8 April 2001 | G.Spider
One of the finest drama/comedies ever made.
Victor Meldrew, retired security guard and human sponge 'soaking up every misery in the world' will surely be remembered in many years to come as one of comedy's greatest creations. Not to say that 'One Foot in the Grave' is strictly 2-D comedy. As with all the best of these kinds of things, it is more of a drama series which just happens to be funny. There is a good cast of genuine characters, all played with believability. Among them are Victor's long-suffering wife Margaret, her friend Mrs Warboys (who always seems to end up on the wrong end of disaster), next-door neighbours Patrick and Pippa (the former a Victor-in-the-making), and the enigmatic Mr Swainey who lives with his mysterious never-seen mother. And the programme certainly manages non-stop hilarity and plenty of genuine belly laughs throughout its six series and various extra-long specials. Well-written,inventive and clever plots involve everything from the everyday to the bizarre. Especially notable are hundreds of garden gnomes turning up on Victor's doorstep, Victor and Mrs Warboys both getting a foot stuck in a bag of plaster and having to heave it along with them as they attempt to find their way out of 'the set from Apocolypse Now', a caravan which contains the ghost of a devil worshipper, a chimpanzee which has a 'thing' for Victor, a scorpion talisman which brings down a plague of bad luck on its owner, and a guest house which is 'more like a wildlife kingdom'. Also memorable are the episodes involving one long scene - Victor stuck in a traffic jam, waiting for a telephone call and sitting in a waiting area. The fact that a half-hour episode in which nothing actually happens can be hilarious, entertaining and meaningful demonstrates the skill and depth of writing and the high quality of acting present throughout the series. Victor himself, despite initially coming across as a grumpy old man, is actually one of the most sympathetic characters ever created. Everybody can relate to the problems he faces on a daily basis, and everyone can cheer him on as he says and does the kinds of things we've all longed to do in certain trying situations. If you're a fan of any kind of comedy then this is unmissable.