9 May 2011 | heathblair
Not quite gone, not quite forgotten.
I was very young when I watched Well Anyway, about 10 or 11. I loved it. Bird and Fortune were new faces to me then. In those days, long before their great stint as the Two Johns, they weren't well known to general television audiences.
The premise for the series, as I remember it, was that Fortune barged into Bird's flat claiming to be an old college chum (probably a total fabrication) and sweet-talked his old "friend" into letting him stay. But Fortune's character is just a parasitical chancer who embroils Bird (a man at a perpetual loose end) into a stream of crass money making schemes.
At times, the series could be quite subdued, almost like a Beckett play for two. But it was always wryly funny and, occasionally, quite surreal. I remember one episode where Fortune persuades Bird to create an artificial life-form from the odds and ends lying around his kitchen. The not-so-honourable goal was to win the Nobel Prize for chemistry and collect the forty grand cash prize.
I think I read somewhere, ages ago, that Bird and Fortune practically disowned the show, saying that it wasn't very good. Who knows, maybe it wasn't. But it made me laugh at the time, and it had an nice off-kilter atmosphere (I liked that kind of thing then and now) not unlike Black Books or Nightingales.
I'd love to see it again. Why allow gems like this to gather dust in the BBC vaults? Well anyway...