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Unnatural Acts/ At Home With The Hardys – S03 E04 – Fatal Attraction

03/08/2020

The pilot was more sketchy than storyline, but out of the writer/performer team of Jeremy, American comedian Kit Hollerbach (Jeremy’s real-life wife also) and Paul Bassett Davies, it was Kit who really hot on the idea of doing a genuine sitcom – perhaps from childhood memories of “Life With the Lyons”, fronted by Ben Lyon and American comedienne Bebe Daniels. For a while, being young and radical, we all convinced ourselves that what we were actually doing was spoofing the sitcom form, hence all the rickety old scene-transition jingles and the deliberant “comic” signature tune (a cha cha version of “The Third Man” by Edmundo Ros). In fact, it quietly became apparent that we were actually doing a rather fine conventional sitcom, and the writing and storylines stayed true to real sitcom forms through the three series. This is reflected in the title change for Series 3.

A well as Kit, Jeremy & Paul, the writing was augmented by the comic (and occasionally diplomatic) work of Pete Sinclair – later to create and write Jack Dee’s “Lead Balloon”. He also possessed the only working Amstrad daisywheel printer of the group. In the first series, Steve Punt and Dave Cohen (then sharing a flat with Kit & Jeremy) also contributed additional material.

The fourth member of the cast was Caroline Leddy, a brilliant and generous comic performer, playing the classic “daffy next-door neighbour” years before Seinfeld’s Kramer, who happily took her lines and delivered them with joy. Her instinctive understanding of her character usually led to her augmenting her lines on the day of the recording, hence her well-deserved writing credit.

A TV script was commissioned, but for various reasons, it never quite “happened”. In 1991, Paul – who had already won numerous accolades and Perrier nominations for his one-man stage shows such as “Brogue Male” and “Slave Clowns Of The Third Reich” – hit on the idea of adapting the show for the stage, and it had a sell-out run in Edinburgh, with a successful London transfer to the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith. The show was adapted from the plotline of Series 1 Show 4 – “A Day In The Country”, involving a secret nuclear facility deep in the heart of the countryside…

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