Chance in a million

March 5, 2010

For 3 seasons in the early 1980s this sitcom appeared on the then quite new and edgy Channel Four TV. It then disappeared for the next 25 years.

As there are so many TV shows that are endlessly repeated, I’m always puzzled as to why the ones I like the most are often shown just the once and then seem to disappear without a trace. (eg: See “Making Out”). As “Chance in a million” starred Simon Callow and Brenda Blethyn (then well-respected actors but certainly not the mega-stars they are today) I wondered if they had been responsible for stopping any repeat showings. This turns out not to have been the case. Simon Callow himself wondered what had happened to this show. He would even like to produce a follow-up of what became of the characters 25 years later.

The plot of the original sit-com revolves around Simon as the permanently-bemused Tom Chance, his girlfriend Alison and the endlesss bizarre coincidences that befall them. It’s one of the best sit-coms of the 1980s and if Amazon are as good as their word I’ll be watching Series One tomorrow. Series Two and Three are available later this year.

PS: Having now had a “chance” to view this dvd I find episode 1 falls far short of the others. The slapstick in the restaurant would have been seen in any number of Terry Scott sitcoms in the previous 20 years. Even the Director must have had his doubts as it was extensively re-written between the pilot and the version that was actually transmitted. However by episode 2 we are into the surreal britcom sitcom that I was expecting. The local womens’ cricket team are trying to beat the record for the most female cricketers in a telephone box in their nightdresses. Obviously they ask Tom if they can change clothes in his front room at the same time as Alison’s mother arrives. So obviously Alison’s mother assumes Tom is running a brothel etc etc.

PPS: In one episode a soldier parachutes onto Tom’s roof. This soldier is on a strange quest to aquire 20 unusual items from a list to win a competition. Items include strange things like a Zulu shield and a cricket bat signed by Alec Bedser. Of course, no matter how obscure the item requested, Tom can produce them. The final item needed is a nude photograph of (the then very middle-aged) former Member of Parliament/President of the SDP Shirley Williams. Tom even finds this item by the amazing co-incidence of owning a book about the life of the writer Vera Brittain (who was Shirley’s mother and had included a picture of Shirley as a baby on a bearskin rug in said book). Well it amused me anyway……………

2 Responses to “Chance in a million”

  1. Steven Brown Says:

    I remember this well. It was brilliant. Very weird and wonderful! I vividly remember Tom’s way of drinking beer? All in one!!! Mad!

    It is weird how many great sitcoms are never repeated. I’d love to see ‘Dear John’ again, but what do we get? John Sullivan’s much more famous sitcom, which need not be named of course!


  2. Amazon excelled themselves with next day delivery. It seems the DVD contains the 6 episodes from the first series and also the (presumably unseen) pilot episode. I’ll watch it tonight in preference to the irritating Ant and Dec. No contest really.


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