- 2008 - 2009
- BBC Two
- 12 (2 series)
- Simon Doonan
- Olivia Colman, Meera Syal, Aidan McArdle, Luke Ward-Wilkinson, Layton Williams, Sophie Ash, Sarah Niles, Samuel Barnett and more
- Jonathan Harvey
- Gareth Carrivick and David Kerr
- Justin Davies and Jon Plowman
Sitcom based on the childhood memoirs of window-dresser extraordinaire, style arbiter and writer Simon Doonan. The story (transplanted to the 1997 - 2009 time period) follows Simon's childhood reminiscences of escaping the grey gloom of suburban Reading to live amongst the 'Beautiful People' - before coming to the realisation that true beauty, as ever, is closer than we think.
Reading 1997: Simon Doonan has a dream - the dream that one day, he and his best friend, Kyle, aka Kylie, will leave suburban Reading and move to London to be with the Beautiful People. But first of all, they have to wade through their teenage years, brave their extraordinary families and cope with small-town Britain in the Nineties.
Fortunately, home for Simon is far from dull. For the Doonans, every day is an adventure which usually ends either in hospital or at the police station, and nearly always at the bottom of a bottle of homemade chicken and mushroom wine. On top of that, family and friends all feel the need to burst into song at the slightest opportunity.
Bottle-blonde mum, Debbie, and her Irish husband, Andy, fight fiercely to protect not just Simon but also his "ghetto princess" sister, 16-year-old Ashlene. Debbie's best friend, "aunty" Hayley, lives under the same roof and her blindness doesn't stop her driving, looking for love and reliving her protesting days at Greenham Common.
The comedy starts in the present day in Barneys window, New York. Soon though Simon begins to reminisce and we're transported back to 1997 where a thirteen-year-old Simon and his best friend Kyle can't open a fridge door without belting out a show tune. And his family is even more eccentric.
Mum Debbie is a whirlwind of matriarchal warmth in killer heels. Dad Andy is a lovable Irish softy and avid wine maker and older sister Ashlene is a wannabe ghetto queen. Then there's family the lodgers: blind Aunty Hayley, and lobotomised grandma Narg ('gran' backwards) who lost God and found a foul mouth.
Stream and download
- Camera set-up
- Single camera
- Beautiful People Theme - written and performed by Dan Gillespie Sells and Ian Masterson.
Additional music by Chloe Nicholson with The BBC Concert Orchestra.
See our episode guides for the tracks used in each episode.
- First broadcast
- Thursday 2nd October 2008 at 9:30pm on BBC Two