Men Behaving Badly is a British comedy--created and written by Simon Nye--that follows the lives of beer-guzzling flatmates Gary Strang and Tony Smart. In a BBC article, it's stated Men Behaving Badly was "a reaction against the onset of the caring, sharing 'new man', it appeared to revel in a politically incorrect world of booze, burps and boobs."
All series were produced by Hartswood Films, and Thames Television co-produced the first two series for ITV and assisted with production from the third series onwards. It was filmed in and around Ealing in west London, and the final scene of series six took place at the Cerne Abbas giant.
Men Behaving Badly was first broadcast in 1992 on ITV, but after two series the network axed the show. In a unusual move, BBC One picked the show up in 1994, and after moving it to a post-watershed slot it became very successful. It was controversially voted the best sitcom in the BBC's history at the corporation's 60th anniversary celebrations in 1996, and it came sixteenth in the Britain's Best Sitcom poll, commissioned in 2004 on BBC 2.
Recently the show’s been repeated on BBC 1 and UKTV Gold, and all six series are available on DVD. Martin Clunes has also recently admitted, that he's "been watching the Men Behaving Badly repeats on TV, and laughing like a git!"
Martin Clunes - Gary Strang
Neil Morrissey - Tony Smart
Caroline Quentin - Dorothy
Leslie Ash - Deborah
Valerie Minifie - Anthea
Ian Lindsay - George
Harry Enfield - Dermot (series 1)
The first series features Martin Clunes as Gary Strang, and Harry Enfield as his flat mate, Dermot Povey, however Enfield felt out of place in the sitcom and decided to quit the show. It has also been reported that Enfield has claimed he felt uncomfortable in the programme, and left stating that a "proper actor" would do the job far better. Simon Nye has stated that ITV picked up the series partly because Enfield agreed to star in it, and his departure influenced ITV's decision to cancel the show after just two series, when audience figures were poor. It's been claimed that this was due to ITV giving it a poor slot in the schedules, forcing the "bad behaviour" to be toned down.
In 1994 the show went to the BBC, who aired a further four series. The shift to a new station and a later timeslot meant, as the BBC have stated, the show could relish in "more colourful language and behaviour". The show became highly successful after its move to BBC 1, winning numerous awards, along with its writer and its stars.
The first series featuring Enfield has never been repeated on the BBC, although the second ITV series has been shown.
Gary is a manager of a office, selling burglar alarms for a dead end company. His staff are two ageing employees: the hen-pecked George and eternal spinster Anthea, who regularly drive him to exasperation with their old-fashioned attitudes. Tony however, stumbles through a range of jobs including modelling, bar work and miming, after his record stall (literally) collapsing.
Dorothy, Gary’s girlfriend (played by Caroline Quentin), is a quick-witted, sensible young nurse. The pair frequently split up, are occasionally unfaithful, but always end up back together. Tony has numerous girlfriends, however his true feelings are for the attractive Deborah, played by Leslie Ash, who lives in the flat above. Tony initially wants to have sex with Deborah, however as the series progresses he ends up in love with her.
Writer Simon Nye was keen on progressing the plot, thus he moved Tony and Deborah into a relationship in series six.
Series one was the only series to feature "Dermot", played by Harry Enfield, and the only series not to feature Neil Morrissey as Tony, who arrived at series two. The episodes of the first two series are 24 minutes approx because they were shown on ITV 1, hence time was needed for advertisements. When the show began on the BBC, the episodes were extended in length to twenty eight minutes approx.
Due to licencing difficulties, the music at the beginning of episode one "Hair" and the rave in episode five "Cardigan" had to be changed for the Series 5 DVD.
In the series three episode titled “Bed”- Gary drives a car into town in order to get Dorothy some painkillers, however in series six episode three titled “Jealousy”, it is made clear Gary cannot drive. From series two onwards, Tony is seen eating cheese and also pizza from the bin but in the final episodes of Last Orders, he tells Gary that he hates cheese as it makes him retch and feel ill.
Clunes once claimed that he and Morrissey were banned from advertising lager on commercial television because their roles had made them an influence on children, even though the show was broadcast after the watershed.