Gimme Gimme Gimme (TV series)

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Gimme Gimme Gimme
G g g titles.JPG
Part of the Gimme Gimme Gimme title sequence.
Genre Sitcom
Created by Jonathan Harvey
Developed by
Starring
Opening theme "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)"
Ending theme "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)"
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 19 (+1 Comic Relief sketch) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
Running time 29 minutes
Production company(s) Tiger Aspect Productions
Distributor Endemol UK
Broadcast
Original channel
Picture format 16:9
Original run 8 January 1999 (1999-01-08)  – 14 December 2001 (2001-12-14)
External links
Website

Gimme Gimme Gimme is a BBC television situation comedy by Tiger Aspect Productions that was first aired in three series from 1999 to 2001. It was written by Jonathan Harvey, who developed the series with Kathy Burke.

The theme music is a cover of ABBA's "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)". The first two series were originally shown on BBC Two and were deemed successful enough for the third series to be shown on BBC One.

Premise[edit]

Gimme Gimme Gimme centres around loudmouthed Londoner Linda La Hughes (played by comedienne and director Kathy Burke) and her gay flatmate, actor Tom Farrell (played by James Dreyfus). A modern twist on the traditional "odd couple" format, much of Gimme Gimme Gimme's humour springs from its lubricious innuendo subplot, which springs from the mouths of both Tom and Linda.

Linda is characterised by her red perm, white glasses, and plump, lycra-clad figure. Boorish, unattractive Linda is convinced she is a "stunner"; in series three she is finally diagnosed with reversed body dysmorphic disorder. It is suggested that Linda and Tom first met at a nightclub, bonded instantly (due to both being on ecstasy), and decided to live together. What follows is, as writer Jonathan Harvey describes, "one long comedown". Linda often tells humorous anecdotes about her family and childhood which suggest abuse or neglect (such as how she apparently slept on a doormat as a baby, lived in a kennel as a child, and was left in a car-boot for the two weeks her aunt went on holiday), but she always thinks of these as positive experiences. She also claims that her Daddy now lives in an iron lung, although the only proof she has is a photo of a sideboard. Linda also lived in a convent and a borstal as a teenager. She has crushes on Liam Gallagher (in whom she lost interest after series one as she "couldn't bring up another bird's child"), Robbie Williams, and both male members of Hear'Say. She also imagines having sex with Dale Winton in a toilet cubicle.

Tom is melodramatic yet fails in his desire to get acting roles. He believes himself to be truly gifted in the art of acting, and often blames his failures on his agent or society itself. He did appear in one episode of EastEnders and often brags about it, delaying for as long as he can the fact that he was in one scene, had one line, and did nothing but buy a cagoule from Bianca Jackson's market stall. He also appeared in Daylight Robbery as an extra, standing in a queue in the background. He had one line but it was cut due to timekeeping. He insists that the entire series was ruined due to the axing of his line. Tom has an obsession with appearing to be middle-class even though he hails from a working-class background, possibly because he also hates his parents. It is often suggested that Tom has no friends whatsoever (apart from Linda and his housemates) but unlike Linda he usually tries to pretend he is popular. Tom is in love with the actor Simon Shepherd.

Although they appear to loathe each other, Tom and Linda are beholden to each other due to the simple fact that nobody else can tolerate them. They are in many ways alike: selfish, unsuccessful, and physically and personally unattractive. The hapless duo live in a Kentish Town flat (69 Paradise Passage, Kentish Town) rented from elderly ex-prostitute Beryl Merit (Rosalind Knight). Other regular characters are the middle-class, horny married couple Jez (Brian Bovell) and Suze (Beth Goddard). Many of the storylines revolve around the fact that Tom and Linda find Jez sexually attractive and (particularly Linda) despise the oblivious Suze. Another recurring character is Sugar Walls (Elaine Lordan), Linda's celebrity sister. Many of the other characters can be just as hapless as Tom and Linda; Beryl still engages in sexual activities such as S&M and picking up young and married men, while Jez and Suze generally lack common sense. For example, they once cancelled their holiday to the Algarve and paid £500 to stay in their own back garden after Linda opened it up as a campsite.

Simon Shepherd, Su Pollard, Charlie Condou, and Rose Keegan have made guest appearances. Su Pollard played a character called Heidi Honeycombe; when she appeared, Linda greeted her with "Heidi! Hi!" (a reference to Pollard's character in the sitcom Hi-de-Hi!).

At the end of series three, Tom finally got his big break in TV soap opera Crossroads. The last episode ended with Tom leaving the flat and Linda taking off her hair (revealing it to be a wig) and sitting in the flat alone.

Cast[edit]

Characters[edit]

Regular[edit]

Linda La Hughes – Linda is an unattractive middle-aged woman who usually wears skin tight, colourful clothing. Linda grabs any opportunity to bluntly flirt with any man she sees. She is delusional about her appearance; in the Series 3 episode "Trauma," she's finally diagnosed with reversed body dysmorphic disorder. Her age is uncertain but has given herself many young ages e.g. 16, 18, 19, 23 and 28. In the Series 2 episode "Dirty Thirty", her birth certificate reveals that she is 39 – but in the Series 3 episode "Secrets and Flies" she is unexpectedly reunited with her 28-year-old son; she says she was 15 when she gave birth to him, meaning she must be 43. Linda has a son called Zippy, a cousin called Simon who has a wonky eye, a cousin Velma who works in Soho and has an act called "Snatch and Ladders", an auntie Nitty, an uncle called Tyrone and a sister called Sharon La Hughes, who changed her name to Sugar Walls. Her Mother, called "Queenie" (and oddly referred to in one episode as "Dolly") died when Linda was a child but there is some uncertainty as to the cause; Linda tells Tom’s mum that she collapsed in a paddling pool in Pinner, but her sister Sugar Walls tells Linda that she electrocuted herself on her own Slendertone pads. Her Daddy hides from her, although she thinks he's in an iron lung, but he does send her Christmas Presents. When Linda is asked what her father's name is by her son Zippy, she replies "Daddy".

Thomas Thessalonius "Tom" Farrell – Tom is a 30-year-old wannabe (but bad) actor who has only had small roles on TV and on stage. Tom is openly gay and seizes every possible opportunity to get a boyfriend. Throughout Series 1 he often refers to using ecstasy while out clubbing, and at one point he actually trips after taking ecstasy at a club on a night out. He also tends to exaggerate a lot. Series 3 concludes with him moving to Nottingham to join the cast of Crossroads.

Beryl Merit – Beryl is the elderly landlady of 69 Paradise Passage. She is a retired prostitute but stays involved in criminal activities such as shoplifting and bootlegging; in the Series 2 episode "Glad to be Gay?" she's seen to be an escort. Her best friend is Reenie, a fellow former prostitute whom she often mentions and is seen chatting to on the phone, but who never appears.

Jez Littlewood – Jez is Tom and Linda's hunky middle-class neighbour. When Tom and Linda first meet Jez, they think one of them has slept with him, but actually he had just slept on the sofa. Both Tom and Linda constantly lust after him; whilst Tom tends to be subtle about his feelings, Linda boorishly propositions Jez at every opportunity – even in Suze's presence. However, Jez is devoted to his wife.

Suze Littlewood – Suze is Jez's ditzy wife. She can sometimes be nice but on other occasions she can be hyper-active and slightly bitchy. Tom and Linda loathe Suze for standing in the way of their pursuit of Jez. Linda, especially, showers her with vicious insults, most of which go way over her head. She and Jez have a voracious – often vociferous – sex life. In the Series 3 episode "Secrets and Flies" (featuring Linda's own long-lost son), she gives birth to their baby boy, Lee-on-Solent "Lee" Littlewood. Suze has also stated that she is a "committed vegetarian", with a liking for spinach pie and quorn placenta.

Recurring[edit]

Norma – Norma is Tom's agent and appears throughout all three of the series.

Sugar Walls – Sugar (Birthname Sharon La Hughes) is Linda's famous sister. She appears once in series 1 and again in series 2.

Simon Shepherd – Simon is Tom's celebrity crush. Simon is famous for starring in Peak Practice. He appears in every series.

Production[edit]

The series was filmed in front of a live studio audience in Studio 2 at The London Studios, South Bank, London

Writer Jonathan Harvey appeared in three episodes; as a guest at the series 1 wedding, once as make-up artist Louis, and then as a customer in a sofa store.

DVD releases[edit]

All 3 series are available in the UK on region 2 DVD. They can either be bought separately or all together as part of the complete collection box-set.

The first and second series are available in Australia. Series 2 was released 6 years after the first series. With Series 3 Following 3 years later.

  • Gimme Gimme Gimme – The Complete 1st Series – 22 April 2003
  • Gimme Gimme Gimme – The Complete 2nd Series (2-disc set) – 2 June 2009

Episodes[edit]

All the series were broadcast on Fridays. The times varied between 8:00pm and 10:00pm.

Series 1 (1999)[edit]

No. Title Original airdate Production code
1 "Who's That Boy?" 8 January 1999 (1999-01-08) IPEA066X
Linda and Tom wake up after a heavy night out to find a mystery man in their kitchen, and both think they brought him home the previous night. It turns out that he is a new neighbour, Jez, and is married to a woman called Suze. He explains this after tricking them into thinking he was an escort.
2 "The Big Break" 15 January 1999 (1999-01-15) IPEA067R
Tom has an audition for Crimewatch; and Linda is certain that a love letter she finds is to her from Jez. Ready for and en route to the audition, Tom slips on an over-buffed hall floor and breaks his leg.
3 "Legs and Co" 22 January 1999 (1999-01-22) IPEA068K
Set right after the previous episode, Tom is in a wheelchair with a broken leg, and his home-help is a suicidal man named Shirley. Linda dates a deliveryman, a devoted Christian named Joe.
4 "Do They Take Sugar?" 29 January 1999 (1999-01-29) IPEA069E
Linda's superstar sister, Sharon "Sugar Walls" Hughes, visits. Linda isn't thrilled to see her at first, but warms up when Sugar agrees to introduce her to Liam Gallagher. In a scene similar to that of the film Notting Hill Tom opens the door to paparazzi and they think he is having an affair with Sugar.
5 "Saturday Night Diva" 5 February 1999 (1999-02-05) IPEA060Y
Fearing that he's getting old, Tom goes out clubbing and spends the night with an Italian man, Nino. Linda stays in and tries to seduce Jez while Suze is out at a women's meeting. The next morning Tom finds out that "Nino" is actually "Kevin from Manchester".
6 "I Do, I Do, I Do" 12 February 1999 (1999-02-12) IPEA061S
Tom marries an American lesbian, Gloria, so she can stay in the UK with her girlfriend, India. Linda is appalled at this development until she meets Gloria's brother, Vince.

Millennium special (1999)[edit]

No. Title Original airdate Production code
7 "Millennium" 29 December 1999 (1999-12-29) IPEA150S
Tom and Linda dream of their ideal millennium parties, but end up getting drunk and staying in together.

Series 2 (2000)[edit]

No. Title Original airdate Production code
8 "Teacher's Pet" 14 January 2000 (2000-01-14) IPEA151L
Sugar Walls returns and Tom tries to teach her to act for her upcoming theatre debut. Linda babysits Jez and Suze's virtual baby doll.
9 "Stiff" 21 January 2000 (2000-01-21) IPEA152F
Tom and Linda return home to find what appears to be Beryl's body in a coffin in their living room. They try to cover up her death so they will not be homeless. When Beryl's young boyfriend arrives, both Linda and Tom try to seduce him.
10 "Prison Visitor" 28 January 2000 (2000-01-28) IPEA153A
Linda starts writing to a convicted serial killer in prison, and Tom trains a cat to act on television. The killer then comes to take Linda to Spain, but becomes attracted to Tom.
11 "Dirty 30" 4 February 2000 (2000-02-04) IPEA154T
Tom's prudish parents visit for his 30th birthday. He tries to get rid of them by getting Linda to seduce his dad, but later finds out that his parents are swingers.
12 "Glad to be Gay?" 11 February 2000 (2000-02-11) IPEA155N
After another wild night of clubbing, Tom wakes up with a weird security guard and Linda wakes up with a female cabbie. From then on Linda desperately tries to prove she isn't gay or bisexual.
13 "Sofa Man" 18 February 2000 (2000-02-18) IPEA224X
Tom gets a job in a World of Sofas commercial with smarmy actor Rick Cheesecloth. Linda gets a job working on a production line in a factory, where she fancies her co-worker Ron.

Comic Relief special (2001)[edit]

No. Title Original airdate Production code
"Comic Relief" 16 March 2001 (2001-03-16)
A short sketch for Comic Relief, Tom and Linda open up a kissing booth in a church, featuring Anna Nolan as a nun.

Series 3 (2001)[edit]

No. Title Original airdate Production code
14 "Down and Out" 2 November 2001 (2001-11-02) ICEB566T
Linda opens the garden as a campsite and Miss Twitch (Ann Mitchell), her ex-screw from Borstal, moves in; Tom writes a new drama to star in alongside his idol, Simon Shepherd.
15 "Lollipop Man" 9 November 2001 (2001-11-09) ICEB565A
Preparing for a walk-on part in a play, Tom gets drunk in his dressing room with Linda and ruins the whole production. Jez, Suze, and Beryl do not appear in this episode
16 "Secrets and Flies" 23 November 2001 (2001-11-23) ICEB567N
Linda's long-lost son Zippy arrives in search of his mother; Suze gives birth in Tom and Linda's flat.
17 "Trauma" 30 November 2001 (2001-11-30) ICEB564F
Linda is in hospital; after falling off a bus into a shop window, she has a saucepan stuck on her head. Meanwhile, Tom stars in daytime soap opera Doctor Deaf.
18 "Singing in the Drain" 7 December 2001 (2001-12-07) ICEB568H
Tom hires a singing teacher, Heidi Honeycomb (Su Pollard), for a role in a musical. Suze has a new job as a modelling agent and hires Linda for a fashion show. Beryl does not appear in this episode.
19 "Decoy" 14 December 2001 (2001-12-14) ICEB569B
Tom lands a role in Crossroads, and prepares to move out. Linda fakes a terminal illness to try to stop him leaving. This was to be the series, and show, finale.

Ratings[edit]

Series Episode Viewers
1 1 6,550,000
2 6,290,000
3 5,950,000
4 6,100,000
5 5,840,000
6 5,350,000
Series Episode Viewers
2 Millennium special 3,980,000
1 6,790,000
2 5,420,000
3 5,570,000
4 6,160,000
5 4,720,000
6 7,100,000
Series Episode Viewers
3 1 6,790,000
2 underneath 6,150,000
3 underneath 5,830,000
4 underneath 5,960,000
5 underneath 5,920,000
6 underneath 5,550,000

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Padva. Gilad (2005). Desired Bodies and Queer Masculinities in Three Popular TV Sitcoms. In Lorek-Jezinska, Edyta and Wieckowska, Katarzyna (Eds.), Corporeal Inscriptions: Representations of the Body in Cultural and Literary Texts and Practices(pp. 127–138). Torun, Poland: Nicholas Copernicus University Press.

External links[edit]