16 May 2001 | west-1
Pioneering, imaginative TV comedy
A pioneering comedy series, postmodernist before there was such a thing, and a wonderful demonstration of Anthony Newley's genius in the art of self-mockery.
The Newley character, playing the lead in a ghastly domestic soap opera, suddenly walks off the set in disgust, but to his horror finds he can't escape the cameras.
A slight, pathetic figure in a shabby raincoat, he wanders about London - seen and unseen - talking to himself, a dog, a dustbin, dancing with a girl who's come down from an advertising poster... He's looking for some answers, but finds the world is surreal, absurd, trivial and bewildering. Like Alice.
The theme tune - wistful but jaunty - (which Newley summons up with a piano-playing action of the hand) - expresses his character unforgettably.
The series probably altered the history of comedy, and forty years on we still get allusions to it in advertisements.