Heartburn Hotel. Harry Springer (Tim Healy). Image credit: British Broadcasting Corporation.

Heartburn Hotel

Sitcom set in Birmingham's grotty Olympic Hotel, run by ex-Army man and Bucks Fizz devotee Harry Springer

1998 - 2000  (BBC One)
13 (2 series)
Tim Healy, Clive Russell, Peter Gunn, Zita Sattar, Kim Wall, Ifan Huw Dafydd, Stephen Aintree, Kaleem Janjua, Madaleine Moffat, Karzan Krekar, Adlyn Ross & more
Steve Glover, John Sullivan
British Broadcasting Corporation

Harry Springer keenly bought up a Birmingham hotel when the newspapers were sure that the city would win the bid to host the 1992 Olympics. When it failed, the ex-Army cook was left with a grotty, run-down and now-Olympic-themed business: its assests include the Torville & Dean Lounge, Fatima Whitbread Grill, and rooms such as the Eddie The Eagle Suite.

His residents are mostly supplied by the DSS and other Government agencies: a guest paying of their own accord is a rare luxury at the Olympic!

Springer's sidekick is Duggie, a socialist-leaning teacher who served with him in the Falklands war. Harry's hapless nephew Simon also ends up staying among the homeless and hopeless who make up the rest of the guests.

Our Review: In our opinion, Heartburn Hotel is one of the great, underappreciated gems of British comedy. It's certainly true that some episodes are noticeably better than others, but when it's good, it really is very, very good indeed - and who would expect much less from a sitcom co-written by John Sullivan (Only Fools And Horses, Citizen Smith)?

Admittedly, Series 2 suffers from a cast change, in the hotel's cleaner/waitress/dogsbody Debbie, but otherwise our only complaint is that this is not (at the time of writing) available on DVD.