15 Storeys High

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15 Storeys High
DVD cover for the 2007 release of 15 Storeys High series 1 & 2
Created bySean Lock
Martin Trenaman
Mark Jones
Mark Nunneley
Directed byMark Nunneley
StarringSean Lock
Benedict Wong
No. of series2
No. of episodes12
ProducerPhil Bowker
Running time30 min
Original networkBBC Choice
BBC Three
Picture formatDVB-T 576i 16:9
Original release7 November 2002 (2002-11-07) –
18 March 2004 (2004-03-18)

15 Storeys High is a British sitcom, set in a tower block. It originated as two radio series broadcast in 1998–2000, transferring to television in 2002–2004. The main characters in the television series are Vince Clark, a depressed, sardonic recluse played by Sean Lock, and Errol Spears, Vince's optimistic whipping boy, played by Benedict Wong.

Radio series[edit]

Both radio series (Sean Lock's 15 Minutes of Misery and Sean Lock: 15 Storeys High) were recorded in front of a studio audience. The theme tune used for both series is the 1960s song "England Swings" by Roger Miller.

Sean Lock's 15 Minutes of Misery[edit]

The show's original incarnation was a radio series entitled Sean Lock's 15 Minutes of Misery. It was broadcast weekly on BBC Radio 4 in the "Late Night on 4" comedy slot at 11.00pm. It ran for six episodes between 30 December 1998 and 3 February 1999. The show was written by Sean Lock and produced by Dan Freedman, and starred Lock, Kevin Eldon and Hattie Hayridge.[1]

Sean Lock: 15 Storeys High (Radio 4)[edit]

Lock's second series was entitled Sean Lock: 15 Storeys High, and it was also broadcast on Radio 4's "Late Night on 4" comedy slot and written by Sean Lock and Martin Trenaman and produced by Chris Neill. These series each consisted of five half-hour episodes. Series one aired from 24 November 1999 to 22 December 1999, and starred Lock, along with Felix Dexter, Jenny Eclair, Tim Mitchell, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Chris Pavlo and Peter Serafinowicz. Series two aired from 24 November 2000 to 22 December 2000, and included roles from Dan Freedman, Alex Lowe, Dan Mersh, Paul Putner, Rob Rouse and Chris Neill.[2] The 15 Storeys High radio series used a different method to present the events going on in other flats in the tower block. It dispensed with the idea of Sean listening in on others using "Bugger King", replacing it with a voiceover simply announcing the flat number of the subsequent scene. The show introduced Sean's flatmate Errol (played by Serafinowicz in series 1, episodes 2–5).

TV programme[edit]

In 2002, 15 Storeys High was made into a television show which ran for two series, each series consisting of six half-hour episodes. In the television series, Lock's character was named Vince (he was simply Sean Lock in the radio series). Vince's flatmate Errol Spears was played by Benedict Wong. The TV shows were recorded on location and therefore without a live audience. The pilot originally had a laugh track, although this was removed for the broadcast.

The series was written by Lock, Trenaman and Mark Lamarr (credited under his real name, Mark Jones), and directed by Mark Nunneley. In the second TV series Lamarr is also credited as a writer. Digital comedy channel Gold began showing repeats of the first series during September 2014 as part of their After Dark comedy line-up schedules. In August 2021, following Lock's death, the series became available on BBC iPlayer.[3]


Series 1 (2002)[edit]

EpisodeTitleWritten byDirected byOriginal airdate
1"The Sofa"Sean Lock & Martin TrenamanMark Nunneley7 November 2002 (2002-11-07)
Vince decides to advertise for a new flatmate and ends up with unemployed student Errol. When he decides to get a new sofa, the day ends in tragedy when he ends up losing his Tesco clubcard and two voluptuous women decide to force themselves upon him.
2"The Model"Sean LockMark Nunneley14 November 2002 (2002-11-14)
Nothing goes smoothly when Vince teaches a model to swim, leading to a confrontation with a very jealous husband. Meanwhile, Errol finally scratches an itch he needed to scratch, but it results in him having to entirely redecorate Vince's bathroom.
3"Blue Rat"Sean Lock & Martin TrenamanMark Nunneley21 November 2002 (2002-11-21)
A bargain energy drink from an Eastern European supermarket causes Vince a few problems. Meanwhile, Errol gets a job down at the local fish market, but is unaware that his new bosses are constantly winding him up with fictitious traditions.
4"Ice Queen"Sean LockMark Nunneley28 November 2002 (2002-11-28)
Vince falls in love with his upstairs neighbour, but finds it difficult to pierce her icy exterior. Meanwhile, a bible-spouting Jehovah's witness causes trouble for Vince when he turns up on his doorstep in a number of different guises.
5"Pool Kids"Sean Lock & Martin TrenamanMark Nunneley5 December 2002 (2002-12-05)
A war of words between Vince and the local kids causing trouble at the swimming pool threatens to escalate into all out war after fireworks are posted through his letterbox, and posters of him being labelled the messiah for bald people being put up around town.
6"Dead Swan"Sean LockMark Nunneley12 December 2002 (2002-12-12)
Vince decides to have his holiday snaps from two years ago published, but a photo of him holding a dead swan taken by his ex-girlfriend leads to him being accused of a crime that could have him facing a lengthy term in prison. This episode was produced as the pilot and originally had a laugh track and did not include the title sequence.

Series 2 (2004)[edit]

EpisodeTitleWritten byDirected byOriginal airdate
1"Vince the Shirker"Sean Lock, Martin Trenaman & Mark JonesMark Nunneley12 February 2004 (2004-02-12)
Vince falls for the aqua aerobics instructor, Stacey, while Errol tries to conquer his phobia of saying "no". Later, Vince takes co-worker Darren out for his birthday, but his plans to take him to a surprise party organised by Stacey go badly wrong when a thug loses his jacket.
2"Car Boots and Pigeon Shit"Sean Lock, Martin Trenaman & Mark JonesMark Nunneley19 February 2004 (2004-02-19)
Car-boot sales, pigeon droppings and ping-pong enthusiasts converge to create a bad day for Vince. To make matters worse, a bunch of local estate kids have taken to smoking weed in the lifts, and Errol decides to take up bodybuilding after returning home stoned.
3"Holiday"Sean Lock, Martin Trenaman & Mark JonesMark Nunneley26 February 2004 (2004-02-26)
Vince attempts to go on holiday, leaving Errol alone in the flat with strict instructions. Things don't go to plan, however, when an argument with the check-in receptionist leads to Vince ripping up his ticket and ending up insulting Finnish people in a number of different ways.
4"Plough"Sean Lock, Martin Trenaman & Mark JonesMark Nunneley4 March 2004 (2004-03-04)
Vince wakes up after a night out and realises he has stolen a plough. He tries to return it, but later discovers that while drunk, he wrecked a graveyard. However, the vicar is more interested in becoming friends with him. Errol takes Vince's advice and tries to become less 'boring'.
5"The Baby"Sean Lock, Martin Trenaman & Mark JonesMark Nunneley11 March 2004 (2004-03-11)
Vince applies for the job as manager of the swimming pool, but is forced to look after a plastic baby as part of his training. Errol starts smoking after using a nicotine patch as a replacement bandage.
6"Errol's Women"Sean Lock, Martin Trenaman & Mark JonesMark Nunneley18 March 2004 (2004-03-18)
Vince's depression has caused Errol, who has become irresistible to the ladies, to seek help.

Filming locations[edit]

The flat in which Vince lives was actually filmed in a studio with large pictures of the adjacent tower blocks as a backdrop. All other flats in both series are real, and are located in the Brandon Estate, Kennington, London. The British science fiction drama Doctor Who has also used this location.[4] The location of the swimming pool, in which Vince works as a lifeguard, is Ladywell Leisure Centre in Lewisham, South East London, in the first series. In the second series, the swimming pool used is in the basement of the Shell Centre next to Waterloo station. The Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre is also used as a location in several episodes, notably the Sundial restaurant and the bowling alley.[5]

Series one was initially broadcast on BBC Choice (the forerunner to BBC Three) from 7 November 2002 to 12 December 2002. Series two was broadcast from 12 February 2004 to 18 March 2004.[6]

The show starred Sean Lock and Benedict Wong. Additional cast members included Dan Mersh, Bill Bailey, Aml Ameen, William Tomlin, Steven Webb, Mark Lamarr, Toby Jones, Tracey-Ann Oberman, Felix Dexter, Paul Putner, Pearce Quigley, Perry Benson, Simon Godley, Melanie Gutteridge, Peter Serafinowicz, Michael Greene and James Bachman.


In 2003, 15 Storeys High was nominated for a BAFTA in the Best New Director category for its unique style, and innovative shots.


  1. ^ "epguides.com". Sean Lock's 15 Minutes of Misery a Titles & Air Dates Guide. Archived from the original on 1 August 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2008.
  2. ^ "epguides.com". Sean Lock: 15 Storeys High a Titles & Air Dates Guide. Archived from the original on 17 August 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2008.
  3. ^ "15 Storeys High" – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  4. ^ "Doctor Who in London: Our handy guide to 10 of the best Time Lord-related locations you can visit". This Is Local London.
  5. ^ "Tributes pour in for comedian Sean Lock who has died of cancer at the age of 58". Today UK News. 18 August 2021.
  6. ^ "epguides.com". 15 Storeys High a Titles & Air Dates Guide. Archived from the original on 18 August 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2008.

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