Average family sitcoms have usually been popular with viewers over the years, such as 'Bless This House', 'Bread' and 'Keep It In The Family'. '2 Point 4 Children' is nothing like any of these. In fact, it probably has more in common with Matt Groening's animated classic 'The Simpsons'.
The Porter family are an average family who seems to find themselves in all manner of surreal situations. The matriarch of the family is the long suffering Bill ( played the the gorgeous Belinda Lang ), who like Marge Simpson, is able to keep hold of her sanity despite the never ending stream of chaos that takes place around her. Her husband Ben ( were they any relation to 'The Flower Pot Men'? ), like Homer Simpson, was an overweight, overgrown child who worked as a central heating repairman. The children, who could be the Lisa and Bart equivalents, are Jenny and David, her a bright but fiery individual and he a mischievous delinquent with a fondness for horror movies.
Bill initially works in a bakery with her man-mad friend Rona ( Julia Hills, who I thought was one of the hottest women on television in the '90's ) but in later episodes they end up running their own catering business.
Lang and Hills made a formidable comic pairing however the late Gary Olsen was the one who stole the show as the laddish Ben. He was taken from us incredibly young in 2000 at the age of 42 after losing a battle with cancer. The lovely Claire Woodgate ( now known as Georgina Cates ) played Jenny in the first two series but her place was later taken by the equally sexy Claire Buckfield. John Pickard portrayed tearaway David. Other appearances included Kim Benson as Ben's surly assistant Christine, Liz Smith as Bill's interfering, chain-smoking mother, Patricia Brake ( later replaced by Sandra Dickinson ) as Ben's snooty sister Tina and and Alex Kew as Declan.
Andrew Marshall, like his former partner David Renwick, may not have ever created outstanding comedy ( that's my personal view at least ) but he knew how to write funny dialogue and was unafraid to explore darker areas.
Among some of the funniest moments included Rona and Bill attempting to bring back duty free alcohol from France, only to end up accidentally smuggling back a dangerous animal, Ben being stuck on top of a piano which ends up careering at speed down a hill, Ben purchasing a life-size replica of the FAB-1 car from 'Thunderbirds' and a very funny spoof of Patrick MacGoohan's '70's drama 'The Prisoner'. Less funny were the Christmas specials, usually featuring a spoof musical item at the end of each episode.
The first three series were released on DVD some time ago however clearance issues have prevented further releases. UK Gold ran all eight series a few years ago however it is unlikely to be seen again anytime soon, which is sad as while it is no classic, it is superior to many modern sitcoms such as 'My Family' or 'Gavin & Stacey'. The thought of '2 Point 4 Children' festering away somewhere in a vault whilst something as lame as 'Miranda' gets nominated for an award makes my heart sink