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  • When I saw the write-up for 'Not Going Out', I was dubious - Friday evening on BBC1 isn't usually fertile ground for good comedy. I actually watched it almost by accident, but it turned out to be a happy accident, because 'Not Going Out' is an underrated gem.

    Lee Mack ("always cheeky, never blue") is perfect and strangely charming as unambitious slacker, Lee, and Tim 'The Joke Machine-Gun' Vine is also excellent as his accountant best friend. Their friendship is really well-observed, even if they do spend much of the time trading in jokes and insults. Up against a pair of stand-up comedians, Megan Dodds has a tough job, but more than holds her own playing Lee's landlady (and Tim's ex-girlfriend) Kate. Dodds and Mack have a natural chemistry, and make you believe quite easily that an ultra-healthy Californian publisher could fall for an unemployed northern dosser. (It's interesting that comedian Catherine Tate was in the original pilot as Kate - somehow, I can't imagine it working so well without Megan Dodds. She and Mack play off each other so well.)

    At times 'Not Going Out' seems like it's a framework for a bunch of stand-up jokes (and Mack does recycle some one-liners from his BBC radio show), but as the series goes on the story lines are getting better and the characters more engaging. It has genuine laugh-out-loud moments that stay with you for the next few days, and it's just refreshing to watch a comedy that doesn't mind being daft and isn't attempting to be political or subversive.

    'Not Going Out' deserves a second series, because I know that Lee Mack and Andrew Collins have a lot more gags left in the tank - and I think the fall-out arising from a Lee/Kate romance could be pretty explosive, not to mention amusing!
  • "Not Going Out" has a very simple set-up. Kate, a successful American lives with her friend Lee, a hopeless, almost unemployable layabout Northerner. Also on the scene is her ex-boyfriend Tim, a Southerner who cheated on her with a younger woman. Cynically the inclusion of an American sounds like a way of introducing it to the overseas market, but it works quite well as a large amount of the humour comes from the chalk and cheese relationship of the characters, especially between Lee and Kate. Most of the laughs come from fast-paced joke telling, no surprise to anyone who has seen Tim Vine on stage as he holds the Guiness World Record for the most jokes told in an hour. All the leads are very good at the delivery, with Megan Dodds managing to keep up well with the two stand-up comedians.

    The first episode was pretty poor, but was just good enough for me to take a look at the second. I am extremely glad I did since the series improved continually from then on.

    While being far from perfect, "Not Going Out" is rare these days for being an original comedy and one with some good laughs in it. With the schedules being clogged with sitcoms that stopped being funny a number of series ago (My Family, My Hero) and ones that were should never have got a second series (The Green Green Grass) and even those so-called comedies that were first aired on BBC3 because they are complete garbage (Tittybangbang) this stood out from the crowd.

    I hope this gets another series as it is truly one of the very few new comedies in 2006 that I think deserves another chance. More work needs to be done on the story lines as there is often not enough narrative in each episode to carry it through without seeming forced, but there is the potential here for a really great comedy.
  • Voetsek7 October 2006
    Few and far between in the last decade; a British comedy that is funny. Lee Mack on top form, Tim Vine, less frenetic compared to his stand up but excellent nonetheless and Megan Dodds playing the role of the straight man(woman) perfectly. Anyone who has seen or heard Lee Mack will know that when he plays restrained in this he could be about to explode with even funnier lines. Ditto for Tim Vine but in terms of the speed of delivery of his jokes. Any complaints about the US style scene links - nice shots of London by day and night - are just carping. If you don't like this then go to the other end of the spectrum and watch My Family. Robert Lindsay and all those responsible for that turd of a "sitcom" should watch Not Going Out, realise that My Family is a crime against humanity and kill themselves. Lee Mack for PM!
  • A refreshing comedy full of wit and one liners that could only be delivered by Lee Mack and Tim Vine (both ex-the sketch show).

    A Californian (Kate) - landlady to Lee and ex-girlfriend of Tim who makes veggie food nobody likes, a Northerner (Lee) - part-time, odd jobbing, always joking, non rent paying lodger, and a Southerner (Tim)- good job, Kates ex-boyfriend, mate of Lee, combine their talents to make an excellent comedy with loads of potential.

    3 episodes so far and it just keeps getting funnier, although there appears to be a love interest developing between Kate and Lee it can only add to the laughter (provided it remains unrequited).

    Friday nights will not be the same without it.

    An absolute gem amongst todays mediocre Sit-Com's.

    Hope there will be more than 1 series (only 6 episodes! What a crime).
  • I have to agree profusely with some comments that have been made on this title. Watching the two series I have been compelled by the nature of the comedy-which I have accertained as a compromise between stand-up comedy and a sitcom. Rather than to shroud the characters true feelings, as has been done before, all characters speak their mind. This brings the result of a comedic 'battle' between them in which their unresolved disputes and generic arguments are turned to light-hearted funny quirks in the viewers perspective, as the drama unfolds for all those involved-namely for the unfortunate Lee, who seems to be at the tail-end of most decisions and seems to have most bad-luck.

    Conclusively, I believe that the more unnatural stance on this genre is very effective for a wide audience, and makes a welcome change from your standard sitcom. Moreover, I believe that an entertaining show such as this does not need to develop further. As has happened in many American comedy shows, characters and plots have been killed off by over-running; but a good show should end whilst it is still laughed at and enjoyed by its viewers, as to bring it into a reputable class of British comedy.
  • amjpedersen17 October 2006
    Having seen Lee Mack live earlier this year, i had been looking forward to seeing Not Going Out for quite some time. I've found Friday nights to be a little dry on decent comedy for quite a while now and hoped Lee would bring a little ray of sunshine to my favourite night of the week. I'm thrilled to say I wasn't disappointed and Not Going Out delivered the goods like a 10 ton truck! The leads were all great in their roles delivering funny performances with plenty of laughs. Lee, you've done a grand job and I hope that the BBC have the good sense to recommission you for a second series! Folks, don't fear the TV come Friday night, decent comedy has returned! I look forward to buying your live DVD next month.
  • esmecrowfoot21 October 2006
    I didn't expect much from this programme when it first aired and it was only on as I hadn't turned over from the previous programme. Now I'm glad I didn't! Not often is there a programme on that makes me literally laugh out loud - normally I'm just a smile-on-my-face kind of girl, but this was so so funny I couldn't help it! The jokes come thick and fast as one liners, with very clever word play which I think is reminiscent of the Two Ronnies. It sometimes borders on the very rude, but doesn't go too far into this territory as to spoil it.

    The sexual tension between the landlady and her best friend/flatmate adds an extra dimension to the show, which is keeping me guessing as to how it will turn out: will she go with Lee or return to her ex-boyfriend (and Lee's best friend) Tim?

    Not sure how this would play overseas as a lot of the jokes are very British and some centred around Lee's northern roots. But my congratulations to the writers and cast for a programme thats very funny and very original.
  • The following remarks applied to the episode that went out on 13th October. I'm sorry to say the next week's episode was less funny, and just to confirm the trend, last night's episode hardly coaxed a smile out of me! Either I'm rapidly losing my sense of humour or the format and jokes have slipped into a rut in record-breaking time. A shame - we need something out-of-the-ordinary on a Friday - or any night, for that matter!

    For the record, here's what I said after the first episode: Witty, quick-fire, funny! I liked it - good twists in the plot, nicely set up contrasts and conflicts between the main characters: Brits v Yanks, northern v southern, sloppy slacker v diligent plodder, male v female. The characters are likable and intelligent, but troubled, (like most of us), and they're a great relief from the witless slobs mostly featured in new sitcoms 'next door' at BBC 3. The scene with the shrink was superb. With a bit of luck this show will make it up there with 'The Office' and 'Men Behaving Badly'! I'd include 'The Mighty Boosh', except that that fine show will probably never appeal to prime time audiences. i understand the next episode features an Australian - yippee, more opportunities for 'incorrect' racism! North/South, Male v Female, Yank and Aussie seem to be the only areas where 'we' can get back at 'them' (and vice versa of course), without the stifling hand of correctness coming down! Let's hope it stays that way.
  • On the first showing, I thought, 'well, that could have been better'. The second episode came on and I decided to give it another try. I laughed myself silly. This proves that comedy on Friday nights is finally making a comeback. Only into the fourth episode and I'm looking forward to the next episode. Lee Mack is brilliant and his timing is perfect. Tim Vine comes out with some great one liners. As for Megan Dodds, wow. Not only is she gorgeous, she can act. She may be just the reason I returned for a second helping and I'm glad I did. There maybe a few cheap laughs here and there, but they just warm you up for the smattering of funny gags, slapstick falls and superb lines. Worth staying in for. I just hope we see a second series and a DVD box-set.
  • pinkISH10 October 2006
    In the last few years, very few comedy shows have caught my attention. If I have to name any, I would say Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. This is up there with those classics! It has an American air to it, combined with British cinematography. The jokes are great and they combine noir-ish British humor with the American style. The show has a lot of potential and I think it'll catch on overseas, as well. Other British shows that I enjoy (Ideal, Respectable) might disappoint American viewers because of the raw British humor, but Not Going Out really hits that laughing spot!

    It's a great show, just started and I hope to see it go on for years.
  • jacko0710 February 2011
    I have always liked Tim Vine doing stand up, he doesn't give you the chance not to laugh with the jokes coming so fast. Reminiscent of Tommy Cooper, Tim is a very funny guy and a good comic actor. Same with Lee Mack, he is one of our best stand up comics with a face made for comedy. These two are the show's main characters, a crude working class northerner and a posh middle class southerner, it is an unlikely but great combination. Wait a minute, the show could be called 'The Unlikely Lads' in tribute to another great sitcom...sorry..only joking.

    Lee and Tim are great at smoothly bouncing off each other in Not Going Out, it is really funny. The show is easy to watch and although there are a loads of gags and one liners but they are well timed, well written and performed. In my view it is what keeps the show moving along smoothly without the boring bits common to so many sitcoms.

    The show is made better by both Sally Bretton and Katy Wix. I also think the whole cast of this show past and present have been excellent. This comedy gets better with each series and in my view should win a few awards along the way.
  • The first few series were amusing and contained some above-average episodes demonstrating wit and humour – above-average for a sitcom, that is!

    Alas, the departure of Tim Vine heralded the death knell of the show three series back, following which it has never quite managed to recover, and since when the writing and the gags have become boringly repetitive. Even the introduction of the bizarrely bland character played by Hugh Dennis in the latest run has failed to ignite any great hilarity.

    Lee Mack's writing can be amusing with good comic one-liners, but now in its seventh (and possibly final) series, even these are sounding decidedly staid and forced.

    Furthermore, some of the story lines of this latest series (November/December 2014) have actually been borderline offensive, particularly in the cack-handed way in which they have been portrayed – making fun of alcoholism, and then the sudden desire of Lucy's to have a baby by artificial insemination - well these are not normally topics associated with top-notch comedy writing.

    The one enjoyable episode of this current run was the story involving the Pointless game show hosts. Here there were indications of a return to form for that one brief episode.

    John Cleese and Rowan Atkinson had the right attitude with their comedy ventures – leave your audience hungry for more, rather than milking one basic idea for all it's worth.

    It's a shame, because in its early days, Not Going Out could be relied on to raise more than an average amount of laughs.
  • Not Going Out is a brilliant BBC comedy show that centres around Lee (Lee Mack), a slacker who lives in a London apartment with his lodger Lucy ( Sally Bretton) who is also his best friend Tim's (Tim Vine) sister. This will be a comedy classic years into the future as it is one of BBC many hilarious comedies. As soon as i watched repeats on Dave i bought the box set as i thought it was hilarious. Tim Vine And Lee Mack play hilarious characters, although since Tim Vine has left it has been less funny but still 100% enjoyable. Katy Wix and Miranda Hart also play hilarious characters as the cleaner and Tim's dimwitted girlfriend. Not Going Out is another brilliant comedy from the BBC and i hope there are more to come.
  • ptsaeo24 October 2007
    the show is superb very witty and funny lee mack is brilliant as to is Tim vine we need comedy like this we have not had a good comedy for a long time this show will go on for a long time. cant wait for the second series. this comes close to the series "men behaving badly" in a strange way!only fools and horses was superb, but over the last few years comedy in this country has become predictable, i really hope this series runs and runs, the jokes are a bit Raff but at least the children can watch the show without asking a lot of questions! I'm a big fan and really hope the BBC continue with the next series!i am off to buy the DVD of the first series!
  • Not Going Out started promisingly. It was clearly a vehicle for Lee Mack and Tim Vine's one-liner stand-up comedy, but it still managed to be passable.

    Unfortunately, they squeezed the life out of this particular lemon, and there's really nothing left. Every episode is so formulaic, even the jokes collapse under the strain of the clichés. It's down there with Miranda, and maybe even Mrs Brown's Boys.

    Essentially, every episode involves Lee trying to impress a girl with some scheme or pretence, and inevitably failing. He's a mostly unemployed Northerner who inexplicably manages to live in a large flat in London (I mean, a flat that would be out of the price-range of anyone earning below £30,000 a year). It's been 8 years of this crap, how long is Lee's life going to revolve around pathetically throwing himself at the only eligible female he knows in utter desperation and failing repeatedly?

    Basically there is NO imagination in the writing, NO attempt to do anything different. Just cliché-ridden drivel.

    The best thing about this show is the theme tune. This program has outstayed its welcome and needs to go.
  • jasdhesi3 August 2017
    Used to be funny (sally Breton's acting ability aside) but this new series with kids is simply awful. It was the other adults (tim, daisy, Miranda etc) who helped make this show funny, Lucy was the weak link and now all we have is Lucy and some stage school kids - all who can't act and aren't funny. What a shame, bring back the adults Lee Mac!
  • Gong531 December 2011
    I m so glad this series continues on the bbc! It's so often that you discover a series and then you find out it's been canceled. TV is a strange medium that not always rewards the better efforts.

    This series is great, it's such a refreshing mix of absurdist, anarchic, warm hearted and fun comedy. Nowadays script writers who lack in talent aim in mean-ness or crass humour, and this is amply evident. Not here!

    Also the writing keeps getting more refined and the actors work very well against each other as the show progresses.

    There's tons of talent in the writers and actors of course. Great work everyone. Not to be missed this show.
  • As a Norwegian, I can really appreciate much of the humor coming form the UK. The best of it is unmatchable, with smarts, characters you believe in and very very funny, I would say. Not Going Out is not that kind of series, with its dumb approach and rather flat two leading roles.

    I started out watching this be accident earlier this year and kind of enjoyed myself watching the first season, as Lee Mack and the American had some connection there, even though it's always weird hearing one American accent among just English. Lee Mack is not a great actor, but it did his thing all right, and you kind of felt there was something going on between them.

    Then the American quit and they brought in the cleaning lady (why would she be there all the time cleaning, are all English that rich? Don't think so). And Lucy. Lucy is younger, and some would say prettier, but she is one boring person, I have to say. Or rather, she may have some naughty comments, but she is always in a bad mood, always with a frown upon her face. That's OK, maybe, but why would Lee be nuts about someone like this - even with his "northern" ways of thinking of himself? I find the character just unbearable and I think I watched through the 4th season just for the hell of it. It would be nice to see a broader register there.

    By the way: Lee's best friend Tim and the stupid girlfriend is the best characters and the best actors, no doubt about it.

    All in all, Not Going Out is pretty flat and dumb and with stereotypes I find quite surprising (even from my nationality), but it does have its moments and I guess that's why it's watchable, and not horrible.

    I give my own review 4 out of 10. I will try harder next time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Not going out is proof that British sitcoms can still be funny. There was a definite (and still is) baron period in Britcoms, Not going out proved a welcome show to our screens. Series one feels a little at odds to the rest of the show, Series one focused mainly on the cultural differences between Lee and Kate. Enter Lucy in Series two and the whole dynamic of the show changed. I love the entire cast, I am missing Tim Vine very much, but I just love Katy Wix, her scatty character is just too funny. I'm a huge fan of Lee Mack, I genuinely get and love his brand of humour.

    For me the highlights have been episodes 'Camping' and 'The House,' a Christmas special from a few years back. Both are genuinely among the funniest things I have ever seen.

    Brilliantly written, beautifully performed 'Not going out' is a definite winner. Let's hope another series returns soon.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Not Going out is hilarious, the only sit-com that makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. Lee Mack and Time Vine should have been put together years ago.

    The best scenes are when Lee Mack and Tim Vine are in the pub. They are given a chance to be at their comedy best.

    I also like Miranda Hart and Sally Bretton, they sometimes have better lines than Lee and Tim.

    I was in the studio audience for a show in series 3 (yet to be screened at the time of writing.) It's great seeing all the bits that never make it to the screen. You can only see that if you go to a recording. Everybody should go to see a TV show recorded, the tickets are free and it is just as entertaining as the theatre or cinema.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    For the first seven series, this was a very funny sitcom about a landlady and her lodger - as well as several other characters. These strong characters and their interactions brought a lot of laughs.

    For the most recent series, the makers inexplicably moved the characters several years on and have changed the theme of the show to being yet another lame sitcom about a dysfunctional family. They've given the two main characters three very annoying children. The show is also made worse by no longer including Tim and Daisy.

    I'm giving this 8 out of 10 for s1-7 and 1 out of 10 for s8.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    You really just have to laugh at Lee Mack, he is just so droll at telling his slack off jokes that you really think is just so hilarious! I liked the way that he was playing more of himself then any other character. I wouldn't think he wouldn't be a good actor of other people because he can play himself so well!

    Katy Wix as Daisy is so spot on, she just is so cute on how she just tells innocent jokes like she is definitely one of the lovable lot haha! Sally Bretton is so stunning and such a talented actress as Lucy, I'm glad herself and Lee got married on the last episode. This was such a great series to laugh at with the family!

    The intro really gives you a feel of Frank Sinatra even though, the singer isn't the legend but he is a impersonator which is a bonus! Well done Lee Mack!
  • Lee Mack is a fantastic comedian in himself, and he brings all the laughs to this show as well. The characters and show itself really does change throughout each season but every episode I've seen has still been hilarious.

    It may not be as big as other shows like 'Friends' or 'The Big Bang Theory' but it displays some great British humour. On that note, while I myself enjoy the show, I feel lots of jokes are subjective to British audiences, so if you're not a fan of our type of humour this may not be the show for you.

    But overall a creative and ultimately very funny comedy from great comedians like Lee Mack himself and Tim Vine. Katy Wix plays Daisy convincingly and Sally Bretton is nice alongside Lee.
  • First off, I'd give this a 9 or 10 if the dim bulbs at the BBC eliminated the canned laughter. Do they truly believe all viewers are drooling morons? We need to be told when it's funny? Also, be aware, this is not slapstick Benny Hill humor.

    Onward. I've seen two seasons. Kate (Tim's ex girl friend), the primary female the first season. Lucy (Tim's sister) the main female the second season. Great job of making the change of "female focus" a smooth transition. I loved Kate's character and how they blended the American and the British personalities and humor. I think they did a better job of portraying Kate the American than a US program would have done had the situation been reversed.

    Lee's snappy quips are impressive, but even more so if you've seen the outtakes. It's not as easy as he makes it look. Tim is a great straight man as he frequently is the victim of Lee and Kate's jabs.

    Obviously most of the double entendres are Brit humor, but I found that I still caught most of them. My wife says I have wakened her with my laughter when I watch the program alone after she's asleep.

    I don't know if it's available on DVD in a US format. Doesn't appear to be on Amazon. I saw DVR recordings an English friend of mine made for me. If you can get, watch it.
  • Not Going Out is a rare thing indeed. it is a rare example of a sitcom that has been axed and then brought back again thanks largely to fan protests (and lets face it - a lack of better alternatives). So there must be some good reason for this show lasting as long as it has.

    It has all the classic elements you'd expect to see in a sitcom. It has a 'will they won't they ' relationship going on, it has lots of witty jokes being thrown around and as with any sitcom set in a flat it has a dopey cleaner.

    However despite these elements they remain things we've seen done a thousand times better in other shows. It's almost as if the writers are trying to create a show based on everything that's worked before and hope it works again rather than creating something new.
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