Ideal. Image shows from L to R: Moz (Johnny Vegas), Judith (Joanna Neary), Nicki (Nicola Reynolds), Cartoon Head (David Sant). Image credit: Baby Cow Productions.

Ideal

A cult BBC Three sitcom starring Johnny Vegas as a small-time drug dealer. A large ensemble cast of characters visit Moz's flat each week

Genre:
Sitcom
Broadcast:
2005 - 2011  (BBC Three)
Episodes:
54 (7 series)
Starring:
Johnny Vegas, Nicola Reynolds, Tom Goodman-Hill, Sinead Matthews, Ben Crompton, Graham Duff, Ryan Pope, James Foster, David Sant, Joanna Neary, Seymour Mace
Writers:
Graham Duff, Tony Burgess
Production:
Baby Cow Productions

Moz is a small-time hash dealer who lives in a run-down flat. He is a low achiever, and quite happy with it, but his girlfriend Nicki has aspirations for a better life...

The series takes place almost entirely in Moz's flat with his chosen 'profession' serving as the backdrop for a very colourful array of customers and misfits who pass through his life on a daily basis.

After fleeing the UK in order to avoid a possible prison sentence at the end of Series 5, the story goes that Moz and Jenny travelled to several different countries - although Jenny doesn't seem to remember which ones. When they turn up on the doorstep at the start of Series 6, it isn't quite the homecoming they'd hoped for.

For a start, PC, the police constable had taken up residence in Moz's old flat with Moz's ex-girlfriend Nicki. Not only that, but with PC bringing home all the weed he's confiscated, Nicki is now dealing to Moz's original circle of clients and has seriously boosted profits. This series also welcomed a new tenant to the block. Tilly (Janeane Garofalo) is a beautiful, witty, artistic American girl, who runs her own small designer clothes shop: Trash Wednesday.

The seventh series sees Moz's finances hit rock bottom, forcing him to return to his first career; hash dealing. Unfortunately, Nicki is still running her own dealing business from the flat next door. So it isn't long before a price war kicks off, with each desperately trying to undercut the other.

Meanwhile a new gang has hit the streets of Salford which not only threatens Moz and Nicki's dealing businesses, but also their very lives! This deadly gang of killer gingers are known as the Red Mist and are led by the Red King (Rula Lenska).

Our Review: Not everyone was a fan, but we really loved this dark, down-beat and subtle sitcom. It's definitely one of the best comedy programmes BBC Three has ever made.

The unsavory world of drug dealing doesn't sound like a barrel of laughs, but the performances by Johnny Vegas and the rest of the cast make this a very watchable show. Graham Duff has a real talent for dreaming up interesting characters and dark situations, and packs clever one-liners into the show.

In case you haven't worked it out yet, Ideal is not a family sitcom. It features topics like murder, rent boys and necrophilia... and that's all in just one episode!

Be warned: if you do give this comedy a try (you should), the soap-like plotlines are likely to quickly hook you in, so leave time to watch all the episodes.

The final episode of Series 5 very much felt like a conclusion to the show (presumably written as such because the production team were not expecting a recommission), but the show returned to the delight of fans in August 2010, and again in 2011 for its seventh outing. However, following the appointment of a new channel controller to BBC Three, the story came to a close at that point.

However, in May 2012 it was revealed that writer Graham Duff is working on a potential film script based on the characters. Details