Semi-Detached

Semi-Detached. Image shows from L to R: Ted (Patrick Baladi), Barry (Geoffrey McGivern), Stuart (Lee Mack), Kate (Samantha Spiro). Copyright: Happy Tramp Productions.

Semi-Detached

Real-time sitcom following the hapless Stuart as he struggles through the worst half an hour of his life

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jsg

  • Sunday 6th January 2019, 3:02pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 189 posts

There's a pilot on at 10 on BBC Two tonight starring Lee Mack. I'm interested to see him in a narrative series besides Not Going Out personally

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Chappers

  • Sunday 6th January 2019, 9:22pm
  • Surreyish., England
  • 29,931 posts

Only 20 minutes?

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Sitcomfan64

  • Sunday 6th January 2019, 10:25pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 490 posts

Very odd. So much crammed into twenty minutes. Any reason this wasn't a half hour? All felt a bit hectic. Some good gags though, Baladi and Spiro the comic high points. I'd certainly give a series a chance, once we actually have time for some character development.

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Rood Eye

  • Sunday 6th January 2019, 10:28pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 1,827 posts

The show's gimmick appears to be that it all happens in real time and the reason for that is apparently that it gives everything a sense of urgency.

If I might give the BBC a little advice: if you want a script with a sense of urgency you can get it by employing any competent scriptwriter.

Talking about the script, it wasn't dreadful by any means but with a cast of that quality, I think a more entertaining 20 minutes might have ensued if they'd been assembled around a table with a few drinks and snacks and asked to chat among themselves while the cameras rolled.

The BBC website describes the program as a "real-time sitcom following the hapless Stuart as he struggles through the worst half hour of his life".

So, they're showing half-an-hour's action in real time . . . and it takes only 20 minutes?

That's a bloody good trick!

And as for last night's action constituting the worst half hour of Stuart's life, all I can say is I'm pretty sure almost every adult in the world has had a more unpleasant half-hour than Stuart had to endure last night. On that basis, Stuart should consider himself a very lucky man indeed.

"Semi-detached", on the whole, isn't bad but what quality it displayed last night was due largely to the star-studded cast rather than to the not-very-original script which appears to have been rather hastily cobbled together. This pilot could have been a lot better without the real-time "gimmick", some light and shade in the anxiety department, and an extra 10 minutes.

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jsg

  • Sunday 6th January 2019, 10:30pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 189 posts

Great stuff! I think he was a good choice for something as eclectic as this

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Will Cam

  • Monday 7th January 2019, 4:57am
  • England
  • 7,846 posts

Haven't listened to his yet but I will because Lee Mack is a very funny man.

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Chappers

  • Monday 7th January 2019, 9:00pm
  • Surreyish., England
  • 29,931 posts

Yes it was a bit strange. Not bad but not brilliant. I hadn't read the "real time" gimmick and to me it never really mattered. It wasn't that obvious.

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Aaron

  • Wednesday 9th January 2019, 12:42am
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,225 posts

I really enjoyed this pilot. Very odd run time indeed but it had big laughs and characters I'd like to see more of and learn about. Definitely hope a series follows.

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jsg

  • Wednesday 9th January 2019, 6:32pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 189 posts

A series would be brilliant

Ian Wolf from this site reviewed the pilot for OnTheBox:

There is certainly a lot crammed into this 20 minute comedy. It certainly fits into the role of farce and does so well, with plenty of great slapstick moments.

I must confess that before watching Semi-Detached I wasn't expecting much, but having seen it I've totally fallen for it. It was a great contained piece. Whether it can be expanded into a full series is a different matter, but I'd like to see it done.

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Rood Eye

  • Wednesday 9th January 2019, 7:35pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 1,827 posts

Quality-wise, it was very similar to an extended Comic Relief sketch with lots of top-name performers having fun with a script that, although adequate and well-intentioned, was no match for their talents.

If they decide to turn it into a series, it might be absolutely brilliant or it might not.

One thing of which I'm sure however is that on a good night, the cast from "Cats Does Countdown" or "Would I Lie to You?" could improvise a better 20 minutes than this.

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Will Cam

  • Wednesday 9th January 2019, 10:59pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 7,846 posts

I just watched this and thoroughly enjoyed it. Good performance from Lee Mack.

I think a sign of quality writing is being able to define characters in as short a time as possible. This was only 20 minutes long but has nicely set up the 8 main characters.

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jsg

  • Thursday 10th January 2019, 10:28pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 189 posts
Quote: Rood Eye @ 9th January 2019, 7:35 PM

One thing of which I'm sure however is that on a good night, the cast from "Cats Does Countdown" or "Would I Lie to You?" could improvise a better 20 minutes than this.

As good as the last series of Would I Lie To You? was, I really doubt that

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Rood Eye

  • Thursday 10th January 2019, 11:18pm
  • England
  • 1,827 posts

The show clearly hit the mark with several people from this site but I just feel that much of the dialogue and much of the action was plucked straight out of the air and given to the actors without any regard for what might realistically be said or done by the characters had they been real.

I have no idea why we were promised 30 minutes but were given only 20. If we ever hear the (real) reason for that anomaly, it might explain a lot.

If somebody told me the Mafia had threatened the writers that if a series were to be commissioned, they'd be sleeping with the fishes, it would explain everything.

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Rood Eye

  • Friday 11th January 2019, 12:12am [Edited]
  • England
  • 1,827 posts

A reviewer on IMDb says:

"Just when you thought British sitcom couldn't get any worse, ...

I don't know who thought this would be funny or clever, but it is neither. It is hard to feel any empathy for a single character: the stupid and ineffectual father-to-be who has done nothing to prepare for the imminent birth, the pregnant woman who acts like the worst stereotype, the gay father who is not as staid as fathers usually are, the ex-wife who is standing for election, the neighbour who builds a pagoda naked and cuts off his thumb, ... I could not believe any of them would exist, nor why the writers thought I might."

He's not wrong.

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Feeoree

  • Saturday 12th January 2019, 4:44pm [Edited]
  • Basildon, England
  • 565 posts

Given the running time I feel like some of it must have been cut? The brother stuff seem slightly disjointed (he's high and giggly, then he's not, then he's acting all high again in the living room in the space of 10 minutes), and the dad's boyfriend was suddenly gone (though he could have just just got dressed and left before the dad was in the room vaping with the girlfriend).

That said, I enjoyed it, and I from what I can tell, despite the break-neck speed of the pilot, that the character's histories together and dynamics have been well planned out and probably detailed well in the writer's minds, which bodes well if there's ever a series. Hope the episodes are 30 minutes though. As much as the hecticness was amusing, it was a bit TOO fast and the 19 min run time could do with an extra 5ish minutes if it goes to series. Needs a little bit of breathing room for the audience (though I guess the toilet scene provided that here, to an extent).

The bit in the garden with Barry and Ted got a genuine big laugh from me.
"How many fingers am I holding up?"
"Are you taking the piss?!"