7 August 2006 | ShadeGrenade
"I'm H.A.P.P.Y.! I know I am, I'm sure I am, I'm H.A.P.P.Y.!"
Two years after the end of 'Doctor On The Go', I.T.V. came up with another hit medical sitcom, only this time the main characters were the patients, not the doctors.
'Only When I Laugh' was a screamingly funny show from 'Rising Damp' author Eric Chappell. Three patients from differing social backgrounds - trouble making lorry driver Roy Figgis ( James Bolam ), naive Norman Binns ( Christopher Strauli ), and rich hypochondriac Archie Glover ( Peter Bowles ) - share a hospital ward. Their 'nemesis' is the pompous Dr.Gordon Thorpe ( Richard Wilson in what was his best television role before 'One Foot In The Grave' ). The Indian male nurse Gupte ( Derrick Branche ) was well-meaning but incompetent, and this led to the series being branded 'racist' in some quarters. Gupte mysteriously vanished from the later episodes. Bolam's 'Figgis' wasn't far removed from 'Terry Collier' of 'Likely Lads' fame, while Bowles' 'Glover' was a try-out for his later series 'The Bounder'.
Although it stretched credibility somewhat that all three men should be confined to hospital for such an incredibly long time, this was one of I.T.V.'s best sitcoms of the late '70's/early '80's. Great theme tune, too!