The formula used in writing One Foot in the Grave (1990) is unique. The writer would first think of the most ridiculous circumstances Victor would find himself in and then work backwards, explaining the events leading to the final moments of the episode.
Although "I don't believe it" is the catchphrase of the show, the first time Victor said it was in the last few minutes of the final episode of the first series.
Richard Wilson initially turned down the role because he thought he was too young to play a 60-year-old character, as he was only 54 when the series was first broadcast. It was almost offered to comedian Les Dawson before Wilson changed his mind.
A number of complaints were made during the series' run for its depiction of animal deaths. For example, in One Foot in the Grave: The Valley of Fear (1990), a dead cat is found in the Meldrews' freezer; in another, a tortoise is roasted in a brazier. The programme was censured, however, for a scene in One Foot in the Grave: Hearts of Darkness (1993) in which an elderly resident is abused in an old people's home, and following complaints, the scene was slightly cut when the episode was repeated. In the DVD commentary for the episode, David Renwick stated his continued opposition to the cuts. Another controversial scene in One Foot in the Grave: Tales of Terror (2000) saw the Meldrews visit Ronnie and Mildred on the understanding that Mildred had gone upstairs during a game of Happy Families and not returned; Ronnie then shows her feet hanging outside of the window, revealing that she has committed suicide. The Broadcasting Standards Commission received complaints about this scene.
Richard Wilson dislikes saying his character's catchphrase ("I don't believe it!") and only performs the line for charity events for a small fee.
Richard Wilson added quite a few instances of "I don't believe it!" that weren't originally called for in the scripts.
While their characters hated each other, Richard Wilson and Angus Deayton are good friends. Wilson was even godfather to Deayton's son.