The Other One (1970s sitcom)

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Brock
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The Other One (1970s sitcom)

Post by Brock »

Graham McCann discusses the Richard Briers/Michael Gambon sitcom The Other One in his latest article, and speculates on why it wasn't considered a success:

https://www.comedy.co.uk/features/comed ... ldve-done/

"Some so-called flops, when revisited today, really do seem as though they could've and should've been successes, and are ripe for reappraisal."

I remember watching the first episode and really enjoying it; but I can only presume it didn't go down well in our household, as I never saw any other episodes. I hadn't even realized that it came back for a second series. McCann has a number of theories about why it didn't go down too well, but perhaps it was simply on the wrong channel - would the downbeat style of humour have been more appropriate to BBC2 than BBC1? Also, the title wasn't memorable, and didn't really have any relation to the programme that I could fathom.

Nevertheless, that opening episode has stayed in my memory most of my life, which is more than I can say for a lot of other opening sitcom episodes!

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Billy Smart
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Re: The Other One

Post by Billy Smart »

Graham McCann's (characteristically excellent) article has doubled the amount of thoughtful critical writing about The Other One - there was also this piece by Jason Hazeley in 2015: http://foreverdecreasingcircles.blogspo ... r-one.html

Watching it a couple of years ago, I preferred the first series to the second. Ralph and Brian's odd friendship felt a bit more purposeful in the holiday location than when they got home, where it becomes rather meandering (albeit always interesting).

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Ian Wegg
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Re: The Other One

Post by Ian Wegg »

I had no recollection of this until I read those articles and the title meant nothing to me at all (I nearly bypassed this post thinking it was about the recent Holly Walsh penned sitcom of the same name).

I can just recall watching the first episode and disliking the Richard Briers character to the extent that I didn't want to watch any more. It would be interesting to see how it looks today. I'm not sure "reappraisal" is the correct term, I stand by my original opinion but the character may be funnier in hindsight than it was at the time.

Brock
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Re: The Other One

Post by Brock »

Ian Wegg wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:31 am
I had no recollection of this until I read those articles and the title meant nothing to me at all (I nearly bypassed this post thinking it was about the recent Holly Walsh penned sitcom of the same name).
Subject line edited to avoid confusion.

Brock
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Re: The Other One (1970s sitcom)

Post by Brock »

If anyone has access to the TV Times, I'd be quite interested to know what it was up against on ITV.

Series 1: Fridays 8.30pm BBC1, 11 Nov-16 Dec and 30 Dec 1977
Series 2: Fridays 8.30pm BBC1, 23 Feb-30 March 1979

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stearn
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Re: The Other One (1970s sitcom)

Post by stearn »

In the London region, at least, half the 1977 series was up against Hawaii Five-O and the remainder General Hospital. Of course, those had already been on for 30 minutes before The Other One Started.

The 1979 series was up against Flambards, again, starting 30 minutes before.

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Simon36
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Re: The Other One (1970s sitcom)

Post by Simon36 »

This is a fascinating thread. I think Jason H is spot on about the lack of a strong counterpoint to Ralph. It leaves the audience an awful lot of work to do. But I totally disagree with him about Tom Good being a potentially dislikable character and a bully. I do feel that’s something of an exaggeration.

Interestingly, in Ever Decreasing Circles I feel there are moments when the Paul character becomes quite unpleasant. The awful “public footpath” episode, which takes the characters to ludicrous extremes (wonderful series as it was, it does this on a handful of misbegotten occasions) is an example.

Having watched some of TOO today, it feels strangely incomplete to me, the passivity of the Gambon character leaves far too much of a void, and I’m never quite sure who the lead character is meant to be. But there are some truly gorgeous lines.

There are even more obscure flops in the Briers canon of course. Goodnight Mr Kent and Birds on a Wing...

Mark
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Re: The Other One (1970s sitcom)

Post by Mark »

I enjoyed it, ( as Billy said, the first series was the best) as a big fan of Esmonde and Larbey, I can't think of anything they did, I didn't like, but with this one it probably was a bit of a struggle with two lead characters who were ultimately losers.

It was interesting to read about the theme, and I have to agree about it, perhaps Hazlehurst felt sorry for them and came up with the saddest tune he did.
"A cup of Tea....Tea...Tea"

murphy1961
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Re: The Other One (1970s sitcom)

Post by murphy1961 »

I’ve never heard of it, or at least don’t recall it, as it may never have been screened in Australia (although very short British comedy series’ have been screened here before, so it may have been) but I can see why it wasn’t exactly a rip-roaring success, pretty much for all the reasons mentioned. It’s certainly an intriguing series though, but I guess just being “intriguing” isn’t enough for a comedy to succeed. The theme certainly is interesting, it feels like something that belongs to a show like Armchair Thriller, or something of that genre.

It's always nice to discover an old show you don’t know much (or anything) about, it's just like discovering a new show.

JezR
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Re: The Other One (1970s sitcom)

Post by JezR »

I guess I must have liked it when first shown as I recorded audio copies of some of the first series, which I didn't do that much. In the end I suppose it just appealed to too narrow a set of people.

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