deadly silent places, particularly in the children’s areas of the building. Young patrons are encouraged to sing, move and create. My library has a wide range of kids’ programming including infants and toddlers’ lap sit story times. You typically see mums with their little ones at events like this, but kudos to Dr. Ellingham for even showing up at a baby sing-a-long/play group.

 

Individual libraries, even within the same general area, can have very different amenities, rules and staffers. But universally, they are places for people who love books, stories, and learning. Besides being a full-time telly watcher, there’s no other job I’d rather have.

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credit image Talkback Thames and BBC

credit image Talkback Thames and BBC

As you’ve probably heard, Stephen Fry is stepping down as the erudite presenter of the long running comedy panel show QI.  The newest  series, which has already been recorded and begins airing on BBC Two this weekend, will be Fry’s thirteenth and final attempt to impart obscure knowledge and relieve us of the misconceptions and old wives’ tales we’ve held to be true all these years.

So as Mr. Fry bids adieu to QI viewers, I thought it was the perfect time to focus on some of the more amusing, dare I say even silly, moments from series past.

Cockney Rhyming Slang – A lover of words, dialects and language in general, Fry’s attempt at Cockney rhyming slang comes across a little too middle class. Taking the piss out of their esteemed presenter for his posh background is a favorite pastime of Alan Davies and his guest colleagues Bill Bailey and Phill Jupitus.

 

The “Acropolis where the Parthenon is” tongue twister- Stephen’s normally nimble tongue fails him on a question about the Acropolis. Alan Davies, Bill Bailey, Jimmy Carr and Rob Brydon take advantage of this usual moment of speechlessness from their host to behave like naughty school boys taunting a substitute (or for my UK friends, supply) teacher.

 

A Bewildering Array of Scottish Accents- Stephen puts his ear for accents to the test in this clip. From Billy Connolly and Mrs. Doubtfire to something approaching David Tennant, Fry impressed and possibly confused his panelists by producing at least four distinctly different Scottish dialects.

 

Sampling Snuff- Surely encouraging the likes of Ross Noble, Noel Fielding and Alan Davies to experiment with flavored varieties of snuff was never going to be a good idea. Despite the risk, host and babysitter Stephen Fry passes it out anyhow which results in nastily stained handkerchiefs and temporary blindness.

 

Alan and Stephen, a Complicated Relationship- From the very beginning, week in and week out, it’s been Stephen Fry and Alan Davies together on QI. They have a playfully antagonistic rapport on screen that is highlighted by exchanges like this one. Seeing as how Fry called his co-star a “wonder of nature” in his leaving announcement, I have to think all the ribbing is mostly for show…

 

In the end, I feel a bit melancholy about the news of Fry’s departure.  I wish the best of luck to his successor, Sandi Toksvig, but I can’t help thinking that QI without Fry at the helm will never be quite as interesting.

 

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This week I started watching a mediocre sitcom on the UK’s Gold TV channel called Marley’s Ghosts. While nothing to shout about, it did give me my inspiration for this week’s Five for Friday and, seeing as Halloween is approaching, what could be more appropriate than TV apparitions.

Marley’s Ghosts

Marley (Sarah Alexander) finds herself losing loved ones and acquaintances left and right. First her drunken and indifferent husband Adam (John Hannah) followed in quick succession by her lover/work colleague Michael (Nicholas Burns) and the vicar (Jo Joyner) who officiated Adam’s funeral. Now Marley has a trio of ghosts following her everywhere and she’s not dealing with it very well. Is it Marley or her spectral shadows that are in need of closure?

 

Being Human‘s Annie

Though viewers were introduced to many an intriguing ghost in the course of this series, it cannot be debated that Annie Sawyer is the most endearing motherly poltergeist you’d ever want to meet. Sure, she has unfinished business which prevents her from leaving through Death’s Door, but she keeps the house ship shape and her boys in line. Annie is always there with a cup of tea and a sympathetic ear. But murder her and she doesn’t play so nicely…

 

The Fades

Speaking of unfinished business, what if you couldn’t complete the process of dying? Then you might be a Fade. The Fades aren’t exactly ghosts, but they’re pretty darn close. They are humans who have died, but weren’t able to get through one of the world’s quickly diminishing ascension points. They are trapped on Earth, doomed to age and decay while their loved ones, unaware of their torment, move on with their lives. It’s understandable then that these living corpses might get a bit down in the mouth.

 

Last Tango in Halifax

It’s probably more accurate to say that Kate (Nina Sosanya) is a figment of Caroline’s (Sarah Lancashire) grief-stricken imagination than a ghost. Whatever she is, Kate’s sudden death is haunting Caroline all the same. It’ll take time and several more chats with her beloved for Caroline to finally let go of this gentle, loving soul.

Caroline coping with grief by talking to "ghost" Kate image credit Red Production Co and BBC

Caroline coping with her loss by talking to “ghost” Kate
image credit Red Production Co and BBC

 

The Black Adder’s Richard III

Decapitation is one of the risks of war in the Middle Ages, I suppose. However, when you’re struck down by the “friendly sword” of one of your underlings, you’re bound to be irritated. Haunting (complete with mortifying name calling) is just what a recently deceased monarch needs to vent his copious amount of frustration.

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This week’s Five for Friday list concerns the return of the beloved comedy/drama Doc Martin. The seventh (and reportedly final) series is currently airing in the UK on ITV and will soon be available in the US. The streaming service Acorn TV will premiere episodes one and two on Monday, October 5 with a new installment added every Monday through November 16. I’ve had an advance look and here’s five reasons why I think it’s worth coming back to Portwenn one more time.

1.The Doc starts therapy

Martin meets with therapist Dr. Timoney (Emily Bevan) image credit Buffalo Pictures

Martin meets with his new therapist 
image credit Buffalo Pictures

As you may recall, at the end if series six, a physically and emotionally battered Louisa (Caroline Catz) decided she needed time away to think about Martin and their marriage.  She packed up herself and baby James and headed to Spain to stay with her mother. Upon leaving Louisa strongly hinted that, in order for their relationship to progress, it might be a good thing for Martin to start seeing a therapist to deal with his myriad problems.

In series seven, Martin takes this request to heart and with a recommendation from his Aunt Ruth (Eileen Atkins) seeks out a therapist, Dr. Rachel Timoney (Emily Bevan). Louisa is pleasantly surprised when she learns of Martin’s compliance with her wishes. That is until she is summoned into a meeting with Dr. Timoney who seems to suggest that Martin is not the only one with issues.

 

2. The opening of Portwenn Fishing Holidays

Al Large (Joe Absolom) with his first unfortunate B&B guest image credit Buffalo Pictures

Al Large (Joe Absolom) with his first unfortunate B&B guest played by Gavin and Stacey’s Melanie Walters
image credit Buffalo Pictures

Also at the end of the last series, Al Large (Joe Absolom) convinced Ruth Ellingham to go into business with him. He planned to turn the farmhouse she inherited from her sister Joan into a bed and breakfast and the property into a retreat for fresh and seawater fishing which he would manage as well.

After a series of frustrating medical delays with the builders he hired, Al is now ready to welcome his first paying customers, the Merchants. Despite his best efforts, Al can’t catch a break and Mrs. Merchant seems to bear the brunt of every misfortune visited upon the enterprise of Portwenn Fishing Holidays.
 

3. Lots of Martin’s adorable pal, Buddy

Buddy and Doc image credit Neil Genower

Buddy and Doc
image credit Neil Genower and ITV

From the very beginning, we have witnessed the village dogs’ utter and inexplicable adoration for the Doc regardless of his obvious animosity towards them. This pattern continues in series seven with Martin reaching such a level of frustration that he resolves to take care of the Buddy problem for good. As you know, Martin Clunes, the actor who plays Dr. Ellingham, is a renowned lover of canines so I don’t think any harm will come to our little terrier friend.

 

4. Guest stars

Martin reunites with former co-star Caroline Quentin image credit Neil Genower and ITV

Martin reunites with former co-star Caroline Quentin
image credit Neil Genower and ITV

Besides the aforementioned Melanie Walters who played Stacey’s mum Gwen in Gavin and Stacey, there are a few other actors making guest appearances this series that you’re sure to recognize. Comedy character actress Rosie Cavaliero (Jam and Jerusalem, Spy, Hunderby and A Young Doctor’s Notebook) plays the new radio DJ in Portwenn. Though I haven’t seen the episode yet, Sigourney Weaver has been confirmed as a guest star this season as well. But I was most pleased to see Martin Clunes reunited with his former girlfriend from Men Behaving Badly, Caroline Quentin. There are some great antagonistic scenes between Dr. Ellingham and Quentin’s strong-willed holistic vet, Angela Sim.

 

5. Lots of Martin being rude

Just in case you were concerned that Martin’s exploits into therapy would render him completely unrecognizable, emotionally speaking, never fear! There’s still plenty of abrupt, blunt and surly Dr. Ellingham to go around.

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image credit BBC

image credit BBC

The 18th series of The Graham Norton Show will be premiering tonight on BBC One in the UK and on October 3rd on BBC America. Alas this is one of the few programs I will miss now that I have jettisoned the repetitive and often irrelevant channel from my life. (Their blog is good, though!)

So in observance of the return of this perennial favorite, I am featuring five of the most memorable moments I can recall from past shows…

David Tennant’s socks: What I enjoy about this clip is the boyish enthusiasm and energy a grown man can summon for such a uncomplicated dilemma. Sometimes simple pleasures are the best, even for a Time Lord.

 

 

Miriam Margolyes: Anytime this woman appears on Graham’s couch, I know we’re in for some bawdy stories. The reactions of the the other guests are almost as funny as the anecdotes themselves.

I particularity liked her appearance with Will.i.am as they seemed to warm up to one another rather nicely especially after the shock value of her hilariously indiscreet tales had worn off a bit.

 

Ghosting: Australian radio personalities Hamish and Andy introduced viewers to the world of competitive  ghosting. I found this bit so funny, I started following them on Twitter. Unfortunately I never saw anything quite so amusing from them again…

 

Accent Masterclass: Jimmy Carr serves as a dialect coach for Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. I’m sure they’ll fit right in on the Geordie Shore now!

 

Best Red Chair Moment:I realize I’ve featured this clip at least two or three times on this blog, but for me it’s the perfect combination of entertaining account, spot on delivery and celebrity reaction to the storyteller. If there was a Red Chair Hall of Fame, Aileen from Derry would most certainly be in it!

 

In recent years I’ve bemoaned the excess of Hollywood A-listers booked on the show and the amount of time Graham spends fawning over Meryl Streep and the like. That being said I still think the format and the tone of Norton’s program is far more entertaining than most chat shows here in the States. Here’s hoping for a new series of transatlantic cooperation and communal laughs from that very loud couch!

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As one who has dallied amongst the world of Gogglebox before, the start of a new series has strengthened my resolve to watch an entire series if I can. For those who aren’t familiar with the UK reality hit, Gogglebox simply films viewers’ reactions while they watch popular TV shows in their living rooms. For example in the first episode of the new series, the following were observations made by some of the Gogglebox families:

  • Ant and Dec are on equal footing with Stephen Fry as national treasures.
  • All the families (or a least representatives within each family) were in favor of helping the Syrian refugees and were embarrassed that it took so long for PM David Cameron to act.
  • Most were not fooled by the X Factor stunt of singer Bupsi switching from a laid back version of ‘All My Loving’ to a raunchy, bluesy number in Tina Turner style and treating Simon Cowell to a lap dance in the process.
  • The Great British Bake-Off continues to be popular as well as the consumption of vol-a-vents.

While the concept may sound simple and a little bit passive, it’s the people who invite us into their homes that make the show compelling. It’s a diverse group of families and friends with a wide range of personalities and unique chemistry between them. Here are five of my favorite combos who make Gogglebox must-see telly.

Sandy and Sandra 

image credit Studio Lambert, All3Media, Channel 4

image credit Studio Lambert, All3Media, Channel 4

Sandy Channer and Sandra Martin hail from Brixton and are Gogglebox veterans from the very first series. Best friends for forty years, the two women are larger than life and very animated to say the least. Neither are afraid to accessorize nor speak their minds. Their joie de vivre is contagious making this duo a delight to watch particularly when they get surprised or excited about what they’re watching.

 

Stephen and Chris

image credit Studio Lambert, All3Media and Channel 4

image credit Studio Lambert, All3Media and Channel 4

Christopher Steed and Stephen Webb are hairdressers from Brighton. They too have been part of Gogglebox from the beginning. Reportedly they were a couple at the start and have since broken up, but obviously remain good mates. Their trademark viewing style is sort of snarky, but they often say the things I’m thinking so that’s nice to feel that we are partners in cynicism. They are also known to take the piss out of one another, but that’s what friends do. However,when the subject matter calls for it, they can be as serious and touched by tragedy as any other Goggleboxer.

 

June and Leon

image credit Studio Lambert, All3Media and Channel 4

Another couple who’ve invited Gogglebox viewers into their home since day one is June and Leon Bernicoff, retired teachers from Liverpool. Viewers like this pair as much for their bickering as they do for their comments on the TV offerings of the day. They don’t seem too keen on people who are famous just for being on the telly which might be sort of ironic. But it’s the underlying affection behind Leon’s flirtatiously rude banter and June’s patient eye-rolling and diet monitor duties that endears us to this couple who’ve endured for over five decades.

 

The Siddiquis

credit image Studio Lambert, All3Media, Channel 4

credit image Studio Lambert, All3Media, Channel 4

Sid Siddiquis and his sons Umar and Baasit live in Derby and have charmed us with their insightful remarks and engaging family anecdotes for all five series so far. The trio (and sometimes a third son, Raza) are not as audacious as some of their Gogglebox counterparts, but this makes a for a good balance on the show. They can intelligently discuss some of the more sober topics they watch on the news or in documentaries but the low key humor between them is always natural and never mean spirited.

 

The Moffats

image credit Studio Lambert, All3Media, Channel 4

image credit Studio Lambert, All3Media, Channel 4

Mum Betty, daughter Scarlett and dad Mark haven’t been around the Gogglebox quite as long (only since series three) but these Northerners from County Durham are perfectly amusing. Scarlett definitely takes the lead when it comes to entertaining quips and observations but her parents get in there with some good witticisms too. I think what resonates about this family for me is they remind me of of the pure pleasure I get from watching TV with my own grown children.

Do you have a favorite Gogglebox clan? And more significantly, which grouping reminds you most of your family or pals?

 

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The Moran sisters and their alter egos from Raised by Wolves image credit Colin Hutton Channel 4

The Moran sisters and their alter egos from Raised by Wolves
image credit Colin Hutton Channel 4

This week’s quintet of telly treats features series or TV movies that recount real life experiences of growing up in England (and in one case, Ireland). Whether set in the 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s, nostalgia is bolstered by the music, fashion and pop culture icons of the given time. Let’s look at what it was like to be a UK teenager through the decades…

 

Danny and the Human Zoo – This recent TV movie is a fictionalized account of the origins of comedian and actor Lenny Henry’s career. Written by Henry who also makes an appearance as the father of the Fearon family, this piece tells the story of 16-year-old Danny (Kacion Franklin) growing up in Dudley with his Jamaican immigrant family. Despite his talent for entertaining jokes and impersonations, Danny encounters prejudice (and violence) as well as young love and a surprisingly quick dose of early fame. Those who remember the 70’s and 80’s era television talent show, New Faces, might recall that Lenny Henry actually won the competition back in 1975.

 

 

Cradle to Grave – This new series, also set in the 70’s, is based on the recollections of comedy writer, panel show guest and radio DJ, Danny Baker’s early days in South London.  (The characters’ names have not been changed to protect the innocent.) This series portrays more carefree times when council estates weren’t grim, soulless places; when fathers who may have been dealing in illegal goods were still nice guys who didn’t beat their wives and children or leave them altogether and teenage lads just wanted to impress the birds with their tonic trousers. Peter Kay plays Spud, Danny’s scheming but goodhearted dad. Laurie Kynaston is young Daniel, a youth with high expectations which get dashed in embarrassing and comical ways.

 

 

Moone Boy – This semi-autobiographical sitcom is the creation of Irish actor Chris O’Dowd along with his writing partner Nick Vincent Murphy. It follows daydreamer Martin Moone (David Rawle), a boy on the verge of puberty who lives in Boyle with his parents and three older sisters. Is it any wonder he still has an imaginary friend, played by O’Dowd himself of course? Many of the episodes are tied to late 80’s/early 90’s historical events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and Ireland’s run for the World Cup.

 

 

My Mad Fat Diary -Move ahead to Lincolnshire in the mid-90’s and we meet the teenage version of radio broadcaster and writer Rae Earl. At just 16, Rae (Sharon Rooney) has had quite a harrowing time of it so far. She’s just been released from a four month stint in a psych ward for an eating disorder and other mental health related conditions, she’s having issues with her mid-life crisis mum (Claire Rushbrook) and she’s expending a lot energy trying to pretend to her new gang of friends that’s she’s completely fine. With the help of her therapist Kester (Ian Hart) and her diary, Rae tries her level best to live a normal teenage life full of music, partying and boys.

 

 

Raised by Wolves – TV presenter, critic and newspaper columnist Caitlin Moran and her sister Caroline share their account of adolescence in this present day sitcom loosely based on their unconventional upbringing in Wolverhampton. Sisters Germaine (Helen Monks) and Aretha (Alexa Davies) are the eldest of six children and very different personalities indeed. Della (Rebekah Staton) their single mum has a talent for DIY and a doomsday prepper outlook. While her children are technically home schooled students, Della’s a hands-off type of parent and mostly leaves them to mow the yard and teach themselves.

 

No matter which decade defines your youth, the nostalgia infused by the writers who lived these stories (more or less) is palpable. It’s a time of life that stays with us no matter how long we live or how far we run from it. Might as well get some laughs out if it, if we can, right?

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Dinnerladies

Labor Day weekend is upon us in the States so this week’s Five for Friday list honors hard working British people on the telly. Makes perfect sense to me. I have opted to omit the expected establishments such as The Office’s Werham Hogg Paper Merchants and The IT Crowd’s Reynholm Industries in favor of some possibly lesser known workplaces.

HWD Components employees’ canteen is staffed by a small group of dedicated food service workers (aka dinnerladies). Well, Bren (Victoria Wood) is competent at least. As in any work environment,  there’s a fair amount of gossip and inattention to customers. And yes, that is Last Tango in Halifax‘s Anne Reid struggling with a tricky body shaper.

 

The trained professionals of The Job Lot‘s Brownall Job Centre are committed to finding their clients meaningful employment – in theory anyhow. The centre’s manager Trish (Sarah Hadland) tries to inspire her staff to greatness or at least more respectable performance numbers. However, with a few unenthusiastic workers in the group and a zealous fraud manager in the field, she certainly has her hands full.

 

The NHS hospital wards of King Edwards (and subsequently St. Judes) are the settings for the stressed medical personnel of Getting On. While curing and comforting the sick should obviously be everyone’s goal, the staff sometimes find themselves at cross purposes. Doctors teaching and conducting research and efficiency consultants looking for waste can often be at odds with nurses like Sister Den Flixter (Joanna Scanlan) who’s just trying to care for her patients.

 

Trollied’s Valco Supermarket is a microcosm of personalities and ambitions. Manager Gavin (Jason Watkins) does his best to keep his troops happy and his store running smoothly. From the butchers and naughty bakers to the bored cashiers and thieving stock boy (who happens to be a grown man), Gavin’s biggest challenge is his interim deputy manager Julie (Jane Horrocks) who is simultaneously rude and insecure.

 

Grace Brothers Department Store is the setting of the classic sitcom Are You Being Served?  It takes us back to a more civilized time when co-workers called each other by their surnames, supervisors kept a tight ship and lewd talk was cloaked in innuendo…

 

No matter which side of the pond you’re on, I hope your weekend is work-free and full of laughter.

 

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