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 4

Young at heart

The sex lives of the over-sixties is not a subject you often hear about on TV but a BBC sitcom about just that, The Old Guys, has been a hit. The Scotsman talks to two of its stars about getting on... and behaving badly.

Claire Black, The Scotsman, 23rd February 2009

The Old Guys .v. Still Game

Two old men - one wee and fat, one tall and skinny. While they may be entitled to a bus pass, they are still up to all sorts of tricks. At last it's the return of Scotland's pride and joy, Still Game, despite the rumours it was over. Wait. No. It's called The Old Guys and stars a guy from The Vicar of Dibley and one from Keeping Up Appearances.

Rick Fulton, Daily Record, 5th February 2009

If I hadn't known that new Saturday night sitcom The Old Guys was from Peep Show pair Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, would I have given it the time of day? Probably not. At first glance this was just another variant on the Odd Couple theme: mismatched housemates bitch and bicker, the twist being that this pair had one foot in the grave.

And there was certainly a touch of the Meldrews about Tom and Roy as they railed against a future that promised prostrates the size of Spacehoppers and joked about who'd get Alzheimer's first. But there was a touching hint of vulnerability amid the black comedy and a script that refreshing refused to dumb down for a mainstream Saturday night audience. "I don't want my daughter to take me to the toilet - it's not a Ken Loach film!" declared Tom, flying deliriously over the heads of his viewers.

Keith Watson, Metro, 2nd February 2009

The old guys in The Old Guys are engaged in a sedate but still desperate competition to appear less old than they are, and, specifically, less old than each other. In the first of this new sitcom, the pair institute a competition to prove which has the stronger bladder. Caught short at their neighbour Sally's party, Tom and Roy end up peeing in her kitchen sink. Fortunately they get away with this and no one notices. Oh, no they don't! Sally discovers them mid-leak. Reaction shot. Cue music, applause and credits.

I was hoping for a little more from Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, the creators of the blissful Peep Show. But although their subject is age, this is a piece of juvenilia, brought to the screen many years after its first drafts. Happily for us, but sadly for the show, comedy has moved on in the meantime. Thanks to Peep Show, among other programmes, it is now twice as hard to make work a multicamera, two-set sitcom, videoed in front of a live audience. Thanks also to Peep Show, we expect comedy characterisation to go deeper than tired divisions between tidy and slobby, introvert and extrovert. At the moment, the best ways to read nuance into the pair is to imagine that Tom, played as a decayed but still snobbish student by Roger Lloyd Pack, is an older version of Peep Show's Jeremy. That would make Clive Swift's Roy, for whom a cravat is never out of the question, Mark.

Andrew Billen, The Times, 2nd February 2009

Coming from the comedy genius minds of Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show) and Simon Blackwell (The Thick Of It), we were hoping for Peep Show with a Bus Pass and Arthritis. And we almost got it. But the tone was wrong (nowhere near dark enough or real enough) and, instead of being fresh and funny, it was just another humdrum BBC1 sitcom.

The Custard TV, 2nd February 2009

There's more realism in The Old Guys than Not Going Out, within the comic boundaries that allow characters to bet on holding off going to the toilet and then when becoming desperate, decide to go in the kitchen sink, whereupon they are caught by an entire party of guests. But at least the leads, Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger in Only Fools And Horses) and Clive Swift (Richard in Keeping Up Appearances) are very experienced actors who make their performances seem natural.

It's written by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, who also write the brilliant Peep Show, and the lazy description is that the old guys are Mark and Jeremy grown older but no wiser. The odd couple - conventional guy, crazy guy - is such a perennial set up because it works, but while this ticked along pleasantly, the jokes just didn't seem to be there.

Of course, BBC Scotland already has another pensioner sitcom in Still Game, which has a sense of place and a specific culture to play off that, so far, The Old Guys lacks.

Andrea Mullaney, The Scotsman, 2nd February 2009

Sound the trumpets: it's a new sitcom from writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, the team behind Channel 4's wonderful, Bafta-winning Peep Show. And they haven't strayed far from that show's premise: two blokes living together and getting on each other's nerves. The difference is age - this is Peep Show crossed with One Foot in the Grave, if you like.

Tom (Roger Lloyd-Pack) is a feckless baby-boomer, who has never quite left the 60s behind; Roy (Clive Swift) is more the old-style suburban pensioner. Their banter revolves around who will get Alzheimer's first, whose bladder is stronger and who has the better chance with glamorous neighbour Sally (Jane Asher).

The writing is as sharp as you'd expect and the performances might just gel into something special.

David Butcher, Radio Times, 31st January 2009

A new sitcom by Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, the writers of Channel 4's excellent if uncomfortably dark Peep Show. Their new creation - which is about the misadventures of two elderly friends, played by Roger Lloyd Pack and Clive Swift - is warmer, but anarchic none the less.

Matt Warman, The Telegraph, 31st January 2009

This new sitcom, written by the same team responsible for Peep Show, sounded promising. It describes the lives of two men of a certain age who met in a pub and ended up living together. One is divorced, the other is a widower, and they both lust after their neighbour. Instead of reaching for pipe and slippers, the two of them belong to a generation that grew up with the Rolling Stones; although they may joke about age and decrepitude, in spirit they are eternally young. There is nothing wrong with the comic performances, but such an unashamedly old-fashioned format is strangely at odds with its subject matter. Peep Show this isn't.

David Chater, The Times, 31st January 2009

Any new sitcom by Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, the sharp brains behind the excellent Peep Show is going to be worth a look, and this could have the makings of a classic. Roger-Lloyd Pack and Clive Swift star as the mismatched Tom and Roy, one a baby boomer who never left the 60s behind, the other an OAP with intellectual delusions of grandeur. Throw into the mix glamourous neighbour Sally (the still sexy as hell Jane Asher), who the boys have the hots for, and you have the makings of a classic sitcom. Fingers crossed...

Mark Wright, The Stage, 29th January 2009

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