Joking Apart. Image shows from L to R: Mark Taylor (Robert Bathurst), Becky Johnson (Fiona Gillies). Copyright: BBC
Joking Apart

Joking Apart

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC Two
  • 1991 - 1995
  • 13 episodes (2 series)

Stand-up comedian Mark is left by his wife. He must attempt to win Becky back, get revenge on her new man Trevor, and deal with her well-meaning but simple friends, Tracy and Robert. Stars Robert Bathurst, Fiona Gillies, Tracie Bennett, Paul Raffield and Paul Mark Elliott

Press clippings

DVD Times Review

An honest, bitter and funny sitcom. Moffat isn't afraid to reveal the anger and disappointment that comes from a failing marriage. For that, though, this viewer was often quite uneasy with much of Joking Apart. Too often, it veered very close to the kind of farce of which there was too much of during my youth. Click link for full article.

Eamonn McCusker, DVD Times, 13th March 2008

The performances are spot-on. Robert Bathurst is perfectly cast as the arrogant but suffering Mark Taylor, his desperation evident from the outset. Bathurst is almost too convincing with Moffat's razor-sharp dialogue. But no sooner does the tension build than it is dissipated by a one-liner.

The Latest, 29th February 2008

Joking Apart DVD Review

Despite the fact that it is - on occasion - very funny, Joking Apart is a fairly difficult show to fall in love with. Click link for full article.

Seb Patrick, Den Of Geek, 28th February 2008

Farce that rose from the grave

The Telegraph reports on the extraordinary story behind Joking Apart's DVD release.

Shane Jarvis, The Telegraph, 8th May 2006

Fool If You Think It's Over

Off The Telly reports on the struggle to bring Joking Apart out on DVD in this excellent article. Includes interviews with Robert Bathurst, Steven Moffat and Craig Robins, the man who organised the DVD release.

Graham Kibble-White, Off The Telly, 1st May 2006

It took me a while to get into this comedy series. It's sort of an English Seinfeld, the mishaps and accidents and emotional morasses of a stand-up comic with layers of slapstick added.

The star, Robert Bathurst is less convincing as the comic, better at the slapstick. Like the programme itself, he's better at frolicking the half hour away in comedies of embarrassment and farce than he is at being all moody and deep.

David Flusfeder, The Sunday Times, 5th February 1995

I am developing a distinct taste for Joking Apart. Steven Moffat's clever, and anguished black comedy about marriage failure. The pilot, which was shown last year, was a strange, unnerving piece of sitcom. But last night's follow up was exceptionally funny, and it's interesting to see the slight change of emphasis that have obviously been made. One to watch.

Marcus Berkmann, Daily Mail, 15th January 1993

I don't want to get prematurely excited, but BBC2's Joking Apart is distinctly promising as 'a new adult comedy series'.

In other words, this is middle-class sitcom with sex and mild swear-words. Gosh! It took the trenchant Drop the Dead Donkey to show what really happened after office parties (you wake up with your face in a curry at a railway station).

Steven Moffat's Joking Apart hardly aspires to the standard of the divine DTDD, but as an analysis of modern divorce it's quite funny and acute so far. Robert Bathurst and Fiona Gillies are much too pretty and clean to be entirely true to life, but maybe separation will roughen them up.

Maureen Paton, The Daily Express, 8th January 1993

I've virtually given up looking for a good new British sitcom; they're all too bland, heavy-handed and frankly unfunny. Joking Apart has its problems but possesses a certain dark, mordant wit. But the show has a huge casting problem. Robert Bathurst, as Mark, is a conventionally handsome actor, but not one who can successfully convey the frustration of being a creative writer.

David Gritten, The Telegraph, 8th January 1993

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