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Game On (BBC television)

Game On is a British sitcom of the mid to late 1990s revolving around the lives of three 20-somethings from Herne Bay sharing a flat in Battersea, London. The title refers to the commonly-used cultural phrase which expresses delight at the possibility of imminent sexual intercourse, as exemplified by the 90s lad culture in which the three characters exist. It was directed by John Stroud, produced by Sioned William and the BBC Television Head of Comedy Geoffrey Perkins, and executive produced by Denise O'Donohue on behalf of Hat Trick Productions for the BBC. The first two series of Game On were written by Andrew Davies and Bernadette Davis, the latter of whom wrote the final series alone.

The show's theme tune is "Where I Find My Heaven" by the Gigolo Aunts. The single reached number 29 in the UK singles chart in May 1995.

Characters

  • Matthew Malone (Ben Chaplin for the first series, subsequently Neil Stuke) – acutely agoraphobic and slightly insane. He could never leave the flat but always thought of himself as a cool guy; he had a surfboard despite his condition. Loved to use the word "tosser" and the phrase "double hard bastard" and in an ongoing gag throughout the entire series would mock his flatmate Martin for being ginger. The 'second Matt', Neil Stuke, actually almost won the role in the first series, just losing out to Ben Chaplin. When Chaplin left, the producers gave Stuke the part.
  • Mandy Wilkins (Samantha Janus) – ambitious career girl who finds herself going nowhere except to bed with an endless stream of men (northern by preference).
  • Martin Henson (Matthew Cottle) – a tangerine haired banker without attitude, Matthew's slave and source of entertainment.
  • Clare Monahan (Tracy Keating) – Martin's Irish girlfriend in the 2nd series and then his ex.
  • Archie Glenister (Crispin Bonham-Carter) – Mandy's boss, lover and groom to be in the 3rd series.

Episodes

Series 1 (1995)

  1. Working Girls – It's Martin's birthday and Matt sets up a special birthday surprise. Meanwhile Mandy meets an author who wants her to do research - into the contents of his underpants.
  2. Matthew, A Suitable Case for Treatment – Spend a day with Matthew and find out what he gets up to stuck in the flat all day, every day.
  3. Bad Timing – Mandy has a fling after she feels trapped in her new week-long relationship and Matthew starts looking for a new tenant after Martin decides to leave to become a teacher.
  4. The Great Escape – While Mandy considers leaving, Matthew thinks of some interesting ways for her to pay him the back rent.
  5. Big Wednesday – Martin meets a hot American girl and finds out you should go prepared on a date. Meanwhile Matthew must cope with the damage Mandy has inflicted to his surfboard.
  6. Fame – Matthew becomes the lead singer of Proactive, the band upstairs and gets dragged by them out to their first gig.

Big Wednesday is the first proper episode, but shortly before it was due to air, in real-life the boxing match between Nigel Benn and Gerald McClellan ended with Gerald McClellan in a coma, and the BBC felt that due to content, the episode, which involves a boxing match, was unsuitable to show as a result, and changed the episode (to Matthew, A Suitable Case for Treatment). Big Wednesday was shown later in the first series. . McClellan later emerged from the coma and has made a partial recovery.

Series 2 (1996)

  1. Roundheads and Cavaliers – Martin meets an Irish nurse called Claire who is a virgin and believes Martin is the man for the job. Mandy becomes celibate.
  2. Slime Surfers and Jissom Monkeys – Matthew admits his agoraphobia to Mandy who sets him up with psychologist Jason under the pretence he's Mandy's cousin. Meanwhile, Mandy tries to enforce her celibacy against her Italian teacher Marco who believes she is a virgin.
  3. Double Hard Bastards and Girly Shirt-lifting Tosspieces – Martin lets paranoia over Claire get to him making a real fool of himself. Matthew dispels Marco's belief that Mandy is a virgin by showing him a home made video. Jason finally gets Matt out of the flat to the park and a male gym before he finally heads to the local shop on his own...
  4. Heavy Bondage and Custard Creams – Mandy's ex-boyfriend and wanted criminal Stoat (an early appearance by Eddie Marsan) turns up at the flat and soon ties everybody up. Mandy has sex with him before tying him up and turning him over to the police. Claire dumps Martin and Jason admits to Matt he is gay and in love with him.
  5. Tangerine Candy floss and Herne Bay Rock – Matt starts a dramatic journal that Martin and Mandy just must uncover. Martin is depressed about his breakup with Claire and Mandy starts to fall for her old teacher.
  6. Bruce Willis and Robert De Niro Holding a Fish – Martin takes up a job on a phone helpline for people suffering from depression and gives out his home number to a caller. She calls and tells Matt she is on the verge of suicide and he is forced to leave the flat to see if she is okay. He collapses once he gets there and gets rushed to hospital where Martin claims he has taken an overdose and Mandy's comedian boyfriend has been beaten up.

In the first episode of series two, the substitution of Neil Stuke for Ben Chaplin was amusingly acknowledged. The trio are watching TV, and in reference to the character of Becky from the US sitcom Roseanne, Martin asks "I wonder who's playing Becky this week?!" to which Mandy remarks: "Don't you just hate that when they keep the same character and change the actor!" Both Mandy and Martin then look subtly yet strangely accusingly at Matt, sitting between them on the sofa, who looks worried.

Series 3 (1998)

There are no official titles for the series 3 episodes.

  1. Matt learns palm-reading in order to 'shag girls', although the only one he'll meet is the debt collector that's looking for Mandy. She catches Mandy at work and her new boss Archie lends her the £9,000 to pay them off.
  2. Martin finds out Claire has a baby called Rosie and that he is the father, but she doesn't want him involved until she needs a babysitter. Mandy starts to date her boss Archie, although she might just be interested in his multi-million pound inheritance.
  3. Matt decides he wants to join the Marines and decks the flat out. Archie brings round his old Marine pals to chat to Matt about it but Matt has had an accident with a vacuum cleaner that Claire is still trying to remove.
  4. Claire decides Martin would make a terrible father and Mandy passes out while trying to cook for Archie's family. Martin and Matt put on their best behaviour and knock up a meal. However, Archie's sister mistakenly believes Rosie is Mandy's and that they are just after Archie's money.
  5. Matt starts shagging the attractive woman from upstairs called Laura but he has cried wolf so many times Mandy and Martin just don't believe him. Even sharing her intimate sex secrets and producing her underwear fails to convince them. Martin has problems of his own as Claire decides to move to Australia with her new boyfriend taking Martin's daughter Rosie with them.
  6. It is Mandy's wedding day to Archie who persuades Matt to come to the wedding while Martin gets a postcard from Claire saying she has married her boyfriend Shane. Martin meets a new girl at Mandy's hen night who is very similar to Claire and immediately proceeds to buy her a nurses outfit and wig and asks her to speak with an Irish accent. Archie dies whilst trying to fulfil his obligatory challenges set by his old Marine unit. The episode features the song The View From Here by Dubstar as Mandy walks down the stairs in her bride's dress.

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