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28 October 2014

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Marion And Geoff

Rob Brydon as Keith Barret

Arriving unheralded on our screens in inauspicious 10-minute chunks, the omens weren't promising for Marion and Geoff. And yet, this melancholic series of comic monologues quickly established itself as a class act.

Created by Rob Brydon (who stars) and Hugo Blick, the programme features Keith Barret, a taxi driver estranged from his wife, Marion, and children, Rhys and Alun.

Although it's clear the separation is having a devastating effect on him, he's determined - to the point of near insanity - to remain positive.

Keith Barret, with Marion and Geoff

"I don't look at it as losing a wife," he says, reflecting on Marion's relationship with colleague Geoff, "I look at it as gaining a friend."

Despite his chirpy testimony, it's clear Marion is behaving in an incredibly cruel fashion, turning his beloved children ("my little smashers") against their dad.

Beautifully written, and superbly portrayed by Brydon (who'd created the character while at drama college in Wales), a one-off 50-minute prequel followed in 2001. A Small Summer Party elaborates on the break down of Keith's marriage, and casts associate producer Steve Coogan in the role of Geoff.

The series returned for another run in 2003, now expanded to 30-minute episodes, still maintaining the format of Brydon talking to one locked-off camera.

Keith Barret

Keith's relationship with Marion has, if anything, deteriorated since we last saw him. He's been denied access to his kids, and has turned to social services to negotiate visiting rights.

Professionally, he's on the up, working as a chauffeur for an American couple and spending his days ferrying around their obnoxious son Fisher.

Although the second series proved to be the last, Keith's story didn't end there. Brydon spun the character off into The Keith Barret Show, where the former cabbie turned relationship guru, interviewing a range of celebrity couples.

Cast

Rob Brydon
Keith Barratt

Crew

Rob Brydon
writer
Hugo Blick
writer
Hugo Blick
director
Hugo Blick
producer
Steve Coogan
executive producer
Henry Normal
executive producer

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