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Mrs Merton And Malcolm
Described as "possibly the most disturbing show on television" by Time Out magazine, Mrs Merton and Malcolm was a spin off from the wildly successful The Mrs Merton Show.
Created by Caroline Aherne, Craig Cash and Henry Normal, the programme developed Aherne's spoof chat show host Mrs Merton into a sitcom mum, looking after her grown-up son Malcolm.
The duo lived a highly structured life, alongside Mr Merton, who was only ever seen on screen as an immobile, silent lump, in bed upstairs.
Each week, they're joined by neighbour Arthur Capstick who'd pop in for a cup of tea, dither over which fancy to eat ("They're all the same, Arthur!") before going upstairs to entertain his bed-ridden chum.
Although set in the present day, the show was shot through with a 1950s sensibility, Mrs Merton serving up potted beef sandwiches, the Brylcreem-wearing Malcolm toiling over Airfix models, and also playing apple bobbing, hula hoop, musical chairs, arm wrestling and ping pong on his birthday.
It was the relationship between mother and son that unsettled critics, who saw the 37-year-old Malcolm as suffering from learning disabilities, rather than the Frank Spencer-style simpleton his creators intended.
This put a sinister twist on the relationship, further complicated by Mrs Merton's comments about her boy's attractiveness: "Oooh, If only I was 30 years younger - and not your mother...".
"We've been accused of all sorts," said Cash at the time, "from incest to insanity. But we honestly didn't mean it to be. We didn't think there was anything offensive about it."
As a result, despite audiences of seven million, the creators opted not to return for a second series, and even cancelled a proposed festive special - "We wouldn't want to put people off their Christmas dinner," said Cash.
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