When it was announced that Lee Mack’s long running sitcom ‘Not Going Out’ was to end after its seventh series, audiences breathed a sigh of relief. The show may have won the BBC millions of viewers, been praised by critic for its multitude of one liners, and propelled he careers of its stars Lee Mack, Tim Vine, Katy Wix and Sally Bretton, yet frequent cast drop-outs and ever more predictable storylines were slowly having their effect.
The final episode, which featured the long-awaited yet un-expected marriage between Lee and Lucy, aired on Christmas Eve 2014, and the show was forever retired.
One year on and it seems the BBC is having problems commissioning new comedy. Not Going Out returned for a ‘one off’ Christmas special set one year after the finale. A couple of months after that, an eight series has been commissioned. So this’ll be fun!
The new series is set seven years after Lee and Lucy’s marriage. The two have moved out of their unrealistically-expensive London apartment to a semi-detached house in suburban Surrey. Surprise surprise they have children, three of them. Don’t bother learning their names though, the combination of strict child working laws and the show’s live audience recording slot means they appear about once an episode, and even then just to remind the audience they exist.
Katy Wix has moved on to bigger things, so Hugh Denis and Abigail Cruttenden (who had recurring roles in series seven) are promoted to series regulars. Some may argue a feuding, unhappily married couple are not the best additions to a light family drama, yet their characters are ideal for exploring the new, family setting of the show. Wait, didn’t they have a child last series, who should be seven by now??
I attended one recording from the new series, yet it would be unfair to reveal specific plot points. The new format will definitely take some years to iron out, yet the change was necessary for a show stuck in such a repetitive loop. The new series will air later this year. For those who have seen ‘Not Going Out’ before, check it out. For those who haven’t, please please save yourself!