28 November 2005 | ShadeGrenade
In 1991, fresh from their successes on 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?', Paul Merton and Josie Lawrence both landed their own shows on Channel 4. Merton's was the better received, running to two seasons. But what of Josie's? Well, the ratings were disappointing, and it wasn't renewed. Which was a shame because it was an enjoyable, amusing series in the tradition of those wonderful Beryl Reid shows made by the B.B.C. in the '70's. Josie played a variety of characters, including the Kylie Minogue-like 'Trudi Kellogg', the Gracie Fields-inspired 'Miss Josie Meadows' and 'Linda Tufnell', a housewife who discovers she has blood connections to the Royal Family. The quality of the sketches varied, many were overlong, but Josie herself was magnificent in them. Anne Caulfield's 'FAB!' spoofed '60's movies like 'Georgy Girl', Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse's 'Holiday' featured Josie and Lesley Sharp as Giselle and Marlene, two Brummie girls let loose in sunny Spain. The characters had series potential, which went unrealised. Music featured prominently in the show; 'Harmony' reunited Josie with Denise Black, with whom she'd once been part of an act called 'The Kray Sisters', 'Juliette et Giacomo' was an operatic version of a famous nursery rhyme ( guess which one ), and 'Tired & Emotional' a wonderful send-up of all those overwrought Dorothy Squires numbers. Each show closed with Josie doing a spot of improv. The humour was unusually sophisticated by Channel 4's standards. Two compilations were later made, entitled ( what else ? ) 'Bits Of Josie'. The show was never repeated in its entirety, and is currently unavailable on D.V.D., a situation that needs to be rectified urgently. After its cancellation, Josie quickly bounced back, first in the movie 'Enchanted April', and then in the sublime 'Outside Edge' for I.T.V. She was later to say about her series: "I wasn't allowed to fail quietly.". You didn't fail, Josie.