The Old Guys. Image shows from L to R: Tom (Roger Lloyd Pack), Roy (Clive Swift). Copyright: BBC
The Old Guys

The Old Guys

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC One
  • 2009 - 2010
  • 12 episodes (2 series)

Old guys Tom and Roy live together and lust over sexy neighbour Sally. Stars Roger Lloyd Pack, Clive Swift, Jane Asher, Katherine Parkinson, Justin Edwards and Vincent Ebrahim

Press clippings Page 2

Roy and Tom's wildest dreams actually come true tonight when Sally (Jane Asher) temporarily moves into their house. She's having her bathroom repaired and how can they refuse a damsel in distress? Simon Blackwell has written a gem of an episode as the pair of them go all-out to impress Sally with their five-star hospitality.

Annoyingly though, Sally seems far more interested this week in going off on exciting day trips with cafe owner Rajan (Vincent Ebrahim) who also fancies his chances. It's a simple set-up packed with memorable one-liners. But funniest of all perhaps is Roy (Clive Swift) serving up giant-sized cheese straws, and his rather adorable attempts to avoid hearing any news during the day.

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 30th July 2010

Something's bothering me about this second series of The Old Guys. Vincent Ebrahim has joined as Rajan, a local café owner, but his character is underwritten and adds nothing - so why introduce him? Tonight the mystery deepens, as Tom and Roy meet Rajan as if for the first time and his café opens for business - though they've encountered him and it in previous episodes. Did the writers think we wouldn't notice? Anomalies aside, it's an enjoyable storyline. "Finally I'll get to do things my way," Tom gloats. "No cooker, no kettle, just a Sodastream. Everything fizzy! Fizzy milk, Roy - the dream!"

David Butcher, Radio Times, 23rd July 2010

The second series continues of this hybrid of Men Behaving Badly and The Odd Couple. As usual, schoolboyish OAPs Tom (Roger Lloyd Pack) and Roy (Clive Swift) are trying to attract the same woman, Sally (Jane Asher). Roy mocks Tom's flirting technique thus: "That's your pretend laugh. I thought you were choking." I gave a few pretend laughs myself, but some real ones, too.

The Telegraph, 16th July 2010

Tonight, another episode that builds slowly but soon gets us laughing along to the delusional antics of bickering odd couple Tom and Roy. Their combination of emotional clumsiness and determination to do each other down keeps reminding you of another pair of hopeless, cohabiting men... Of course, it's Mark and Jez in Peep Show, written by the same writing team! The Old Guys is softer edged and slower paced, but the observation can be just as sharp. This week the pair end up competing to impress the same potential date. A highlight is Roy's description of what his marriage used to be like, which begins, "Have you ever been to the London Dungeon...?"

David Butcher, Radio Times, 16th July 2010

Jane Asher, Cherie Lunghi and, this week, Tessa Wyatt - the woman who once broke Tony Blackburn's heart. Well, we can see what Roy and Tom's type is when it comes to women: middle-class, actressy types with lovely vowels and no interest in either Roy or Tom.

Having finally accepted that they don't stand a chance with their neighbour Sally, this week the pair decide to break their addiction to her by meeting other women.

As they both end up on the same date with the same woman, the comedy is as corny and predictable as ever, but it's carried along by Roger Lloyd Pack and Clive Swift's considerable boyish charm.

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 16th July 2010

Written by Peep Show creators Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, with assistance from Simon Blackwell, The Old Guys is a reasonably successful attempt at fitting their "edgy" comic sensibilities - they also contribute to The Thick of It - within a more traditional mainstream framework.

Amusing, lively and nicely performed, this comedy about mismatched OAPs, played by sitcom stalwarts Roger Lloyd-Pack and Clive Swift, has improved since its first series.

Lloyd-Pack in particular looks far more comfortable, and hogs all the best lines as a feckless old hippie.

While the similarities to Peep Show, in terms of dialogue and characterisation, are still distracting, The Old Guys has an agreeable charm of its own. Ignore the woeful My Family which goes out before it: the mainstream sitcom is far from dead.

Paul Whitelaw, The Scotsman, 13th July 2010

It wasn't a proud evening for television. BBC1 saw the return of a couple of lame old sitcoms. It was like having a pair of irritating old uncles round for the evening, affable enough, but not half as funny as think they are. Oh they are inoffensive I suppose, but inoffensive isn't really good enough for prime-time Friday night viewing. My Family's continued success, year after year, is an absolute mystery to me. The Old Guys is the younger and marginally less irritating of the two uncles. To be fair, I did quite like one line: "She keeps on going out with men who aren't even remotely us." But nor is "quite like one line" good enough.

Sam Wollaston, The Guardian, 10th July 2010

What at first glance appeared to be an unpromising hybrid of Grumpy Old Men and One Foot in the Grave has turned out to be rather an endearing sitcom, which is back for a second series starting tonight. The two central characters, played by veterans Roger Lloyd Pack (instantly recognisable as Trigger from Only Fools and Horses, despite the shaggy grey hair and stubble) and Clive Swift (aka Mr Hyacinth Bucket) are not simply crotchety, they're also randy, caustic, competitive and mean - the opening scene finds them eating stale rice cakes with tomato purée for breakfast because they're in deadlock about whose turn it is to do the "big shop". Writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong previously created the Channel 4 odd-couple comedy Peep Show, so they're skilled at creating awkward scenarios, but it is the casual banter between Tom (Lloyd Pack), a sarcastic one-time rock'n'roller, and Roy (Swift), a peevish wannabe sophisticate, that makes the show. The best moment in this opening episode comes when the two of them attempt to impress a sexy new librarian (Cherie Lunghi) with their choice of reading material. Tom opts for Madame Bovary, a DIY manual and a book about improving sexual technique. "She's going to think I'm a sensitive, practical guy who's good in bed," he boasts. "Or possibly a suicidal self-abuser whose shelves are falling down," Roy retorts. OK, so it's not Seinfeld, but it's worth a look.

Sam Richards, The Telegraph, 9th July 2010

The Old Guys get back on the bus (for free, presumably) for a second series. Written by Peep Show's Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong with The Thick of It writer Simon Blackwell and a cast that includes Clive Swift, Roger Lloyd Pack, Katherine Parkinson and Jane Asher, it oozes class. Series one perhaps didn't quite live up to expectations, but really warmed up over the six episodes. Let's hope that continues with tonight's first episode, as the pair try to win a pub quiz.

The Guardian, 9th July 2010

Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong are a writing team garlanded with awards for their work on edgy comedies like The Thick of It and Peep Show. They also co-wrote the film Four Lions, Chris Morris's black comedy about suicide bombers. It might seem a far cry from Four Lions to two old codgers, but Bain and Armstrong's likeable sitcom about an ageing pair of ill-matched blokes has the same vein of recognisable absurdity running through it as all their best stuff. As we rejoin Roy (Clive Swift) and Tom (Roger Lloyd Pack), in an episode written by Simon Blackwell, they are eating olives and rice cakes for breakfast while arguing about whose turn it is to do the shopping. The fact that male hopelessness in everything from shopping to romance remains as much a problem in age as in youth is a joke the series plays off well. The pair are still clumsily besotted with their neighbour Sally (Jane Asher) and concerned that she has a new boyfriend ("She keeps going out with men who aren't even remotely us," moans Tom). But now there's a new distraction - a stylish librarian, Barbara, played by Cherie Lunghi.

David Butcher, Radio Times, 9th July 2010

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