Hold The Sunset is every travesty I expected, and is an easy wicket for its leads, Alison Steadman, John Cleese and Jason Watkins.
Steadman plays Edith, a retired widow who finds recycling difficult – just like no-one does… and puts them in plastic bags within the bins, rather than just the items themselves (duh!). Oh… and she even throws away the recycling instruction booklet. Such hilarity(!)
John Cleese had his heyday with Fawlty Towers, then trashed it, lately, with his godawful Specsavers adverts. He’s her neighbour, and old boyfriend, Phil, who’s still got a hard-on for her after all this time (if he can still manage it in his late 70s), and after years of endless harrassment from him, she finally settles for Phil because she’s got nothing else going on in her life.
Jason Watkins is a very good actor, but you wouldn’t know it here, as he chucks away his old job and family life and moves back in with his mum, which will put the mockers on Phil and Edith marrying and moving abroad. In reality, she would tell him where to go because he’s a 50-year-old adult, but in BBC Sitcomland, he’s allowed to stay forever… unless he can restore his lost love for the next door neighbour, since they were 7 when they fell in love, so what’s 43 years?
You can just imagine episode 2 where the vicar will come round for tea, and walk in just as Watkins’ trousers fall down(!)
The sad thing about all this is that lots of comedians will be trying to get their projects off the ground, and a primetime slot on Sunday night BBC1 would be ideal for some of them… but, no, the BBC would rather commission the most facile tripe every committed to digital film.
Even if this MUST go ahead, there will be a lot of out-of-work actors who could do with the money, but… no, let’s get several safe pairs of hands in which to put this slop.
The only good thing I can say about this crap is… the line about donating items to a charity shop such as Oxfam, given the recent scandal about their staff indulging in illegal prostitutes in Haiti.
And the other is that… there’s no canned laughter track.
“Oh, Dom, how can you say it’s canned if there’s an audience there?”, you say.
Well, because they’ll re-record some scenes several times, and the same scene won’t get the same laugh after the umpteenth re-take, plus, they’ll take laughter from some jokes and use it to pep up those jokes which didn’t get any laughs… so it’s not real… and it may as well be canned.
Coming soon, to disgrace themselves in future episodes, are Anne Reid as interfering housekeeper, Queenie, Joanna Scanlan as Roger’s money-driven sister, Sandra, and James Cosmo as another of Edith’s annoying exes, Bob. Already wasting their time is Rosie Cavaliero as Roger’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Wendy, and Peter Egan as resident local arsehole, Mr Dugdale.
Director: Alexander Johnson
Producers: Humphrey Barclay and Moira Williams
Writer: Charles McKeown
Edith: Alison Steadman
Phil: John Cleese
Roger: Jason Watkins
Wendy: Rosie Cavaliero
Mr Dugdale: Peter Egan
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.