My Family (series 1)

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My Family Series 1
My Family Series 1 DVD.JPEG
My Family Series 1 DVD Cover
Country of origin UK
No. of episodes 8
Broadcast
Original channel BBC
Original run 19 September 2000 – 7 November 2000
Home video release
DVD release date 22 March 2004
Series chronology
Next →
2

The first series of BBC family sitcom My Family originally aired between 19 September and 7 November 2000. The first episode of the series, and the pilot episode, was entitled "The Serpent's Tooth". All eight episodes in the first series are thirty minutes long. The first episode introduces the five main characters that regularly appear in the series: Robert Lindsay, who plays Ben, Zoë Wanamaker, who plays Susan, Kris Marshall, who plays Nick, Daniela Denby-Ashe, who plays Janey, and Gabriel Thomson, who plays Michael. A further regular member of the cast is Bridgette, played by Daisy Donovan, who appears in nearly every episode of the series. The series was produced by Rude Boy Productions,[1] a company that produces comedies created by Fred Barron.[2] The series was filmed at Pinewood Studios in London,[3] with a live studio audience.[4]

Episode Information[edit]

# Title Directed by Written by Original airdate Duration Viewership
1 "The Serpent's Tooth" Baz Taylor James Hendrie and Ian Brown 19 September 2000 (2000-09-19) 30 minutes 8.48 million

Ben (Robert Lindsay) gets angry when Janey (Daniela Denby-Ashe) tells him she is seeing another dentist, the Australian Mel Fraser, as Ben never gets round to seeing them. Ben soon discovers that Susan (Zoë Wanamaker) has also seen Mel, causing them to argue. They then have to reassure Michael (Gabriel Thompson) that they are not going to divorce. Meanwhile Janey, who had taken an instant liking to Mel, says she will not see him again after he treated her like a child. Nick (Kris Marshall), meanwhile, meets Isabelle (Kathrine Andover), a French swimwear model, on the internet. Ben bets him £50 she is not who she says she is, and so Nick invites her round. Michael rebels by buying himself a rabbit called Hannibal.

First Episode: Ben Harper, Susan Harper, Nick Harper, Janey Harper, Michael Harper and Brigget
2 "A Pain In The Class" Baz Taylor James Hendrie and Ian Brown 26 September 2000 (2000-09-26) 30 minutes 7.46 million
Janey wants a tattoo, Nick wants to be a dot-com millionaire and it also soon transpires that Michael is being bullied by Jason Hodder, and his reason for not telling Ben and Susan is that Ben wouldn't react and Susan would overreact. Later on the following day, Ben receives a phone call from Susan telling him that there's a bit of a problem, albeit a bit more serious, on a scale of one to ten: fourteen point five; Michael is absolutely covered in custard, Susan decides to call Jason's parents but then a fight soon kicks off as the parents are scared out of the house by an angry Ben who is hitting them with a rolled up magazine. The next day, Michael is late home from school and Susan starts to worry that he's lying in a ditch somewhere but soon discovers that Janey and Michael had beaten Jason up.
3 "Droigt de Seigneur Ben" Baz Taylor Fred Barron and Shawn Schepps 3 October 2000 (2000-10-03) 30 minutes 5.95 million
At the surgery, Ben is attending to another one of his patients, who turns out to be Lord Whitten, and who Bridget also seems to be a big fan of. They begin talking about various subjects when his son pops into the conversation, who he'd like to meet up with a girl, at first he asks Bridget but then she suggests Janey, who, when she finds out, is furious that Ben has set her up on a "blind date" until she finds out there's a picture of him and his family in Hello! Magazine and that he's absolutely gorgeous.
4 "The Last Resort" Baz Taylor Steve Armogida, Jim Armogida, Ian Brown and James Hendrie 10 October 2000 (2000-10-10) 30 minutes 5.42 million
Susan's not looking forward to turning 40 (again). Ben's unsure of what to get her, until Janey assures him that Susan wants to go on a romantic weekend away – just the two of them. At first, Ben is reluctant, as he doesn't like travelling, but Janey forces him to talk to Susan. Initially his ideas of where to go don't please her, but she suggests the B&B they stayed at just before they got married. Arriving at the B&B, they find virtually nothing has changed in the room they stayed at some twenty-two years ago, except for the romance, which seems to have disappeared out of their marriage.
5 "Farewell To Alarms" Baz Taylor Steve Armogida and Jim Armogida 17 October 2000 (2000-10-17) 30 minutes 6.89 million
Susan is worried about the growing crime rate in the area and after a series of events including Bridget's van (allegedly) getting stolen and a stranger strolling around the house after Nick decided to become a landlord, she decides the time has come to get an alarm, and an expensive top-of-the-range alarm at that. After night-on-night of the alarm going off due to various problems, Ben's had enough of the sleepless nights and decides to turn off the alarm. What should just be a simple task of turning off the alarm soon turns into Mission Impossible and Ben is forced to clamber over furniture and make all sorts of other ridiculous movements just to try to get back to his bedroom without setting off the alarm.
6 "Death And Ben Take A Policy" Baz Taylor Fred Barron and Penny Croft 24 October 2000 (2000-10-24) 30 minutes 6.19 million
A Chinese businessman goes missing on a tour of Madame Tussauds and when he is later found dead, Susan begins to worry about the effect on the kids as it is their "first death", even though they've never even met Mr Chen or been to Madame Tussauds. Later that evening at dinner, Nick reveals that he's offered his latest would-be job to Emily Foster, someone who he really likes and someone who also wants a chance to sell life insurance, so Nick suggests Ben, although to his shock, Susan has already apparently bought life insurance from him. At first, he's hesitant to let her come round, but after Nick persuades him (telling him there might even be a chance of moving out) Ben's all for it.
7 "The Awkward Phase" Baz Taylor Fred Barron 30 October 2000 (2000-10-30) 30 minutes 8.38 million
Nick's trying to teach Michael how to act on his first time out on a girl: the rules etc. He's also fixed Ben's chair though Ben forbade him to ever touch anything of his ever again, and when he later tells Ben that he fixed his chair, Ben goes off into a rant about how he just wants him to leave everything alone. Susan just puts Nick latest behaviour of trying to fix things down to an awkward phase, but Ben disagrees: twenty years isn't a phase, it's him.
8 "Much Ado About Ben" Baz Taylor Steve Armogida and Jim Armogida 7 November 2000 (2000-11-07) 30 minutes 7.62 million

After taking Viagra which Susan found in Nick's pocket, Ben ends up in hospital and soon after, Susan forces him to go on a diet for the good of his health, which he detests, but later on, after being given a book by Bridget about her guru (Dave, who is also a part-time builder) who had a near-death experience which completely changed his life, Ben returns home and scares his family even more than the events of the previous night, because he's in a good mood. And to top it all off, he's actually singing.

Last Episode: Brigget

Reception[edit]

Viewers[edit]

The series was given a mid-week time slot, originally airing on Tuesdays at 8:30pm. The series became an immediate hit with viewers, with the first episode gaining 8.48 million viewers, the sixth highest rating for the week.[5] Ratings began to fall for the next three episodes, to a point where ratings for the fourth episode of the series failed to appear in the BBC's Top 30 programmes.[6] However, when the series was moved to a prime-time slot on Friday evenings, beginning with Episode 5, ratings began to improve, with the seventh episode of the series reaching 8.38 million viewers. The first series averaged 7.04 million viewers for each episode.

Rank Episode Viewership Audience Percentage
1 The Serpent's Tooth 8.48 million
2 The Awkward Phase 8.38 million
3 Much Ado About Ben 7.62 million
4 A Pain In The Class 7.46 million
5 Farewell To Alarms 6.89 million
6 Death And Ben Take A Policy 6.19 million
7 Droit De Seigneur Ben 5.95 million
8 The Last Resort 5.42 million

Critics[edit]

The series was openely criticised for its American roots, with the use of quick one-line jokes, compared to the more traditional built-up jokes of other British sitcoms.[7][8] Daniel Lees, of My Family Online, stated that the fifth episode of the series, "Farewell To Alarms", stands out from an otherwise mediocre first series. He described the episode as a "perfectly written, impeccably performed piece, generally enjoyable as a whole".[9] He also stated that the show itself has "easy-going plots, with some hilarious moments intertwined with atmosphere, character interaction and a general feel-good ambience".

References[edit]

External links[edit]