Colin's Sandwich

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Colin's Sandwich
Genre Comedy
Created by Terry Kyan
Paul Smith
Directed by John Kilby
Starring Mel Smith
Louisa Rix
Tony Haase
Andrew Robertson
Mike Grady
Lee Cornes
Nicholas Ball
Lindsay Duncan
Annette Crosbie
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 12
Producer(s) Jamie Rix
Running time 30 minutes
Original network BBC2
Original release 18 October 1988 (1988-10-18) – 16 February 1990 (1990-02-16)

Colin's Sandwich was a British sitcom, broadcast on BBC2 in 1988 and 1990, which starred Mel Smith as Colin Watkins, a British Rail administrator who aspired to be a horror writer. The show was written by Paul Smith and Terry Kyan and ran for two series of six episodes (18 October – 22 November 1988 and 12 January – 16 February 1990). In the second series, Colin manages to achieve some small successes as a writer.

List of episodes[edit]

Series 1

  • 1. Flaunt It

Colin's told that he's the only man for a huge photocopying job, a fashion assignment in Bengal means an unwanted emergency dinner party, and an extremely boring guest stands in the way of an exciting opportunity.

  • 2. Time Out

A decision has to be made about who's entitled to a period of leave, Jen suggests going on holiday to get away from the British summer, and different requirements lead to a suggestion about going separate ways.

  • 3. Enough

Colin's told to cut back on excesses for a fortnight after a health scare, the agony of it all isn't helped by a leaving party and Chinese takeaway, and an appointment with old acquaintances only prolongs the agony.

  • 4. Pussyfooting

Colin's offered a chance to be published in the Langley Book of Horror, the pressure of a deadline leads to a bad case of creative impotence, and an effort to get away from constant distractions leads to the biggest yet.

  • 5. Back From Bengal

Colin worries about his story making it to John Langley's office, the wait for the ring of the telephone is interrupted by returning friends, and an attempted apology leads to the most boring ear-bending in history.

  • 6. Night on the Town

Missing out on a Eurotunnel event leaves Colin considering his future, good news from John Langley comes with an invite to dinner, and a moment of cowardice on the underground proves to be a distraction.

Series 2

  • 1. A Bit Whiffy

Colin enjoys the praise that comes with the launch of the Langley Book of Horror, a film producer asks for a treatment by the end of the week, and Jen wants to relax after suddenly finding herself out of work.

  • 2. A Piece of Cake

Colin tries to hold in his inner child when he attends a boring wedding, Trevor's announcement that he's getting married comes with a surprise request, and attempts to inject some originality don't quite hit the mark.

The fallout from a hijacked train provides inspiration for a story for a TV series, Jen accepts the offer of a lift for a second interview in Berkshire, and Colin begs not to be left alone with two consistently tedious guests.

  • 4. Night Thoughts

The demands of writing a screenplay begin to take their toll on Colin, the breaking point comes while standing in for Travers on a phone-in radio show, and Jen suggests that it might be time to hand in his notice.

  • 5. Frank

Alan Hunter proves to be a perfectionist when it comes to endings, Jen starts to question whether there's a future in her relationship, and Colin rushes to the hospital when Des calls with bad news about his father.

  • 6. Out To Lunch

Colin tries to shut things out by keeping himself as busy as possible, Jen suggests going on a relaxing holiday to get away from it all, and a trip to the 'best restaurant in the world' proves to be a stressful experience.


The central character, Colin Watkins, is a neurotic man in his mid-thirties. By day he works in a dead-end job for the now defunct British Rail in their complaints department. He frequently has to listen all day (and attempt to appease) a combination of complainants and abusive customers. At the time the series was broadcast, British Rail had a poor reputation for its performance. While the job involves mundane tasks such as photocopying and dealing with customers, Colin dreams of being a horror author.

Colin lives alone in a top-floor flat though his girlfriend Jenny and best friend Des often share time with him there. Jenny and Colin are revealed to have met at university and share a sexual relationship – though there is no reference to any permanence in the relationship.

Colin is portrayed as a neurotic who often turns to alcohol (whisky or white wine) in times of trouble and or success. Jenny is much more down-to-earth and, while she enjoys Colin's company, she is a stable figure in his life.

All in all, Colin tries to do the right thing in the numerous situations he ends up in (being bored by friends endless dreary dinner parties, finding a dead cat and returning it to its owner, going on holiday while continually fretting about leaving appliances on in his flat). However, Colin is often conflicted and has a borderline depressive attitude to life – brought about in one episode by his colleague leaving British Rail for pastures new who encourages Colin to do the same.

In Series 1, the long-running plot involves Colin submitting one of his few finished novels to John Langley, a tough publisher who includes it in his compilation of horror short stores.

External links[edit]