Eighties TV Season: There's Nothing to Worry About! Episode 1

Looking on my shortlist of shows for this series of posts about eighties TV series I see that a high proprtion of them are comedies. The 1980s are of course known for the revolution in comedy that took place and the coming of the 'alternative' comedy scene, but having watched a couple of shows based in the changes in the railway shed at Swindon in the 1980s I suspect that comedy may not have been that representative of 1980s TV, but is better than the sheer unrelentingly depression of everything else that was going on at that time.

There's Nothing to Worry About (1982) was a pilot series in three episodes, intended to be an ITV competitor to the BBC's Not The Nine O'Clock News (1972 to 1982). There were only ever three episodes made and the cast then went on to make Alfresco (1983 to 1984) which may also appear here in this series. Of the three There's Nothing to Worry About is the only one which hasn't had a commercial release, but the three episodes are available on YouTUbe. If You want to watch Not The Nine O'Clock News, I would recommend getting the compilation DVD set, which may seem inadequate in comparison to the whole series, but the episodes as they are on the internet are in a very confused state and you could drive yourself mad trying to sort out what is what.

Obviously I should have been a librarian.

This show, in common with the other two mentioned here is a sketch show and I love it. There are sketches featuring a right on earth mother and her nusband, and I feel that there is definitely an echo of Neil in The Young Ones in this scene and so was delighted to see that Ben Elton had a hand in writing both shows.

I particularly like the sketch of the embarrassing and over-intrusive mother who shouts up the stairs, 'Wally! Are you coming out of that lavatory? You've been in there half an hour and your father wants his magazines back.' (I wonder what he was meant to be doing in there.) The adult son comes downstairs and she asks if it was a success, and he replies that it was well cloggy. 'I always say a quick peek at your poo is better than a visit to the doctor.' She tells him that she's made his breakfast before taking the jazz mag off him that he's got in his hand before commenting that they don't see much of Sonia these days, she's a nice girl, and the son replies that she's too nice. 'Give that a portion, know what I mean, and the rest and the rest.' She comments that he's so grown up: 'Seems like only yesterday that your little privates were bald as a Co-Op carpet.' This is the sort of entertainment where you enjoy someone else being humiliated, but it's OK because it's not really happening. This is, of course, also a show which contains a warning for embarrassing mothers but sadly one that I don't think they would have the sit to see was meant for them.

I also particularly like Colonel Sodom who calls his man servant (wearing a gas mask) into the room to say that the curry is too mild, just as the curry, and then the colonel himself, explode.

'What else can you expect from a meat-eater? Those are the screams of dead animals we can hear,' says the right on earth mother who also happens to be the colonel's trendy lodger. She's suckling a baby for her friend who is in El Salvador, because every child should have a memory of the mammary.

She tells her husband (or possibly boyfriend) that since he is a social democrat, as long as she continues to hang around people like him neither she nor the revolution are going to come.

There is an ongoing story about an apparently Christian cult of the blue cagoul.

Actually, come to think of it this is some quite racy material, and is very reflective of the alternative comedy scene. I won't continue to describe so much, you get the idea.

Since I seem to be talking about stars more than I used to, one of the most notable things about the show is that it is an early showcase for Ben Elton, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Siobhan Redmond, Paul Shearer and Emma Thompson.

Personally I love this show and am slightly shocked that I'd never come across it on my wanders through the cult TV internet. I think comedy is often better the younger the performers and writers are, before they're old enough to have been made cynical (although Stephen Fry may already have been in prison at this point). I don't have any criticism of this show.

Highly recommended.

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