Happiness (TV series)

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Genre Comedy
Starring Paul Whitehouse
Fiona Allen
Mark Heap
Clive Russell
Pearce Quigley
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 12 (list of episodes)
Running time 30 minutes
Original network BBC Two
Original release 20 March 2001 – 18 February 2003

Happiness was a British sitcom broadcast on BBC2 with dramatic, melancholy overtones written by Paul Whitehouse and David Cummings with Whitehouse in the lead role.

There were two series, the first running in 2001 and the second in 2003. Whitehouse has stated that there will probably not be a third.[1]


Whitehouse plays Danny Spencer, a successful voice artist for a popular cartoon bear called Dexter. Spencer is trying to come to terms with the death of his wife, though much of his concern is that he finds he isn't feeling the loss as deeply as he should.

Approaching his fortieth birthday he is independent and single and the programme's themes are largely bound up with the opportunities and problems that this situation creates. His friends are a disparate group, ranging from the strait-laced Terry and Rachel (Mark Heap, Fiona Allen), through the down and outs - Charlie and Sid (Johnny Vegas and Pearce Quigley), to the archetypal man in a mid-life crisis, Angus (Clive Russell). To varying degrees these friends offer Spencer inspiration and cautionary tales as to how Spencer can fill his life.


Season 1[edit]

# Title Original air date
1 Personality Crisis 20 March 2001
2 I'm Doing It for Me 27 March 2001
3 Chained to an Idiot 3 April 2001
4 Desperate Dan 10 April 2001
5 Celebration 17 April 2001
6 Forty 24 April 2001

Season 2[edit]

# Title Original air date
1 A Little Bit of Love 14 January 2003
2 A Nice Person 21 January 2003
3 Real Dancing 28 January 2003
4 Perspective 4 February 2003
5 Old Bloke at the Door 11 February 2003
6 People Move On 18 February 2003


Critical reception[edit]

Simon Hoggart described the series as "part of that newish genre, the situation tragedy",[2] and Andrew Billen criticised it for the "emptiness at its heart and not enough going on peripherally to make up for it".[3] Nicholas Barber thought it "an impressive leap from catchphrase-heavy sketch comedy" with "topnotch supporting actors".[4] Many reviews singled out Johnny Vegas's performance as being the strongest among the cast.[5][6]


  1. ^ "News sept01 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". Chortle. Retrieved 26 July 2009. 
  2. ^ Hoggart, Simon (2001). "Upfront misery | Spectator, The | Find Articles at BNET". Findarticles.com. Retrieved 26 July 2009. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ [2][dead link]
  5. ^ [3][dead link]
  6. ^ "Ian Hyland's TV week: Happiness | Sunday Mirror | Find Articles at BNET". Findarticles.com. 19 January 2003. Retrieved 26 July 2009. 

External links[edit]