15 October 2005 | davideo-2
Mildly amusing, but certainly nothing more
STAR RATING: ***** The Works **** Just Misses the Mark *** That Little Bit In Between ** Lagging Behind * The Pits
When the testimony of Boycie (John Challis) nearly sends the Driscoll Brothers, two of Peckham's most notorious gangsters, down before the case collapses due to a technicality, him, his infamous wife Marlene (Sue Holderness) and their teenage son Tyler are forced to relocate to the Staffordshire countryside, where their big city ways create a 'hilarious' culture clash with the stuck in their ways locals.
This long-awaited spin off of the hugely successful (and rightfully so) BBC comedy series Only Fools and Horses finally came to the end of it's series last night. But I missed it, along with the last two episodes before it. Which should be an indication of, despite how eagerly I awaited it, intently missable I ended up finding it.
I had this strong suspicion it would all fall flat on it's face before I even saw it and I'm sure there were those whose knives were sharpening straight away who wanted it to fail. But, sadly, to a large degree, this is what's happened.
Being as huge as OFAH was, a spin-off show was always going to happen one day. And, short of Del and Rodney being the two leading stars and basically just starting another series again, Boycie ('heh heh heh heh heh heh heh') and Maaar-lene were probably the best characters to choose (although the writer showed a bit of indecision by having Denzil make a guest appearance in the first episode!) But whichever way you look at it, it's a series that's simply clutching at straws and the desperation cracks are apparent from the off-set, even with John Sullivan back as the writer (more money in the bank.)
The main problem is simply that it's rarely ever funny. There were only one or two moments that raised a mild chuckle, and I can't even remember the jokes. Challis and Holderness desperately try to re-ignite the chemistry they once shared, but the dead script simply kills any chance of it. The show appears very cheap and slapped together in light of it's source of inspiration, most apparent in the opening and closing credits, with some clunky production values to match it. The only other redeeming feature is Sullivan singing the opening theme again in true OFAH vein.
You knew it was desperate to begin with, and that it would never match the quality of where it came from. And, sadly, here what you see is what you get. **