Over Here. Archie Bunting (Samuel West). Image credit: British Broadcasting Corporation.

Over Here

Comedy drama set at an air-base in East England in 1942, when an RAF Spitfire squadron is joined by the first USAAF recruits

Genre:
Comedy Drama
Broadcast:
1996  (BBC One)
Episodes:
2 (1 series)
Starring:
Samuel West, Jay Goede, Geraldine James, Jack Shepherd, Todd Boyce, Sharon Geater, Peter Wingfield, Timothy West, Martin Clunes, Damien Matthews, Andrew Lincoln
Writers:
John Sullivan
Production:
British Broadcasting Corporation

Based on an idea by Ernest Maxin, 'Buddy & Chum', Over Here is a comedy drama about the first group of American Air Force recruits to arrive in England in 1941.

Everything is running smoothly at first: the USAAF base is ready weeks ahead of schedule, and America's finest are heading across the Atlantic to man it. Unfortunately, just hours before the first squadron's arrival, a surprise Luftwaffe raid leaves the base destroyed, and the British forced to squeeze as many Americans as possible into nearby RAF Lytchmere.

Problems for the Allies don't end there, as a miscommunication leads Spitfire Squadron Leader Archie Bunting to almost shoot down the Americans' transport plane. Relations between the two sides are strained even further due to a series of cock-ups, not to mention the actions of the well-meaning but naïve and untactful new arrivals.

Our Review: Over Here is somewhat light on laughs, but we quite enjoyed it. The story is fairly engaging - if not a little drier than our tastes usually stretch to - and there are some very entertaining characters. Martin Clunes must get a special mention for his role as Group Captain Barker, stealing almost every scene he's present in, and kudos must go to writer John Sullivan for penning a show that balanced the positive and negative attributes of both American and British sides without relying heavily on the old stereotypes.

Our only real complaint is that at 2x90 minutes the show feels somewhat over-long. We suspect that it would have had a better pace - and perhaps have been able to play the humour a little more - as something more like 4x45 minutes.