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Introduction
Linda (Kathy Burke) shares her first floor accommodation with flatmate Tom (James Dreyfus). Linda likes nothing more than munching crisps and swilling lager except getting her little hands on any man that’s too drunk or too asleep to run screaming for the hills. Convinced he’s on the cusp of celebrity greatness, struggling actor Tom likes nothing more than getting his little hands on any man that’s too drunk or, well, you get the idea...

It took a while to get going but Gimme Gimme Gimme subsequently stretched the exceedingly simple premise of an over-inflated talent-free gay thespian and a malodorous misinformed man-eater into a third series. Will and Grace? Not on your life!

Movie
Down And Out: Tom has a chance to meet his idol: Peak Practice’s Simon Shepherd…

Lollipop Man: Tom's first night in his play alongside Tom Cruise doesn’t go to plan when he forgets his one and only line…

Secrets And Flies: Linda gets a surprise when the son she didn’t know she had appears from nowhere hoping for a reconciliation…

Trauma: With Linda in hospital from having a saucepan stuck to her head, Tom stars in his first major TV show and things go awry when an old flame from school puts him a sticky sitaution.

Singing In The Rain: Linda's dreams of becoming a model come true when she gets the chance to be part of a fashion showcase, not knowing it's for ugly people…

Decoy: Tom gets a part on the nation's biggest soap playing a bellboy and contemplates leaving London; and Linda...

While the smash stateside success of Will and Grace looks set to be repeated on these shores, comparisons with this series are perhaps to be expected, though unwarranted nonetheless. Yes, both sitcoms feature a gay man and his best friend who (sometimes) share a flat but this is where any and all comparisons end.

Across the Atlantic, the upwardly mobile lawyer and his scatty soulmate get their lattés in a froth over only the most inconsequential inconveniences. Here, Tom and Linda follow the fine British tradition in a gallery of the grotesque from Basil Fawlty to Rising Damp’s Rigsby to Mr Brittas where the protagonists are uncomfortably authentic as truly awful people. It’s this that makes this series funny, with no little pathos, as it’s obvious that as much as Tom and Linda bicker they really need each other as neither has a traditional true friend in their empty lives.

Since sex is the preoccupation of this gruesome twosome, you’d expect more than a fair share of puerile puns and that exactly what you get. Double entendres are often reduced to single entendres with many laughs coming from plain astonishment at the brash nature of verbal and physical exchanges. There is still some stereotyping of Tom’s sexual character that remains a little unwelcome but while it’s certainly not the most sophisticated series at least you’ll be guaranteed a good belly laugh every third or fourth gag.

Video
Having previously experienced these episodes by TV broadcast, I was certainly surprised by the leap in visual quality when watching them on DVD. The 16:9 image is razor sharp with vibrant colours, very impressive in rendering the quite frightful wardrobe of the two main protagonists.

Audio
The sonics are presented, as you might expect, in a two channel stereo format. There’s no need for a surround soundtrack as the distinct dialogue is effectively spread evenly across the front of the soundstage although the laughter track does indeed sound a little too, well, ‘processed’ for my liking.

Extras
Absolutely none. Other, much less contemporary, sitcoms have a lot lavished on them; just check out David Barta’s reviews on the successive Red Dwarf series on this site for a prime example. It’s a little disappointing that there’s no input from the writer, directors or stars, particularly as Kathy Burke and James Dreyfus owe much of their appearances in recent Britflicks to this very show.

That said, the garish menu design, gleefully taking its cues from the aesthetics of the main lounge set, is nicely animated and illustrates that care and attention has been made in making the episode selection as interesting as possible.

Overall
It’s lewd, crude and, although the over the top antics of Linda La Hughes and fey flatmate Tom might be a little too ‘in yer face’ for some refined tastes, for me at least, a lot of fun. While Gimme Gimme Gimme is not a classic, in a world of sanitised situation comedies it’s sad to see the potential passing of a series that retains that great British tradition of making a mockery of modern life’s monsters.


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