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After You've Gone
Three generations are leaping the gap in this sitcom by the creator of My Family.
Jack-of-all trades Jimmy Venables is probably the only man in Britain who gets divorced and ends up with his mother-in-law. That's not how he planned it, but then when does life go according to plan?
When Jimmy Venables' ex-wife volunteers to go to Africa to help the victims of a natural disaster, weekend-dad Jimmy volunteers to take care of their two teenage kids full-time in an attempt to win her back. Unfortunately, his mother-in-law Diana sees Jimmy as the true natural disaster and virtually moves in to keep order, keep an eye on things and undermine Jimmy whenever possible.
Add to this a daughter who's growing up too quickly and a son who refuses to grow up at all and you get a sense of the challenges Jimmy faces as he tries to be a real father on a daily basis. But that's okay. Jimmy never met a challenge he hasn't confronted head on… and been crushed by.
Creator Fred Barron says, "After four years running My Family, I decided to create new programmes for the BBC. But still, I haven't finished writing about my family life. While the My Family character Nick was based on me as a teenager, this time I wanted to write a show about me as an adult, or rather about my attempt at becoming an adult.
"After You've Gone was a complete joy to write, but the real pleasure and surprise came with the casting. Nicholas Lyndhurst of Only Fools And Horses fame read the script and decided to return to television to play the working class Jimmy and the wonderful Celia Imrie signed on to play his patrician mother-in-law Diana."
"Even though Celia was younger than the Diana I'd imagined, the chemistry between the two actors was palpable and I immediately rewrote her part, tailoring it to take advantage of Celia's unique vivacity and wit. "
A cast of strong actors, rather than natural comedians, makes this occasionally feel like a drama, but a it's a far cry from Mike Leigh. This is very much a post-teatime family viewing appointment, with young fans of the CBBC show Tracy Beaker pleased to see Dani Harmer back in the dysfunctional bosom of television.
The theme song is performed by Jamie Cullum.
Created by Fred Barron.
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