Out

NGO 2 trio

Not Going Out went out on Friday night. I watched it. This being the first of seven episodes, I had no hand in the writing of it. (This is because I was working with Simon Day on another project in January and wasn’t available to join the NGO team until February.) It was written by Lee Mack, Simon Evans, Paul Kerensa and Peter Tilbury. Yes, Peter Tilbury of the old school who’s most famous for creating and writing Shelley. You’ll see Lee, Simon and Paul’s names on all of the forthcoming episodes. Mine will appear on five, starting with next week’s, as the new system meant that two or even three episodes were being worked on at any one time. (We had six months to write seven episodes. Last year, as the pilot had already been written, Lee and I had six months to write five. You can see why more writers had to be drafted in. If we’d been an American sitcom, all five of us, handsomely paid for our exclusivity, would have been on the staff and our names would appear as “producers” on the episodes we didn’t work on. That’s a world away, really.) Anyway, I’d read the completed script of Episode One, Mortgage, but I didn’t see the filming and I didn’t ask for an advance DVD, so I was seeing it for the first time along with everybody else – and some of the gags had been added in the final gagging-up round, so many were new to me, including the Courtney Love joke. My objective, dispassionate view is that it was a very strong return. Because there was a new set-up to set up, it was a set-up episode, but thanks to the winning ways of Lee and Tim, who are basically called upon to do more of the same, and the new energy provided by Sally Bretton (very different from Megan Dodds) and Miranda Hart (whose skills are already well known), it felt fresh. It’s hard for me to comment further, as I’m utterly partisan, but I really enjoyed sitting down and watching it.

What did people think? (Of course, if you didn’t like it, I can say, well, hey, nothing to do with me!)

119 thoughts on “Out

  1. I thought it was okay, as you say it was a ‘setting-up’ episode so it didn’t pull any trees up. I know it’ll bed-in over the next few weeks but I just hope the ‘setting-up’ episode won’t put any first time viewers off returning.

  2. I thought it was okay, as you say it was a ‘setting-up’ episode so it didn’t pull any trees up. I know it’ll bed-in over the next few weeks but I just hope the ‘setting-up’ episode won’t put any first time viewers off returning.

  3. I enjoyed it – a good hit rate of gags, good actors/comedians in the lead roles and just enough of a twist on the traditional flat share sitcom dynamic to make it interesting.

  4. I enjoyed it – a good hit rate of gags, good actors/comedians in the lead roles and just enough of a twist on the traditional flat share sitcom dynamic to make it interesting.

  5. If you enjoyed the (award-winning) first series then this is more of the same. (Liked the dot the Ts and cross the Is gag!)I did wonder why your name wasn’t on the credits.PaulDunfermline

  6. If you enjoyed the (award-winning) first series then this is more of the same. (Liked the dot the Ts and cross the Is gag!)I did wonder why your name wasn’t on the credits.PaulDunfermline

  7. I’m in the wrong job if an ice-cream van salesman can get a 700K mortgage just by taking on a single tenant!The one problem I had with it was the cleaner. MH is always good, but the part was way to old-school and predictable, IMO.And while I’m having a moan: Presumably it was recorded in HD, as the previous series was. Yet the BBC aren’t using their HD channel properly, and have only shown it in SD. They do this for many series (Jools Holland is always on HD as repeats, but it’s never transmitted in HD on the night it goes out on BBC1)

  8. I’m in the wrong job if an ice-cream van salesman can get a 700K mortgage just by taking on a single tenant!The one problem I had with it was the cleaner. MH is always good, but the part was way to old-school and predictable, IMO.And while I’m having a moan: Presumably it was recorded in HD, as the previous series was. Yet the BBC aren’t using their HD channel properly, and have only shown it in SD. They do this for many series (Jools Holland is always on HD as repeats, but it’s never transmitted in HD on the night it goes out on BBC1)

  9. The first half seemed a bit weak in my opinion, but by the end it had got back to its normal level. I’d agree that funny though MH was, the cleaner role didn’t seem to fit that well, but I’ll see how it comes along in the next eps.

  10. The first half seemed a bit weak in my opinion, but by the end it had got back to its normal level. I’d agree that funny though MH was, the cleaner role didn’t seem to fit that well, but I’ll see how it comes along in the next eps.

  11. It did feel a bit like the first episode of a new show rather than the triumphant return for a second series, but needs must (whatever that means), I suppose. It also felt a bit darker and more downbeat – maybe that was the Shelley influence. Not sure about the accident-prone cleaner but at least she’s not called Mrs Mopp and she’s got two arms to wash-up with. Plenty of good jokes though – and some really good. Sad to see the credits whipped away to nothing. Running the credits over the last scene of the show is actually a better way of stopping people turning over.

  12. It did feel a bit like the first episode of a new show rather than the triumphant return for a second series, but needs must (whatever that means), I suppose. It also felt a bit darker and more downbeat – maybe that was the Shelley influence. Not sure about the accident-prone cleaner but at least she’s not called Mrs Mopp and she’s got two arms to wash-up with. Plenty of good jokes though – and some really good. Sad to see the credits whipped away to nothing. Running the credits over the last scene of the show is actually a better way of stopping people turning over.

  13. I realise now that I only have to look at Lee Mack and I laugh, whether he’s telling jokes or not. So I enjoyed it. And only having seen bits of the first series, it’s got me Sky+ing it from now on.

  14. I realise now that I only have to look at Lee Mack and I laugh, whether he’s telling jokes or not. So I enjoyed it. And only having seen bits of the first series, it’s got me Sky+ing it from now on.

  15. On the whole I liked it but I did prefer the set-up of the first series. The cleaner thing was pretty rubbish though.Obviously it’s early days but hopefully it will settle and get better.

  16. On the whole I liked it but I did prefer the set-up of the first series. The cleaner thing was pretty rubbish though.Obviously it’s early days but hopefully it will settle and get better.

  17. Favourite gag was “hundreds and thousands”. that made me laugh a lot, I assumed that was one that Tim Vine had chipped in. I thought it was good, not too fond of the cleaner character but all in all I laughed out loud over a dozen times, which lets face it doesn’t happen much with a sitcom these days.

  18. Favourite gag was “hundreds and thousands”. that made me laugh a lot, I assumed that was one that Tim Vine had chipped in. I thought it was good, not too fond of the cleaner character but all in all I laughed out loud over a dozen times, which lets face it doesn’t happen much with a sitcom these days.

  19. Remarkable gags per minute ratio, especially compared to the previous hour on BBC1 which was like listening to a dialtone.Missed the beginning of the show because not long after nine o’clcok, I had to switch over to the NCIS repeat on Five and got caught up in it.

  20. Remarkable gags per minute ratio, especially compared to the previous hour on BBC1 which was like listening to a dialtone.Missed the beginning of the show because not long after nine o’clcok, I had to switch over to the NCIS repeat on Five and got caught up in it.

  21. I really enjoyed it. Wasn’t really that familiar with the first series but I haven’t laughed as much at a mainstream sitcom for some time. Especially an Enlish one. Didn’t care too much for the cleaner. When the gags are as good as they are here, why resort to doors falling over and the like?But I’m sure that line about ‘blood being thicker than water but custard being thick than blood’ is from an Eddie Izzard stand-up show I saw somewhere.Minor quibble though.While I’d love to say I’ve got much better things to be doing on a Friday night, I fear I’ll be sitting in next week towatch episode 2!

  22. I really enjoyed it. Wasn’t really that familiar with the first series but I haven’t laughed as much at a mainstream sitcom for some time. Especially an Enlish one. Didn’t care too much for the cleaner. When the gags are as good as they are here, why resort to doors falling over and the like?But I’m sure that line about ‘blood being thicker than water but custard being thick than blood’ is from an Eddie Izzard stand-up show I saw somewhere.Minor quibble though.While I’d love to say I’ve got much better things to be doing on a Friday night, I fear I’ll be sitting in next week towatch episode 2!

  23. I think it was a mistake to use Miranda Hart in a different role without mentioning why (unless I missed that bit?!), seeing as she was such a memorable character from the last series. Still looking forward to the rest of this series though.

  24. I think it was a mistake to use Miranda Hart in a different role without mentioning why (unless I missed that bit?!), seeing as she was such a memorable character from the last series. Still looking forward to the rest of this series though.

  25. You can invent your own backstory for Miranda Hart’s character. Maybe she was sacked from the acupuncture clinic?No idea whose line the thicker-than-custard one was, as I say, I didn’t write this one. There are so many layers of writing, it could have been any of the four writers credited!

  26. You can invent your own backstory for Miranda Hart’s character. Maybe she was sacked from the acupuncture clinic?No idea whose line the thicker-than-custard one was, as I say, I didn’t write this one. There are so many layers of writing, it could have been any of the four writers credited!

  27. I really enjoyed it and think that Sally Bretton will be a stronger, more interesting character than Megan Dodds (who I thought was the weakest link in the last series). Not sure why Miranda Hart’s character has been introduced into it though, I she didn’t really add very much other than playing the usual Miranda Hart type role. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

  28. I really enjoyed it and think that Sally Bretton will be a stronger, more interesting character than Megan Dodds (who I thought was the weakest link in the last series). Not sure why Miranda Hart’s character has been introduced into it though, I she didn’t really add very much other than playing the usual Miranda Hart type role. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

  29. Yep, I’d already decided she was sacked (for fighting with Lee), and has had to take a job as a cleaner – she’s also now on some strong anti-depressants. It all makes perfect sense now!

  30. Yep, I’d already decided she was sacked (for fighting with Lee), and has had to take a job as a cleaner – she’s also now on some strong anti-depressants. It all makes perfect sense now!

  31. I’ll be suffering from a Not Going Out overload soon what with this new series, watching an episode recording next week, and then there’s the first series out on DVD in October…

  32. I’ll be suffering from a Not Going Out overload soon what with this new series, watching an episode recording next week, and then there’s the first series out on DVD in October…

  33. In case anyone’s interested, Not Going Out draw a healthy audience of 3.3 million (15.7 per cent share), which is slightly up on the first episode of the first series, and it means we kept most of the 3.9 million who tuned in to French & Saunders. (We’re none of us in the same league as Nicholas Lyndhurst though – his After You’ve Gone scored 5.1 million before F&S!)

  34. In case anyone’s interested, Not Going Out draw a healthy audience of 3.3 million (15.7 per cent share), which is slightly up on the first episode of the first series, and it means we kept most of the 3.9 million who tuned in to French & Saunders. (We’re none of us in the same league as Nicholas Lyndhurst though – his After You’ve Gone scored 5.1 million before F&S!)

  35. I have to say I liked Megan Dodds’ character and missed her in this episode, but that’s just my personal opinion. But I thought it was very funny and will definitely be watching next week :-)Px

  36. I have to say I liked Megan Dodds’ character and missed her in this episode, but that’s just my personal opinion. But I thought it was very funny and will definitely be watching next week :-)Px

  37. Not quite as funny as the last series, IMO, but that was very funny, and, as you say, this episode needed to set-up again.I did think the romantic triangle generated a lot of excellent comic situations which you now won’t have, but then, I guess all you writers have already thought about that.Congratulations, anyway, on making an intelligent, witty, mainstream sitcom.

  38. Not quite as funny as the last series, IMO, but that was very funny, and, as you say, this episode needed to set-up again.I did think the romantic triangle generated a lot of excellent comic situations which you now won’t have, but then, I guess all you writers have already thought about that.Congratulations, anyway, on making an intelligent, witty, mainstream sitcom.

  39. I’m with a previous comment, just looking at Lee Mack makes me laugh.Episode one did feel as if it was stepping up but with such a gag ratio I didn’t mind.It may not sound like a compliment but I love it as it tunes into my taste for good old fashioned wit. I’m off to Listen With Les on BBC7.

  40. I’m with a previous comment, just looking at Lee Mack makes me laugh.Episode one did feel as if it was stepping up but with such a gag ratio I didn’t mind.It may not sound like a compliment but I love it as it tunes into my taste for good old fashioned wit. I’m off to Listen With Les on BBC7.

  41. So…Ok, I still love the show. It’s still funny, and Tim Vine and Lee Mack are comedy geniuses. BUT… Well, it’s simply not as good as the first series. So far anyway (I know it’s early days).I really miss Kate, the reoccurring cleaner “joke” is just poor beyond belief and has no place in a sitcom of this quality, and the Lucy character feels forced and contrived. (I was never really a Megan Dodds fan but by Christ she’s needed back urgently!)The writing doesn’t seem quite as sharp this time either. Although there are still more classic lines and jokes here than in most other sitcoms.Roll on ep3…

  42. So…Ok, I still love the show. It’s still funny, and Tim Vine and Lee Mack are comedy geniuses. BUT… Well, it’s simply not as good as the first series. So far anyway (I know it’s early days).I really miss Kate, the reoccurring cleaner “joke” is just poor beyond belief and has no place in a sitcom of this quality, and the Lucy character feels forced and contrived. (I was never really a Megan Dodds fan but by Christ she’s needed back urgently!)The writing doesn’t seem quite as sharp this time either. Although there are still more classic lines and jokes here than in most other sitcoms.Roll on ep3…

  43. I appreciate your honesty, Wayne, and I take your comments on board. See how you feel as Lucy’s story develops. (I hope you liked Guy in Ep 2, by the way, as he’s the other recurring character.) It’s obviously a challenge when you lose one of your cast members just as you’re commissioned to write a second series, but I’m glad you’re still impressed by the joke count, at least. If anything, I think Lee’s even better in this one so far. (And I mean so far, as I’m seeing these the same time as everybody else on a Friday night.) I can’t really comment on the “sharpness” or othewise of the writing. There were certainly more people actually doing the writing!

  44. I appreciate your honesty, Wayne, and I take your comments on board. See how you feel as Lucy’s story develops. (I hope you liked Guy in Ep 2, by the way, as he’s the other recurring character.) It’s obviously a challenge when you lose one of your cast members just as you’re commissioned to write a second series, but I’m glad you’re still impressed by the joke count, at least. If anything, I think Lee’s even better in this one so far. (And I mean so far, as I’m seeing these the same time as everybody else on a Friday night.) I can’t really comment on the “sharpness” or othewise of the writing. There were certainly more people actually doing the writing!

  45. Was Guy not the Tim Dutton who played the 70s version of The Saint? I thought it was funny – possibly a bit daring in this PC age in parts, but I’m not entirely convinced by the acting or timing of ‘Lucy’.

  46. Was Guy not the Tim Dutton who played the 70s version of The Saint? I thought it was funny – possibly a bit daring in this PC age in parts, but I’m not entirely convinced by the acting or timing of ‘Lucy’.

  47. Andrew,This was my first full episode of NGO and I have to say I was really disappointed. I hate to sound like a militant poof but I did find some of the stilted, trite and cliched situations pretty tedious and mildly offensive.Don’t misunderstand me – I appreciate that there is amusement to be derived from the character’s misguided preconceptions about gay culture and I also realise that this can create awkward, embarrassing and funny results. This can be used to comedic effect but unfortunately all the jokes seemed really dated. In the 21st century I don’t think it’s particularly strong script writing to have a heterosexual Northern man assume that gay men are sensitive and that they exfoliate whilst listening to musicals. What is planned for further episodes? Some amusing mother-in-law stories? Perhaps a misunderstanding about women being crap drivers? Or maybe someone could get pissed off about being put through to a call centre in India. I guess I was hoping for something a little more sophisticated as I know that you’re a good writer.As much as I wasn’t enjoying the flat jokes I wasn’t actually offended. That is, until the scene in the “Specialist Pub”. Andrew, have you or your 3 co-writers ever actually been in a gay bar? The ridiculous stereotypes were really embarrassing. I felt pretty uncomfortable watching them.I’d like to make the point here that I hate the politically correct culture that we live in. I also have a pretty twisted sense of humour and I don’t have a problem with humour that can be deemed to be offensive as long as it is funny.Please don’t take this as personally. I’m actually a great admirer of yours Andrew. Your books are really charming and I love seeing you talking about pop culture on the telly because you’re usually really enthusiastic, sort of like a less posh version of Kevin McCloud. I also realise that you’re no homophobe but you need to raise the bar a little if you don’t want other people to think so.I hope I haven’t caused any offence…All of this didn’t seem

  48. Andrew,This was my first full episode of NGO and I have to say I was really disappointed. I hate to sound like a militant poof but I did find some of the stilted, trite and cliched situations pretty tedious and mildly offensive.Don’t misunderstand me – I appreciate that there is amusement to be derived from the character’s misguided preconceptions about gay culture and I also realise that this can create awkward, embarrassing and funny results. This can be used to comedic effect but unfortunately all the jokes seemed really dated. In the 21st century I don’t think it’s particularly strong script writing to have a heterosexual Northern man assume that gay men are sensitive and that they exfoliate whilst listening to musicals. What is planned for further episodes? Some amusing mother-in-law stories? Perhaps a misunderstanding about women being crap drivers? Or maybe someone could get pissed off about being put through to a call centre in India. I guess I was hoping for something a little more sophisticated as I know that you’re a good writer.As much as I wasn’t enjoying the flat jokes I wasn’t actually offended. That is, until the scene in the “Specialist Pub”. Andrew, have you or your 3 co-writers ever actually been in a gay bar? The ridiculous stereotypes were really embarrassing. I felt pretty uncomfortable watching them.I’d like to make the point here that I hate the politically correct culture that we live in. I also have a pretty twisted sense of humour and I don’t have a problem with humour that can be deemed to be offensive as long as it is funny.Please don’t take this as personally. I’m actually a great admirer of yours Andrew. Your books are really charming and I love seeing you talking about pop culture on the telly because you’re usually really enthusiastic, sort of like a less posh version of Kevin McCloud. I also realise that you’re no homophobe but you need to raise the bar a little if you don’t want other people to think so.I hope I haven’t caused any offence…All of this didn’t seem

  49. Hey, point taken, Herb. As someone who lived through the 80s and fought the PC wars, I felt we were on safe ground, playing Lee’s character as the one with unsophisticated views, and by giving Lucy the age-old “I can make him change” approach (I thought we were being quite clever reversing that one – it’s usually men who think lesbians need a good seeing to, to “sort them out”). As for the gay bar. I have been in gay clubs and gay bars and no they’re not like that. But in order to make Lee as uncomfortable as possible, we cranked it up. That said, I just wrote it [SCENE 12: INT. GAY PUB]. I didn’t dress the set or cast and costume the actors. I take responsibility, but I was seeing that scene for the first time on Friday night, so I feel defensive about it, but also I can see your point. Because the butt of all gay jokes was Lee – and to an extent, Lucy, and even Tim – I was confident we had dug much deeper than the old stereotypes. The whole story was based on women liking men to be a bit gay (however shallow that truism may be) and, in line with all the other episodes, we tested Lee to see how far he would go for personal gain. At no point was he actually homophobic, just daft. I hope so, anyway. Maybe my confidence in all this was misplaced. I respect your opinion, and take it onboard. If a future episode included Lee having out of date views about mother in laws, that would be acceptable.Oh, and we did women being crap drivers in series one, I’m afraid, but we justified it because Kate was an American and not used to the gearstick.

  50. Hey, point taken, Herb. As someone who lived through the 80s and fought the PC wars, I felt we were on safe ground, playing Lee’s character as the one with unsophisticated views, and by giving Lucy the age-old “I can make him change” approach (I thought we were being quite clever reversing that one – it’s usually men who think lesbians need a good seeing to, to “sort them out”). As for the gay bar. I have been in gay clubs and gay bars and no they’re not like that. But in order to make Lee as uncomfortable as possible, we cranked it up. That said, I just wrote it [SCENE 12: INT. GAY PUB]. I didn’t dress the set or cast and costume the actors. I take responsibility, but I was seeing that scene for the first time on Friday night, so I feel defensive about it, but also I can see your point. Because the butt of all gay jokes was Lee – and to an extent, Lucy, and even Tim – I was confident we had dug much deeper than the old stereotypes. The whole story was based on women liking men to be a bit gay (however shallow that truism may be) and, in line with all the other episodes, we tested Lee to see how far he would go for personal gain. At no point was he actually homophobic, just daft. I hope so, anyway. Maybe my confidence in all this was misplaced. I respect your opinion, and take it onboard. If a future episode included Lee having out of date views about mother in laws, that would be acceptable.Oh, and we did women being crap drivers in series one, I’m afraid, but we justified it because Kate was an American and not used to the gearstick.

  51. Ok Andrew, you’re off the hook. Just have a word with those set dressers and casting agents for me!I agree that Lee is probably more of a wally (how good is that word?!) than a homophobe but I still found some of his assumptions to be a little obvious. I wouldn’t have been perturbed had Lee had stronger, more offensive beliefs, as long as they were funny and portrayed in a more original way. That said, I realise you have about 27 minutes to tell a story so characterisation always needs to be exaggerated and I guess it’s probably hard to be subtle and ingenious whilst writing a script for a primetime sit com.I’d have also liked to see some of the more positive discrimination attributed to gay men turned on its head as well. It would have been a novel twist if you introduced a gay character who was unfashionable, overweight and uncultured. One who was in fact really similar to Lee. Now that would have been an original slant on the story. Maybe for Season 3…?

  52. Ok Andrew, you’re off the hook. Just have a word with those set dressers and casting agents for me!I agree that Lee is probably more of a wally (how good is that word?!) than a homophobe but I still found some of his assumptions to be a little obvious. I wouldn’t have been perturbed had Lee had stronger, more offensive beliefs, as long as they were funny and portrayed in a more original way. That said, I realise you have about 27 minutes to tell a story so characterisation always needs to be exaggerated and I guess it’s probably hard to be subtle and ingenious whilst writing a script for a primetime sit com.I’d have also liked to see some of the more positive discrimination attributed to gay men turned on its head as well. It would have been a novel twist if you introduced a gay character who was unfashionable, overweight and uncultured. One who was in fact really similar to Lee. Now that would have been an original slant on the story. Maybe for Season 3…?

  53. I was in England recently and “Not Going Out” was on the TV, but we were all talking so much I sadly missed it. I hope I still count as one of the viewers though. The 1st series, 1st episode was also playing on British Airways on the way from Hong Kong. I’d seen it before though and the whole system crashed after 5 minutes anyway.

  54. I was in England recently and “Not Going Out” was on the TV, but we were all talking so much I sadly missed it. I hope I still count as one of the viewers though. The 1st series, 1st episode was also playing on British Airways on the way from Hong Kong. I’d seen it before though and the whole system crashed after 5 minutes anyway.

  55. A quick thought about your viewing figures. Lyndhurst, for all the merits or otherwise of the show, was up against the relatively early stages of England v South Africa in the rugby, NGO was up against the last 10 minutes or so of the same game. While Lyndhurst was on I think that many people were still just about clinging to the possibility that England couldn’t play that badly for the whole 80 minutes so stuck with the rugby. By the time 9:30 came round any excuse to get away from the carnage at Stade de France was welcome so NGO provided a good excuse for not prolonging the agony on ITV any longer!I was glad that I was able to switch over to NGO, missing the end of the rugby, safe in the knowlegde that I would only be denying myself more English sporting ineptitude.

  56. A quick thought about your viewing figures. Lyndhurst, for all the merits or otherwise of the show, was up against the relatively early stages of England v South Africa in the rugby, NGO was up against the last 10 minutes or so of the same game. While Lyndhurst was on I think that many people were still just about clinging to the possibility that England couldn’t play that badly for the whole 80 minutes so stuck with the rugby. By the time 9:30 came round any excuse to get away from the carnage at Stade de France was welcome so NGO provided a good excuse for not prolonging the agony on ITV any longer!I was glad that I was able to switch over to NGO, missing the end of the rugby, safe in the knowlegde that I would only be denying myself more English sporting ineptitude.

  57. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed NGO. Due to work commitments I didn’t get a chance to watch episode 1 until Sunday, thus seeing episode 2 first on Friday. I still laughed long and loud and my neighbours are probably still wondering what the fuss was about.

  58. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed NGO. Due to work commitments I didn’t get a chance to watch episode 1 until Sunday, thus seeing episode 2 first on Friday. I still laughed long and loud and my neighbours are probably still wondering what the fuss was about.

  59. Don’t like the cleaner character. Looks suspiciously like the suits at the Beeb who obviously like Miranda Hart foisted her on you. Not that you would admit that on this, of course!Otherwise the first rate gags are coming thick and fast as always and it puts to shame the endless Friday BBC1 Sitcom sludge that is noramlly turned out…Also I miss the Divine Kate (swoon…)

  60. Don’t like the cleaner character. Looks suspiciously like the suits at the Beeb who obviously like Miranda Hart foisted her on you. Not that you would admit that on this, of course!Otherwise the first rate gags are coming thick and fast as always and it puts to shame the endless Friday BBC1 Sitcom sludge that is noramlly turned out…Also I miss the Divine Kate (swoon…)

  61. I’m afraid I’m not giving this another chance tonight Andrew. If the show is attempting to ape the wise cracking team writing formula of Friends style shows, it’s missing the mark. The key difference being, shows like Friends, don’t just rely on jokes.NGO is heavily reliant on jokes and has little else to hold it up.How would you sell this show to the USA? What’s its unique selling point? The yanks like British humour, as it is.

  62. I’m afraid I’m not giving this another chance tonight Andrew. If the show is attempting to ape the wise cracking team writing formula of Friends style shows, it’s missing the mark. The key difference being, shows like Friends, don’t just rely on jokes.NGO is heavily reliant on jokes and has little else to hold it up.How would you sell this show to the USA? What’s its unique selling point? The yanks like British humour, as it is.

  63. Thanks for your comments, anonymous person. To be fair, we never set out to come up with something that could be sold to the US. We set out to make an old-fashioned sitcom, with an audience, that was full of jokes. It wasn’t supposed to “ape” Friends, although the decision to set it in a nice flat rather than a traditional sitting room was influenced by the American model.Sorry you don’t like it, obviously. It is, as you say, “heavily reliant on jokes”. You may sue us for that.

  64. Thanks for your comments, anonymous person. To be fair, we never set out to come up with something that could be sold to the US. We set out to make an old-fashioned sitcom, with an audience, that was full of jokes. It wasn’t supposed to “ape” Friends, although the decision to set it in a nice flat rather than a traditional sitting room was influenced by the American model.Sorry you don’t like it, obviously. It is, as you say, “heavily reliant on jokes”. You may sue us for that.

  65. You will get an audience for jokes. I like jokes myself. I enjoy jokes in a sitcom. I enjoy a joke in a Christmas Cracker. It’s not that I don’t like the show, rather I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be. An old- fashioned sitcom, to me has jokes drawn from charcacter and situation, rather than, character drawn from jokes and situation.You mis- judge me. I wholeheartedly endorse anything which derives laughter for the masses. To me however, the show is self -consciously unsure where to get that audience from.

  66. You will get an audience for jokes. I like jokes myself. I enjoy jokes in a sitcom. I enjoy a joke in a Christmas Cracker. It’s not that I don’t like the show, rather I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be. An old- fashioned sitcom, to me has jokes drawn from charcacter and situation, rather than, character drawn from jokes and situation.You mis- judge me. I wholeheartedly endorse anything which derives laughter for the masses. To me however, the show is self -consciously unsure where to get that audience from.

  67. My first time catching it tonight. Not avoided it but unless its The Wire, or Heroes my memory for watching shows is awful.I actually enjoyed it. Lee is a better comic actor than I imagined he would be and Tim and the other couple whose name I cannot be bothered to look up gave good support.I also think you are quite brave to open up your forum for people to comment on something you have wrote. Good for you.

  68. My first time catching it tonight. Not avoided it but unless its The Wire, or Heroes my memory for watching shows is awful.I actually enjoyed it. Lee is a better comic actor than I imagined he would be and Tim and the other couple whose name I cannot be bothered to look up gave good support.I also think you are quite brave to open up your forum for people to comment on something you have wrote. Good for you.

  69. well..I have given this a fair show before commenting. So here goes; I have not seen any of the first series, but have watched all of the second so far. Tonight’s was the first one that really hit the mark for me. The plot was funny, the sub routines, especially the lap dancing ‘this won’t work out’ gag to Tim Vine by the Setanta woman – very good, well played, funny.And for the first time, two major breakthroughs; (a) Lee Herring didn’t tick the arse off me for acting like an annoyed and scornful Professional Northerner set down in a strange land (the 21st Century), and (b) the audience laughter didn’t intrude so much as to sound like the laugh track from an episode of Happy Days.Finally, and be assured most significantly, Mrs O-P commented that ‘this is the first episode of “this” that I’ve laughed at from the beginning to the end’. And believe me there is no finer compliment that that which utters from the lips of the Queen of Light Entertainment T.V. (1980 – 2???)So there you have it AC, and well done you I say. Roll on next Friday.

  70. well..I have given this a fair show before commenting. So here goes; I have not seen any of the first series, but have watched all of the second so far. Tonight’s was the first one that really hit the mark for me. The plot was funny, the sub routines, especially the lap dancing ‘this won’t work out’ gag to Tim Vine by the Setanta woman – very good, well played, funny.And for the first time, two major breakthroughs; (a) Lee Herring didn’t tick the arse off me for acting like an annoyed and scornful Professional Northerner set down in a strange land (the 21st Century), and (b) the audience laughter didn’t intrude so much as to sound like the laugh track from an episode of Happy Days.Finally, and be assured most significantly, Mrs O-P commented that ‘this is the first episode of “this” that I’ve laughed at from the beginning to the end’. And believe me there is no finer compliment that that which utters from the lips of the Queen of Light Entertainment T.V. (1980 – 2???)So there you have it AC, and well done you I say. Roll on next Friday.

  71. I was a big fan of the first season and was looking forward to this season. I’m missing Megan Dodd’s. The new one hasn’t got half the sexiness of her. Can just about live with that but that God damnwaful charlady has got to be the biggest turn off. I know other people have said it and I hope for your fan’s sakes you are listening. You could have have had a sexy cleaner or a funny cleaner.This isn’t so much old fashioned but backward. Hi de Hi had a lesbian cleaner playing straight (She wasn’t plummy mouthed.) So why not have her playing a lesbian and bring in the 21st century. Isn’t this closet homophobia? Lee and Tim are still great in this. It is good you’re answering our points.

  72. I was a big fan of the first season and was looking forward to this season. I’m missing Megan Dodd’s. The new one hasn’t got half the sexiness of her. Can just about live with that but that God damnwaful charlady has got to be the biggest turn off. I know other people have said it and I hope for your fan’s sakes you are listening. You could have have had a sexy cleaner or a funny cleaner.This isn’t so much old fashioned but backward. Hi de Hi had a lesbian cleaner playing straight (She wasn’t plummy mouthed.) So why not have her playing a lesbian and bring in the 21st century. Isn’t this closet homophobia? Lee and Tim are still great in this. It is good you’re answering our points.

  73. Where is this obsession with the woman’s sexuality coming from Todd ?I personally was not keen on her character I have to say. Not sure what she adds. Generally speaking the small charcters such as this get to be very funny as they have little burden to carry the storyline eg. The air warden in Dad’s Army, bread delivery man in Dinnerladies (a much underrated show) or Gunter in Friends. But her character seems lost.

  74. Where is this obsession with the woman’s sexuality coming from Todd ?I personally was not keen on her character I have to say. Not sure what she adds. Generally speaking the small charcters such as this get to be very funny as they have little burden to carry the storyline eg. The air warden in Dad’s Army, bread delivery man in Dinnerladies (a much underrated show) or Gunter in Friends. But her character seems lost.

  75. op her character does seem lost. I make no secret that I’m not enjoying this season as much. The gay storyline jarred and then we have the lapdancing. The show is very hetrosexual well thats good if you keep it that way. I think the writing has become lazy. the cleaner adds nothing to the show. So why have her as married? Is this so they don’t upset the Daily Mail readers. It might have added another dimension to the character and brought the show in the 21st century.The big chinned guy in Never The Twain and the Punk Wallah in it Aint half Hot mum are more good examples there.

  76. op her character does seem lost. I make no secret that I’m not enjoying this season as much. The gay storyline jarred and then we have the lapdancing. The show is very hetrosexual well thats good if you keep it that way. I think the writing has become lazy. the cleaner adds nothing to the show. So why have her as married? Is this so they don’t upset the Daily Mail readers. It might have added another dimension to the character and brought the show in the 21st century.The big chinned guy in Never The Twain and the Punk Wallah in it Aint half Hot mum are more good examples there.

  77. The cleaner is a one-joke character. Everything she cleans or touches, she breaks. That’s the joke. It’s not a great joke admittedly, but turning her into a lesbian would be completely pointless. Instead of her polishing a statue of a tiger and snapping its tail off we’d have her polishing the tiger then turning to Lee and saying, “Oooh I do love a clean pussy” etc. Even less funny.Personally I’m glad the character is a straightforward married woman, rather than some daft minority stereotype with a complicated and entirely unnecessary backstory.

  78. The cleaner is a one-joke character. Everything she cleans or touches, she breaks. That’s the joke. It’s not a great joke admittedly, but turning her into a lesbian would be completely pointless. Instead of her polishing a statue of a tiger and snapping its tail off we’d have her polishing the tiger then turning to Lee and saying, “Oooh I do love a clean pussy” etc. Even less funny.Personally I’m glad the character is a straightforward married woman, rather than some daft minority stereotype with a complicated and entirely unnecessary backstory.

  79. I’m afraid you’re losing me now, Todd. I’m happy to answer specific points about the show, but I have actaully lost sight of what yours is. I’m glad you liked the first series and Megan Dodds, and I’m sorry you don’t find Sally Bretton as “sexy”. I’d say sexiness is pretty subjective, so we’ll move on from that. You don’t like the “charlady”, as you call her. Again, fair enough. You’re not alone in this. But then you say: “You could have have had a sexy cleaner.” You seem obsessed by sexiness. Nobody’s judging Lee or Tim on their sexiness. Why the women? Then you say that “Hi de Hi had a lesbian cleaner playing straight.” I didn’t know Su Pollard was a lesbian – maybe she is. It strikes me as irrelevant, since she’s an actress playing a part, as is Miranda Hart. “Why not have her playing a lesbian and bring in the 21st century?” This seems an awfully random suggestion. In what way is a heterosexual cleaner not 21st century?Then you really push the boat out: “Isn’t this closet homophobia?” Are you serious? Making a character straight equals homophobia? Why? “The show is very hetrosexual – well that’s good if you keep it that way.” Again, you’ve lost me. It’s certainly about three heterosexual characters: Lee, Tim and Lucy. What’s your complaint?”I think the writing has become lazy.” At last! A criticism I can understand. That’s your opinion, Todd. I know that five writers worked round the clock to produce these eight scripts. It didn’t feel lazy. But if that’s how it comes across, then we have failed you as a viewer.Then we go mad again: “The cleaner adds nothing to the show.” For us, she adds someone Lee can talk to who isn’t a part of the main triangle, so she serves a useful purpose, and for our sins, we liked Miranda in the first series so much, we developed a character for her to play. “So why have her as married?” Because we wrote her character from scratch, and decided she was the sort of person who would occasionally mention her unseen husband, which she does. We made her quite sexual, so she wouldn’t be a frumpy cleaner. “Is this so they don’t upset the Daily Mail readers.” Amazingly, we never once considered Daily Mail readers when writing the show. Are nor did the BBC say, Make sure you don’t upset the Daily Mail readers. If the 21st century you speak of is one of lesbian characters inserted into sitcoms for no reason other than keeping the numbers up, I prefer the 20th century.And quite where “the big chinned guy in Never The Twain and the Punk Wallah in it Aint half Hot mum” come into it, I don’t know. Were you citing these as good or bad examples?Criticise all you like, but careful who you accuse of homophobia. Herbalicious wrote a very measured and frank criticism about the Gay episode which I took very seriously and which contained the sentence, “I know you’re not a homophobe …” I certainly am not, and to accuse me – or us – of this on the basis of a straight character not being a lesbian seems slightly tenuous. Back to you.

  80. I’m afraid you’re losing me now, Todd. I’m happy to answer specific points about the show, but I have actaully lost sight of what yours is. I’m glad you liked the first series and Megan Dodds, and I’m sorry you don’t find Sally Bretton as “sexy”. I’d say sexiness is pretty subjective, so we’ll move on from that. You don’t like the “charlady”, as you call her. Again, fair enough. You’re not alone in this. But then you say: “You could have have had a sexy cleaner.” You seem obsessed by sexiness. Nobody’s judging Lee or Tim on their sexiness. Why the women? Then you say that “Hi de Hi had a lesbian cleaner playing straight.” I didn’t know Su Pollard was a lesbian – maybe she is. It strikes me as irrelevant, since she’s an actress playing a part, as is Miranda Hart. “Why not have her playing a lesbian and bring in the 21st century?” This seems an awfully random suggestion. In what way is a heterosexual cleaner not 21st century?Then you really push the boat out: “Isn’t this closet homophobia?” Are you serious? Making a character straight equals homophobia? Why? “The show is very hetrosexual – well that’s good if you keep it that way.” Again, you’ve lost me. It’s certainly about three heterosexual characters: Lee, Tim and Lucy. What’s your complaint?”I think the writing has become lazy.” At last! A criticism I can understand. That’s your opinion, Todd. I know that five writers worked round the clock to produce these eight scripts. It didn’t feel lazy. But if that’s how it comes across, then we have failed you as a viewer.Then we go mad again: “The cleaner adds nothing to the show.” For us, she adds someone Lee can talk to who isn’t a part of the main triangle, so she serves a useful purpose, and for our sins, we liked Miranda in the first series so much, we developed a character for her to play. “So why have her as married?” Because we wrote her character from scratch, and decided she was the sort of person who would occasionally mention her unseen husband, which she does. We made her quite sexual, so she wouldn’t be a frumpy cleaner. “Is this so they don’t upset the Daily Mail readers.” Amazingly, we never once considered Daily Mail readers when writing the show. Are nor did the BBC say, Make sure you don’t upset the Daily Mail readers. If the 21st century you speak of is one of lesbian characters inserted into sitcoms for no reason other than keeping the numbers up, I prefer the 20th century.And quite where “the big chinned guy in Never The Twain and the Punk Wallah in it Aint half Hot mum” come into it, I don’t know. Were you citing these as good or bad examples?Criticise all you like, but careful who you accuse of homophobia. Herbalicious wrote a very measured and frank criticism about the Gay episode which I took very seriously and which contained the sentence, “I know you’re not a homophobe …” I certainly am not, and to accuse me – or us – of this on the basis of a straight character not being a lesbian seems slightly tenuous. Back to you.

  81. This just in from MediaGuardian:”Not Going Out also built on the previous week’s performance, getting 3.4 million at 17%, an increase of 200,000 viewers and one share point on the previous week.”

  82. This just in from MediaGuardian:”Not Going Out also built on the previous week’s performance, getting 3.4 million at 17%, an increase of 200,000 viewers and one share point on the previous week.”

  83. I suppose I should just accept that the show is evolving like Men Behaving Badly did but I don’t feel the new characters are adding much.As another Kate fan I’m sorry she’s gone but, ah well. It’s just it sort of seems the show is getting a bit crowded. This cleaner seems to kicking ’round the house at all hours- doesn’t she have a home to go to?!Still, the gag count is still very high and the show’s still fun. Surely Lee is gonna have a love interest before this series is out, poor lamb!

  84. I suppose I should just accept that the show is evolving like Men Behaving Badly did but I don’t feel the new characters are adding much.As another Kate fan I’m sorry she’s gone but, ah well. It’s just it sort of seems the show is getting a bit crowded. This cleaner seems to kicking ’round the house at all hours- doesn’t she have a home to go to?!Still, the gag count is still very high and the show’s still fun. Surely Lee is gonna have a love interest before this series is out, poor lamb!

  85. Well, last night we spent four hours driving less than 90 miles from Kettering to Teddington for the filming of NGO, missing the first 45 minutes in the process. But we were ushered in between scenes and are so glad we persevered.I’m one of those who wouldnt have bothered with this if it wasn’t for AC’s involvment but I’ve to admit Mr Mack has me drawn in, just a funny bloke with lots of funny jokes – can’t be that bad can it?! Miss the America girl but what the heck…A top night out, highly recommended.

  86. Well, last night we spent four hours driving less than 90 miles from Kettering to Teddington for the filming of NGO, missing the first 45 minutes in the process. But we were ushered in between scenes and are so glad we persevered.I’m one of those who wouldnt have bothered with this if it wasn’t for AC’s involvment but I’ve to admit Mr Mack has me drawn in, just a funny bloke with lots of funny jokes – can’t be that bad can it?! Miss the America girl but what the heck…A top night out, highly recommended.

  87. Timbo – we saw the week before’s and it took us three and a half hours from Kettering! Thankfully we left in plenty of time and arrived just as people started to queue.(We actually live in Manchester, but have family in Kettering).

  88. Timbo – we saw the week before’s and it took us three and a half hours from Kettering! Thankfully we left in plenty of time and arrived just as people started to queue.(We actually live in Manchester, but have family in Kettering).

  89. Bit of a late post but thought I’d have my say anyway.This series was the first I’d seen, and really liked it – it brightened up Friday nights (sounds bit sad, but ‘not going out’ myself). Of course, not seeing the first series I didn’t have any disappointments about missing characters or new ones jarring.I’m in the minority here but I really liked the cleaner character, her back story was always an enigma – for instance her surprising knowledge of art later on in the series. And her knack of putting Lee Mack in his place (and vice versa).Don’t understand how anyone could find offence (re earlier comments on homophobia), it is the world through Lee Mack’s characters eyes – it’s not supposed to be reality.

Do leave a reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.