Halfway to Robin’s Nest!

robin's nest

It’s been mentioned elsewhere, but to make it official, the sitcom Not Going Out has been recommissioned by BBC1 for a third series. Another eight episodes, I believe. This is great news. Robin’s Nest, which I have just finished watching in its entirety on the ever-reliable Paramount Comedy 2, ran for six series (1977-1981). It’s been weird watching it again. I enjoyed the first few at the time, having been a big fan of Man About The House and George & Mildred (which spun off first, in 1976), but I watched it this time out of cultural curiosity.

How times have changed! First of all: humorous Irish character – one-armed Albert Riddle (David Kelly) – whose main joke is that he’s stupid. Quaintly stupid, but stupid, nonetheless. He was my favourite character, of course! Second: endless hand-on-hip gay jokes – not vicious ones, but there nonetheless. The main set-up of the whole series is that chef Robin Tripp (the charismatic Richard O’Sullivan) and wife Vicky (Tessa Wyatt aka “How could she do that to me?” as she’s known by Tony Blackburn) have her domineering ex-army father, James Nicholls (Tony Britton, mugging for Britain) breathing down their neck, as he is the sleeping partner in the pair’s French bistro in Fulham, perhaps the least atmospheric eaterie in the whole of London. (Seats: about 12 at a push.) Actually, Robin and Vicky weren’t married in series one, and were thus the first “common law” couple in British sitcom, according to the Radio Times Guide To Comedy. As someone who’s spent a great deal of the last two years banging his head against whiteboards trying to come up with plots for a similarly populist sitcom (albeit shown an hour to an hour and a half later), it’s amazing how little actually happens in an episode of Robin’s Nest! It’s always engaging, and O’Sullivan could carry anything with his cheeky teeth, but in what amounts to a full 22 minutes, either James or Albert have to run the restaurant for the night, and … well, and that’s about it. What easily-pleased times.

By the way, hats off to co-creators Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke, who wrote every episode of Man About The House (six series), every episode of George & MIldred (five series), and 14 episodes of this, giving up the ghost around series three and handing over to various others, including George Layton. If I ever complain ever again about my workload, sing the theme tune of Robin’s Nest at me. Doo-doo-do-do-do-dooo-do-doooh etc.

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56 thoughts on “Halfway to Robin’s Nest!

  1. Superb news! Some requests:1. Get rid of Barbara!2. Bring back Kate! Oh go on. A unrequited love triangle where Lee is not going out with either her or Lucy would be great. Maybe.3. Have someone shut the front door occasionally.4. Introduce a one armed Irishman. Maybe he could be a thick cleaner. No, actually don’t.5. Make it as funny as the first series!

  2. Superb news! Some requests:1. Get rid of Barbara!2. Bring back Kate! Oh go on. A unrequited love triangle where Lee is not going out with either her or Lucy would be great. Maybe.3. Have someone shut the front door occasionally.4. Introduce a one armed Irishman. Maybe he could be a thick cleaner. No, actually don’t.5. Make it as funny as the first series!

  3. As I remember, Me and My Girl was quite good. I used to quite fancy Joanne Ridley when I was a little boy. Now we’re on this track, I used to be absolutely head over heels in love with Leslie Ash in ‘The Happy Apple’. It broke my heart when the series ended. She cut her hair in the last episode, and I didn’t like that. A bit like when Olivia Newton John went curly in Grease. The first woman I fell in love with, apart from me Mam, was Debbie Harry singing Sunday Girl. I was in me high chair. I shit you not, I was utterly seduced. It’s funny that, despite falling for blondes in a big way when I was a young man, my wife is a brunette.

  4. As I remember, Me and My Girl was quite good. I used to quite fancy Joanne Ridley when I was a little boy. Now we’re on this track, I used to be absolutely head over heels in love with Leslie Ash in ‘The Happy Apple’. It broke my heart when the series ended. She cut her hair in the last episode, and I didn’t like that. A bit like when Olivia Newton John went curly in Grease. The first woman I fell in love with, apart from me Mam, was Debbie Harry singing Sunday Girl. I was in me high chair. I shit you not, I was utterly seduced. It’s funny that, despite falling for blondes in a big way when I was a young man, my wife is a brunette.

  5. My first crush was on Tegan from the television programme The Doctor Who, starring Peter Davison. Funny that my first crush was on an Australian brunette, my wife is Chinese. You couldn’t make it up could you?.

  6. My first crush was on Tegan from the television programme The Doctor Who, starring Peter Davison. Funny that my first crush was on an Australian brunette, my wife is Chinese. You couldn’t make it up could you?.

  7. I used to fancy Joanne Ridley when I was young too. And I was more of a Nyssa of Traken man myself. I think my first crush was Lesley Judd. Although it may have been Clodagh Rogers. Anyway, easily distracted me, what I reall ywanted to say was a) Well done on being re-commissioned, Top Banana! Like the man hit by a steam train, you must be chuffed to bits. (Sorry, it’s one of my favourite jokes.)Indeed, very little happened in Robin’s Nest, but it’s the cosy familiarity people like. Most “traditional” sit-coms (and again apologies for my lazy “quotation marks”, and brackets) rely on familiarity and people being comfortable with the characters. There is a cosiness, but that’s not me being critical, as settling down to watch a comfortable happy cosy sit-com is like being back with friends. And I suppose that’s why “Friends” was so successful. And when it went away from the familiar, it suffered. Which I suppose is true with most sit-coms and indeed dramas. The list of not as good as the actual series Christmas Specials is as long as Albert the Washer-up’s good arm. And for that reason alone, the fact that the “Not Going Out Christmas Special” is set entirely in the flat, is a wise and clever move.On a bleaker note, I believe Richard O’Sullivan has spent the past few years in a care home having suffered serious ill health icluding a number of strokes. So, to avoid ending the post on a downbeat note, What’s got 4 legs and goes Aaaah? A sheep with no lips.

  8. I used to fancy Joanne Ridley when I was young too. And I was more of a Nyssa of Traken man myself. I think my first crush was Lesley Judd. Although it may have been Clodagh Rogers. Anyway, easily distracted me, what I reall ywanted to say was a) Well done on being re-commissioned, Top Banana! Like the man hit by a steam train, you must be chuffed to bits. (Sorry, it’s one of my favourite jokes.)Indeed, very little happened in Robin’s Nest, but it’s the cosy familiarity people like. Most “traditional” sit-coms (and again apologies for my lazy “quotation marks”, and brackets) rely on familiarity and people being comfortable with the characters. There is a cosiness, but that’s not me being critical, as settling down to watch a comfortable happy cosy sit-com is like being back with friends. And I suppose that’s why “Friends” was so successful. And when it went away from the familiar, it suffered. Which I suppose is true with most sit-coms and indeed dramas. The list of not as good as the actual series Christmas Specials is as long as Albert the Washer-up’s good arm. And for that reason alone, the fact that the “Not Going Out Christmas Special” is set entirely in the flat, is a wise and clever move.On a bleaker note, I believe Richard O’Sullivan has spent the past few years in a care home having suffered serious ill health icluding a number of strokes. So, to avoid ending the post on a downbeat note, What’s got 4 legs and goes Aaaah? A sheep with no lips.

  9. For Richard O’Sullivan fans, there’s a really great photo of him, taken last year, on the website of Mr Robert Ross, boyish British comedy expert, good egg and co-ordinator of vintage-comedy DVD commentaries. Go to Gallery 2 and scroll down to the thumbnail of four gentlemen on the roof, marked “Poland Street, Soho 2006”. He seems, yes, older, but in good shape for a man who’s had a number of strokes. I warn you about Robert’s site: there’s a lot of love in the room! And you make have to stay awhile if you like British comedy.

  10. For Richard O’Sullivan fans, there’s a really great photo of him, taken last year, on the website of Mr Robert Ross, boyish British comedy expert, good egg and co-ordinator of vintage-comedy DVD commentaries. Go to Gallery 2 and scroll down to the thumbnail of four gentlemen on the roof, marked “Poland Street, Soho 2006”. He seems, yes, older, but in good shape for a man who’s had a number of strokes. I warn you about Robert’s site: there’s a lot of love in the room! And you make have to stay awhile if you like British comedy.

  11. I was just thinking how conscious we are nowadays of programmes in “seasons” or “series”. Back in the day, things like “Robin’s Nest” were just “on” or “not on”. I think they were improved by us having to wait a week for the next show – same goes for serials like Dr Who and the like. TV on-demand and DVD-Boxsets make for a quite different viewing experience.All I can really remember about “Robin’s Nest” was some joke where the bistro sign said “Robin Snest”.

  12. I was just thinking how conscious we are nowadays of programmes in “seasons” or “series”. Back in the day, things like “Robin’s Nest” were just “on” or “not on”. I think they were improved by us having to wait a week for the next show – same goes for serials like Dr Who and the like. TV on-demand and DVD-Boxsets make for a quite different viewing experience.All I can really remember about “Robin’s Nest” was some joke where the bistro sign said “Robin Snest”.

  13. Well done on getting the third series, glad the change in personnel in the BBC didn’t effect that.I saw Lesley Judd in a pantomine of Peter Pan when I was quite little, up until that point I thought people on TV were imaginary.

  14. Well done on getting the third series, glad the change in personnel in the BBC didn’t effect that.I saw Lesley Judd in a pantomine of Peter Pan when I was quite little, up until that point I thought people on TV were imaginary.

  15. Robin’s Nest was of course the favourite sit-com of Alan Partridge (in the radio 4 series). ‘The dish-washer only had one arm! Which is hilarious when you think about it.’Ken

  16. Robin’s Nest was of course the favourite sit-com of Alan Partridge (in the radio 4 series). ‘The dish-washer only had one arm! Which is hilarious when you think about it.’Ken

  17. What with the whole being-at-least-20-years-too-young-to-have-seen-it-originally thing, I watched Robin’s Nest when PC2 first showed it a few years back. Actually found it to be surprisingly depressing, if I’m honest. Probably should watch again at some point. I seem to recall that there was one episode that they didn’t seem to ever show though, series 2 episode 5 or something like that. Any ideas if they’ve really been showing them all, Andrew?(Absolutely loved G&M though.)

  18. What with the whole being-at-least-20-years-too-young-to-have-seen-it-originally thing, I watched Robin’s Nest when PC2 first showed it a few years back. Actually found it to be surprisingly depressing, if I’m honest. Probably should watch again at some point. I seem to recall that there was one episode that they didn’t seem to ever show though, series 2 episode 5 or something like that. Any ideas if they’ve really been showing them all, Andrew?(Absolutely loved G&M though.)

  19. I very much enjoyed Robin’s Nest, George And Mildred, and Man About The House (presumably repeats) in my youth but anything I’ve seen of them since has just left me thinking how rubbish they were. OK, rubbish is probably a bit strong, and G&M can still raise a laugh but only because of the great performances (in the same way that Bless This House was only technically a comedy because Sid James – or more specifically Sid James’s face – was in it). I wonder how many adults watched those shows when there were no kids in the room. Mind you, “the other side” was a much smaller place back then.

  20. I very much enjoyed Robin’s Nest, George And Mildred, and Man About The House (presumably repeats) in my youth but anything I’ve seen of them since has just left me thinking how rubbish they were. OK, rubbish is probably a bit strong, and G&M can still raise a laugh but only because of the great performances (in the same way that Bless This House was only technically a comedy because Sid James – or more specifically Sid James’s face – was in it). I wonder how many adults watched those shows when there were no kids in the room. Mind you, “the other side” was a much smaller place back then.

  21. I don’t know exactly why, but I really, really love Bless This House. So much so that it’s definitely one of my favourite sitcoms.Don’t ask me why, although I’m sure Sid’s got a lot to do with it.If you have the means, check out the first episode of series five; They Don’t Write Songs Like That Anymore. Cracks me up every time.

  22. I don’t know exactly why, but I really, really love Bless This House. So much so that it’s definitely one of my favourite sitcoms.Don’t ask me why, although I’m sure Sid’s got a lot to do with it.If you have the means, check out the first episode of series five; They Don’t Write Songs Like That Anymore. Cracks me up every time.

  23. Looking up Richard O’Sullivan’s Wikipedia entry I saw this and had a little laugh After a family holiday in Ireland as a boy, O’Sullivan returned with a strong Irish accent and was sent to stage school to try to get rid of it, thus starting a distinguished acting career. The one-armed dishwasher was also the stereotypical cowboy Oirish builder on Fawlty Towers. If you can’t laugh at yourself…

  24. Looking up Richard O’Sullivan’s Wikipedia entry I saw this and had a little laugh After a family holiday in Ireland as a boy, O’Sullivan returned with a strong Irish accent and was sent to stage school to try to get rid of it, thus starting a distinguished acting career. The one-armed dishwasher was also the stereotypical cowboy Oirish builder on Fawlty Towers. If you can’t laugh at yourself…

  25. Actually, scratch that, it’s Christmas, not a time for pot shots. Horses for courses, and all that. I don’t want to be responsible for you going Colonel Kurtz again.

  26. Actually, scratch that, it’s Christmas, not a time for pot shots. Horses for courses, and all that. I don’t want to be responsible for you going Colonel Kurtz again.

  27. When I first saw this news on BSG I actually jumped out my seat a little. ‘Not Going Out’ is my favourite comedy at the moment – I love every minute of it!I hope you don’t change much about the new series. But, to echo previous comments, it’d be great to see Lee and Tim together more frequently, and the flat door kept shut (it makes me un-easy when it’s open).Congratulations again!

  28. When I first saw this news on BSG I actually jumped out my seat a little. ‘Not Going Out’ is my favourite comedy at the moment – I love every minute of it!I hope you don’t change much about the new series. But, to echo previous comments, it’d be great to see Lee and Tim together more frequently, and the flat door kept shut (it makes me un-easy when it’s open).Congratulations again!

  29. Dafthead, I can get my head around the notion that not everybody in the land likes Not Going Out. (How could they? It would get over 60 million viewers if they did.) In my 42 years on earth and I have to realise that not everybody finds the same things funny. These truths are self-evident, and actually not worth pointing out, however, what irks me is the way people like you come on here and take pot shots at Not Going Out (and by extension, me), because you are among those who don’t like it. Does it make you feel big and strong? Why not use your real name if you want to go public? I don’t mention the third series in order to gather praise in a big net, I mention it because a) I’m very proud of the programme, and b) I assume some people who visit my website might wish to know. In other words, it’s no great revelation to discover that an individual doesn’t find it funny, but it continues to amaze me that you get so much sport out of having a pop. It’s my work. It’s what I do. If you don’t like it, just keep it to yourself, why don’t you? Christmas or otherwise, when is it a good time for pot shots? (I’m not about to go Colonel Kurtz, by the way. That was a different matter.)

  30. Dafthead, I can get my head around the notion that not everybody in the land likes Not Going Out. (How could they? It would get over 60 million viewers if they did.) In my 42 years on earth and I have to realise that not everybody finds the same things funny. These truths are self-evident, and actually not worth pointing out, however, what irks me is the way people like you come on here and take pot shots at Not Going Out (and by extension, me), because you are among those who don’t like it. Does it make you feel big and strong? Why not use your real name if you want to go public? I don’t mention the third series in order to gather praise in a big net, I mention it because a) I’m very proud of the programme, and b) I assume some people who visit my website might wish to know. In other words, it’s no great revelation to discover that an individual doesn’t find it funny, but it continues to amaze me that you get so much sport out of having a pop. It’s my work. It’s what I do. If you don’t like it, just keep it to yourself, why don’t you? Christmas or otherwise, when is it a good time for pot shots? (I’m not about to go Colonel Kurtz, by the way. That was a different matter.)

  31. I liked George and Mildred. I liked the bit when Mildred ironed Georges trousers, but he put them on too soon and they scalded him. God only knows how hot that iron was. Mega hot, I reckon. Ha ha.

  32. I liked George and Mildred. I liked the bit when Mildred ironed Georges trousers, but he put them on too soon and they scalded him. God only knows how hot that iron was. Mega hot, I reckon. Ha ha.

  33. Congrats on the recommissioning stuff – I didn’t see the first series, but very much enjoyed the second. If you really want to make yourself go bonkers by the way, sing the theme to tune to Terry and June – it can stay lodged inside you for days…

  34. Congrats on the recommissioning stuff – I didn’t see the first series, but very much enjoyed the second. If you really want to make yourself go bonkers by the way, sing the theme to tune to Terry and June – it can stay lodged inside you for days…

  35. Coincidentally I was talking to a friend at the weekend about TV chefs and she asked if I’d seen a chap who has 2 Michelin stars but only one arm. I hadn’t seen him but the Irish fella from Robin’s Nest flew into my mind. Now, here he is again!Robin’s Nest is one of those (G&M, Bless This House, Doctor films + the Robin Nedwell version, and all Carry On’s) that give me a warm n fuzzy just cos it takes me back to my youth. My 10 year old loves My Family and will probably have the same feeling in 30 years time.Well done Andrew on getting the new series – I haven’t seen the first two but will look out for it now.

  36. Coincidentally I was talking to a friend at the weekend about TV chefs and she asked if I’d seen a chap who has 2 Michelin stars but only one arm. I hadn’t seen him but the Irish fella from Robin’s Nest flew into my mind. Now, here he is again!Robin’s Nest is one of those (G&M, Bless This House, Doctor films + the Robin Nedwell version, and all Carry On’s) that give me a warm n fuzzy just cos it takes me back to my youth. My 10 year old loves My Family and will probably have the same feeling in 30 years time.Well done Andrew on getting the new series – I haven’t seen the first two but will look out for it now.

  37. AAAARGH – Iamnothebeatles has put the Terry & June theme tune in my head, and I can’t shift the vision of Terry Scott falling through a patio recliner.Curse you, Iamnotthebeatles!PS – Why is every blog on Blogger.com making me sign in today?

  38. AAAARGH – Iamnothebeatles has put the Terry & June theme tune in my head, and I can’t shift the vision of Terry Scott falling through a patio recliner.Curse you, Iamnotthebeatles!PS – Why is every blog on Blogger.com making me sign in today?

  39. Actually Andrew, I completely agree with you, that’s why I back tracked (although I can understand why you needed to answer my original naughty comment).The best time for pot shots is June.Best Wishes,Stuart Maconie.

  40. Actually Andrew, I completely agree with you, that’s why I back tracked (although I can understand why you needed to answer my original naughty comment).The best time for pot shots is June.Best Wishes,Stuart Maconie.

  41. The Irish chap was also in Cowboys with Colin Welland (“If a job’s worth doing it’s worth doing wrong, with a something too something and something too long”). He played a stupid Irishman, I think.

  42. The Irish chap was also in Cowboys with Colin Welland (“If a job’s worth doing it’s worth doing wrong, with a something too something and something too long”). He played a stupid Irishman, I think.

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