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July 10th - August 14th, 1995
Comedy Firsts is series consisting of five unrelated sitcom pilots and one sketch show pilot that aired in 1995. Each had a different cast and writers. Two of the episodes later lead onto full series: Barbara and Sometime, Never.
Barbara Liversage (Gwen Taylor) is a no-nonsense nosey Yorkshire woman who works at a doctor's receptionist with a sharp tongue. She is married to Ted (Sam Kelly), a taxi driver. Her son Neil (Benedict Sandiford) still lives at home, while her daughter Linda (Caroline Milmoe) is married to chef Martin Benson (Glen Davies). Barbara's sister is Jean (Shirley Anne Field) who is married to Phil (John Arthur) while her colleague is Doreen (Madge Hindle).
Three series of Barbara aired from 1999 to 2003.
Writers: Mark Bussell, Rob Clark, Ramsay Gilderdale & Graham Mark Walker
Director: Les Chatfield
Note: Approximately 2 minutes are missing from the start of this episode.
Maxine Bailey (Sara Crowe) is a single, acid-tongued liberal drama teacher at an inner-city comprehensive. On her 31st birthday she reflects on her life, annoyed that fellow teacher Louise Kilgarith (Lucinda Fisher) got a promotion she wanted and generally annoyed with her ex-boyfriend Ian (Harry Burton). Her best friend Bernice (Ann Bryson) lives in the flat above her. Also starring Saeed Jaffrey as headteacher Harry and Sean Carnegie as Jason Williams.
One series of Sometime, Never aired in 1996.
Writer: Jenny Lecoat
Director: Baz Taylor
Davy Kotowski (Griff Rhys Jones) is a petty officer aboard submarine HMS Wolverine. Following a rigged arm-wrestling contest, half the crew are in slings. Kotowski is then brought before the Captain, Alec McCleod (John Docherty) for the ninth time. He is sentenced to denial of shore leave and 20 hours laundry duty, most of which he delegates to the simple sailor Chris Cheese (William Ivory). Kotowski then plots his revenge on Lionel Pinner (Ian Bartholomew) and Cheese ends up having a £100 grudge darts match with Pinner on Kotowski's behalf. Also starring Anthony Smee as Roger Tench, Paul Shearer as Proudlove, Peter-Hugo Daly as Galloway, Perry Benson as Coxswain, Ben Miller as Simon Adair, Alexander Armstrong as Alastair Simpson and Jake Abraham as Mickey Davis.
Writers: Gareth Edwards, Chris Langham & Ben Miller
Director: Charlie Hanson
The NHS Hillcroft Medical Centre has a vacancy for a practise manager. The receptionist Beryl Oldham (Brigit Forsyth) is the favourite for the job, but then pompous ex-Army officer Maurice Ribley (Patrick Barlow) arrives and he is given the job. Also starring Peter Jones as Dr. Roger Capstick, Ashley Jensen as Amanda Cookson, Simon Slater as Dr. Duncan Pettifer and Sarah Lam as Dr. Anna Chen.
Writer: Jim Hitchmough
Director: Charlie Hanson
Clive (Kevin McNally) and Carol Smith (Rebecca Lacey) are a Merseyside couple who are struggling to raise their two teenage children, Wayne (Scott Neal) and Debbie (Heather Jones) in a small semi-detached house. The walls are so thin Clive and Carol have to make love in their car, but when the car needs repairs they have to go without for a few weeks. When Clive and his friend Geoff (Rowland Rivron) fix the car, it is sold while they are down the pub. Also starring Jackie Downey as Linda, Sonia Evans as Doona, Geoffrey Hughes as Dooley and Angus Lennie as Wilf.
Writer: Julian Roach
Director: Tim Poole
A sketch show starring Fiona Allen, Don Gilet, Alan D. Marriott, Curtis Walker and Angela Wynter. It included a character called Triviaman and a spoof of Casualty called Casually.
Writers: Andrew Barclay, Will Buckley, Jane Bussmann, David Coe, Geoff Deane, Carlton Dixon, Sharon Foster, Jeremy Front, Tony Gardiner, Paul Henry, Paul Johnson, Jo Martin, David Quantick
Director: Chris Bould
Thanks to nwab (a.b.m.comedy.british) for these files!
Some of the other rather spiffing shows available now and always if you signup free @ www.TheBox.bz:
Comedy: The Office, Peep Show, Coupling, Chef, Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses, The IT Crowd, Brass Eye, Nathan Barley, Young Ones, Monty Python, Blackadder, Alan Partridge, Father Ted, Coupling, Little Britain, Mr Bean, Extras, Green Wing, Mighty Boosh
Drama: Casualty, Holby City, The Bill, Hustle, Skins, Shameless, Ashes To Ashes
Game/Quiz Shows: Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Have I Got News For You, Deal Or No Deal (UK), Q.I.
Education/Documentary: Planet Earth, Horizon, Panorama, Mark Thomas (Comedy) Product
Food: Hell's Kitchen, Jamie Oliver, The F Word, Kitchen Nightmares, Masterchef, Great British Menu, Gordon Ramsay's Cookalong
Home/Property/Garden: Property Ladder, How Clean Is Your House?, Changing Rooms, Grand Designs, Homes Under The Hammer, To Buy Or Not To Buy
Motoring: Top Gear, Fifth Gear
Music: Top Of The Pops, Jools Holland, Glastonbury
Reality: Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity - Get Me Out of Here!, Any Dream Will Do, Grease, Pop Idol, Wife Swap, X Factor, Badger Or Bust, Apprentice UK, Dragons' Den, Britain's Got Talent
Sci-Fi: Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Torchwood, Primeval
Sport: Football (Soccer), Cricket, Rugby, Snooker, Darts, Formula One (F1GP)