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BBC – Comedy – Game On

December 15, 2019

Co-written by future period drama extraordinaire Andrew Davies, this fine pedigree produced a series strong on character and (occasionally coarse) laughs, aimed at twentysomethings. It is a flat share sitcom: Matthew is a self obsessed agoraphobic of private means, who is an old school friend of na├»ve and well meaning Martin, who he treats as something of a slave. Martin’s sister’s best friend Mandy lives with them: she’s a beautiful, ambitious wannabe career woman. Critics of the show felt that the characters weren’t likeable enough, particularly Matthew, who has very few redeeming features, despite Ben Chaplin investing him with a certain charm. The original Game On castChaplin left after series one when Hollywood beckoned, and Neil Stuke (who had originally auditioned for the role and only narrowly lost out in the first place) replaced him. Much of the comedy revolved around sexual issues. The boys get very little action: Matthew because he is slightly unhinged and Martin because he is painfully shy and inexperienced. Mandy, despite her looks and drive, is deeply insecure and prone to ill-considered dalliances with inappropriate men. There is a refreshingly defeatist tone about Game On. The characters ultimately fail to prosper because of their own shortcomings and there are no fairy tale endings. The Game On castIn the final series, Martin discovers his ex-girlfriend has his baby, but she ultimately absconds to Australia and marries someone else. Mandy gets engaged to her well-off boss, but in the final episode the wedding doesn’t take place because he dies. If you were in your twenties when Game On aired, it was at last a sitcom that was seemingly written with you in mind, where people talked in the way you talked and about things that mattered to you and three series was a pretty decent run for this game effort.