Time Gentlemen Please
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|Time Gentlemen Please|
|Written by||Richard Herring|
|Directed by||Gareth Gwenlan|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||37|
|Running time||30mins (inc. adverts)|
|Production company(s)||Avalon Television|
|Original network||Sky One|
|Original release||11 September 2000– 1 May 2002|
Premise and characters
The show is set in a forgotten pub whose right-wing landlord, 'Guv' (short for 'The Governor'), has some very old-fashioned views on how a pub, and Britain, should be run. The Governor is an evolution of Al Murray's stage persona 'The Pub Landlord', which he had used in stand up since 1994, and frequently uses today.
- Guv - The Landlord for the pub. Sometimes claims to be the owner, but the pub is owned by the brewery. Just prior to his divorce, his wife took their son and moved to France to be with her new lover, a French Pub Landlord. He has been involuntarily celibate since. He has a number of politically incorrect views which he sometimes momentarily expresses, for example, the belief that only women can drink wine. Some of his beliefs are shared by other established barmen, dubbed "Publicans". He is a typical example of someone who has been emotionally neglected and shows signs that he has abandonment issues. As a result, he is very temperamental and neurotic to those around him. He idolises the man he imagines his father was, but it is often implied that Guv is the only one who doesn't know that his father isn't his father. He sometimes shows homosexual tendencies, despite being homophobic. In series 2, he develops a mental condition that he calls "Barman's Hand", which makes him physically incapable of performing any bar-work. He also dreams of having a carvery in his pub, and to inducted into the Grand Order of Barstewards.
- Steve Crosby - Crosby is a bar man who lives in the basement. He has no friends, other than the pub regulars, and is convinced that Dean is his best mate. He also insists that he is a "temporary" barman until he figures out what he wants to do with his life. He is a huge fan of 'Cheeky' Alan Supple and Ken Tucky, and is personally offended when either personality is mimicked. Most of his understanding comes from Guv and 'That's Impossible' magazine, and therefore wrong. He doesn't like Janet, but has an unrequited love for Connie. He is verbally and physically abused by others, but he is loyal to his fellow bar staff. Every time something gets damaged, Guv threatens to take it out of his wages.
- Janet - Janet is an Australian backpacker looking for a "temporary" job. She later confesses that she wants to earn enough money to return home, but Guv avoids paying her. She is foul-mouthed and talks almost constantly in sexual innuendo. She lusts after Steve, but frequently has boyfriends that distract her from him. She hates the attention she gets from Greg Thompson and Dean. She makes constant jokes about her "last boyfriend", who is eventually introduced as a real character. She quits at the end of series one after Guv hires her former boyfriend.
- Connie - Connie is the barmaid that replaces Janet. At first, she is refused a job by Guv, so she works for Greg Thompson. But she is taken on by Guv after she frees Steve and quits. She is constantly hit on by Greg. She is a student who is seemingly knowledgeable in all subjects, consistently claiming that she studied it last term. She is prone to bouts of hormonal rage, and is consistently frustrated by all of the other regular characters. She is also the only woman not fancied by Terry.
- Gary - Gary is the pub dog. In most episodes, it is revealed that Terry had been barred for doing something to Gary. As a result, Gary is usually seen in some outlandish costume.
- Terry Brooks, the pub's regular alcoholic with an overactive (although rarely fulfilled) sex drive and a bad case of flatulence. Although this is never directly mentioned, he is clearly Guv's best friend. He is involved with several running gags. For example, In most episodes is that Terry has sneaked back into the pub after being barred for various pranks on Gary (The pub's dog), Guv often refers to Terry as the "Master of Disguise" whenever he sneaks back into the pub as an Alter Ego. He is often knocked out in fights with others, and has a sexual fetish towards birds. He is also the first to volunteer tasting food or drink that appears disgusting, and later proclaims it to be "blinding", as he literally loses his vision.
- "Prof" (real name "Algernon"), a confirmed bachelor with an overbearing mother. He is known for his pseudo-intellectual comments and his skill on the pub's punningly named quiz machine (Fact Hunt). His nickname stems simply from the fact that he wears glasses and that he once won 2 pounds from the electronic Fact Hunt game machine. It is often strongly implied that the Prof is both the "notorious railway station flasher" and a gay serial killer. It is also suggested that he is attracted to Guv, but he is just as often uninterested.
- "Pops" is a filthy old man with his regular table and strong religious beliefs. He also claims to be immortal, but says it's more of a curse than a blessing. He is known for his catchphrase 'look at his face, it's a picture!', often after a joke has been played on someone. Little is known about him, but states in the first episode that he preferred the situation to remain that way. He also blames many of the problems in his life on a faulty contraceptive, especially when it has nothing to do with the incident.
- Leslie is a huge biker type who sits in the corner, with his comparatively diminutive girlfriend Lesley. He never speaks but will growl at those who upset him and will be given free crisps to sit down. He never harms anyone without permission from Lesley (which he usually receives). He is normally content to sit quietly and watch the events in the bar. On a few occasions, he does show an attachment to Terry. On occasion, Leslie can be seen eavesdropping on the events that happen around the bar.
- Lesley, is Leslie's girlfriend. She is content to sit quietly with Leslie and her Tigger toy. She is slightly more talkative than Leslie, but she is far more sensitive. She enjoys watching Leslie hurt people.
Other main characters
- Ms. Vickie Jackson - "Ms" Jackson is the new brewery representative, and the daughter of the brewery owner. She is often looking for ways to increase the number of customers in the pub, always at Guv's disapproval. She is extremely eccentric, often acting in a bizarre, overly friendly manner. She also makes a lot of references to '90's pop culture, even though she is the only person who gets the references most times. At times she feels a kinship towards Janet (whom she frequently addresses as "Janette" much to Janet's annoyance) and Connie, even though she is despised by both. She is known to make nasty comments to both. At the end of the first series, she has a son to Uncle Barry. She has an identical sister who appears in only one episode and is never mentioned at any other time.
- "Uncle" Barry, a recovering sexaholic with black hair dye that never dries who is often hinted to be the Guv's real father. He later fathers a baby with Ms. Jackson. He has a habit of risking his own reputation to help Guv.
- Greg Thompson, currently holds the title of "King Barsteward". He is also the Landlord for the nearby 'Queen of Hearts' pub. He is a charming ladies man who is violent towards men. He likes informing people about his sex life, large penis and his pub, even though the topics tend to overlap. He graduated with Guv, whom he calls "Slops".
Other Significant Characters:
- Mike and Dave, a pair of landlords who are always seen together. Mike is somewhat of a fool who is always embarrassing Dave. It is often implied that the two are in a homosexual relationship. They are also two of the leading members of the Grand Order of Barstewards (with Ms. Jackson, Barry and Greg).
- Dean the "Postie" - Dean (played by co-author, Richard Herring) is a postman who is known in the pub simply as 'Postie'. He hates Steve, even though Steve thinks they are friends. He fancies Janet, but Janet is turned off by his attitude towards Steve. He is also very sensitive about the shape of his face, because most call him "bean-face".
- "Fat" Tony 'Arris - Tony is an obese former Landlord who has been a major influence in Guv's life. He used to be the brewery rep before and King Barsteward before he was replaced due to health issues. He is typically unconscious when he is shown on screen.
- Mr. Jackson - Ms. Jackson's father and the owner of the brewery. He is only seen in two episodes, but his presence has a constant effect on Guv, Steve and Ms. Jackson.
- Prof's Mother - Prof's Mother is an unnamed character who acts as a refined, overly religious lady in front of her son, often condemning him for being in the pub. But when Prof is not nearby, she drops her self-righteous facade and is found to be a foul-mouthed harridan.
- Guv's Mother - Guv's Mother was an abusive parent who frequently cheated on her husband. She resents Guv for being born when he was. One episode reveals that she has had a fling with Barry, Terry and Prof at one time or other. She is normally seen in memory sequences, although she does visit the pub on one occasion.
- Al Murray as Guv
- Phil Daniels as Terry
- Jason Freeman as Steve
- Rebecca Front as Vicky Jackson
- Roy Heather as Old Man
- Andrew Mackay as Prof
- Julia Sawalha as Janet (Series 1)
- Emma Pierson as Connie (Series 2)
- Janine Buckley as Lesley
- Jeff Rudom as Leslie
- Marc Bannerman as Greg Thompson
The exterior shots of the pub were filmed at The Cowshed public house (formerly the Admiral Blake), Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, demolished circa 2013. The name The Cowshed is referred to in Series 2 Episode 3, where the Guv orders a new sign to be made saying the "Cow's Head", after "Ms Jackson, Cow", but he misspells the name. But he also adds a hand-painted sign of a cow with Miss Jackson's face. The pub is always referred to as the "pub by the chemical works", and the name is never referenced in any other episode.
Series 1 (2000-1)
|Episode||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"A Woman's Place"||Gareth Gwenlan||Richard Herring & Al Murray||11 September 2000|
|An Australian turns up at the pub just as the Guv sacks his barman, Steve. There's also a shock as the brewery sacks its long-standing local regional rep.|
|2||"Never Confused"||Gareth Gwenlan||Richard Herring & Al Murray||18 September 2000|
|The brewery dictates that all of its pubs should hold a gay night - needless to say, the Guv is not best pleased.|
|3||"Hoppy Birthday"||Gareth Gwenlan||Richard Herring & Al Murray||25 September 2000|
|It's Terry's birthday, and the Guv's lined him up the traditional pint-per-year to celebrate.|
|4||"Monkey's Uncle"||Gareth Gwenlan||Richard Herring & Al Murray||2 October 2000|
|The pub is trashed by a local hooligan - unfortunately, he happens to be the nephew of rival landlord and womanising bully Greg Thompson.|
|5||"King Barsteward"||Gareth Gwenlan||Richard Herring & Al Murray||9 October 2000|
|Guv receives notification that he has been nominated to join the Grand Order of the Barstewards.|
|6||"Date With Density"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||16 October 2000|
|It's been a year - but the Guv finally has a date. And as the owner of his own pub, he's already got the perfect evening planned.|
|7||"Getting Diggy With It"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||23 October 2000|
|The Guv's reluctantly having his beer garden turned into a car park, but work is stopped when human remains are discovered during the excavations.|
|8||"The Pub That Forgot Time"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||30 October 2000|
|Steve has fallen in love with French archaeologist Sue, but Janet won't let her man go without a fight. Meanwhile, head archaeologist Mike believes that there's a great business opportunity at the site.|
|9||"Fawkes/Off"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||6 November 2000|
|It's Guy Fawkes' night, also the birthday of little Carl, and the Guv's taking it particularly badly. Meanwhile, a new Guy Fawkes celebratory drink is causing havoc at Thackeray pubs.|
|10||"Help! The Aged"||Gareth Gwenlan||Richard Herring & Al Murray||13 November 2000|
|The Guv's new novelty sign promising free drinks for over-80s (when accompanied by both parents) backfires following a disagreement with the Old Man.|
|11||"More Tea Vicky?"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||20 November 2000|
|Vicky makes a surprise visit to inspect the Guv'nor's books. Meanwhile, Terry's gone AWOL and Steve's sold the time bell for a bag of magic mushrooms.|
|12||"Day Of The Trivheads"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||27 November 2000|
|The pub's selected to field a team for cult TV pub quiz show Fact Hunt; unfortunately, the first round will be against Greg Thompson's gaff, the Queen of Hearts.|
|13||"Greetings Stout Yeoman"||Gareth Gwenlan||Richard Herring & Al Murray||4 December 2000|
|Much to the Guv's disgust, the pub is selected as the first venue outside of the Irish Republic to trial a new stout, Rileys, which professes to be stout, lager and ale in one.|
|14||"Only When I Laugh"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||11 December 2000|
|The Guv visits Tony Harris in hospital, and bumps into Terry, Vicky, Tina and Sinjun whilst there. The future looks bleak for both Tony and Vicky, but a surprise could be around the corner.|
|15||"Playing Silly Buggers"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||18 December 2000|
|Guv and the regulars are oblivious when a drug dealer makes a new dealing base out of the pub. But the Irish criminal is under police surveillance.|
|16||"Bar Humbug"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||25 December 2000|
|It's Christmas Day, and a fire at the home means that the Guv's mum has to come and visit. He's determined that this'll be one Christmas she won't ruin.|
|17||"New Year's Steve"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||1 January 2001|
|It's New Year's Eve, and with Greg's special guest of 'Cheeky' Alan Supple at the Queen of Hearts, only Janet and the Guv are left.|
|18||"The Return Of Martin Greer"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring, Al Murray & Stewart Lee||8 January 2001|
|The Guv and his band of dysfunctional regulars and staff continue with their unique brand of philosophy.|
|19||"Juke Box Fury"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||15 January 2001|
|When Miss Jackson bursts into tears after a disagreement with the Guv over jazz music on a new jukebox, Janet suspects something's up. Sure enough, there's a secret to rock the pub with no name.|
|20||"Farts Of Darkness"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||22 January 2001|
|It's 3am, and with torrential rain pouring down, the Guv is woken by Terry at the front door. What could he possibly want at this hour?|
|21||"A Dave, A Dave-O"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring, Al Murray & Stewart Lee||29 January 2001|
|Leslie's in court, and Terry takes his opportunity with Lesley. Meanwhile, a particularly annoying arrival at the pub turns out to be none other than Janet's infamous "last boyfriend", Dave.|
|22||"All The World's A Stag"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring, Al Murray & Stewart Lee||5 February 2001|
|As Terry's wedding to Miss Jackson approaches, Vicky's desperate to find a way out - but the minder assigned by her father is there to ensure everything goes ahead. Meanwhile, Dave refuses to leave, and Janet's getting desperate.|
Series 2 (2001-2)
|Episode||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Christmas Special: It's A Wonderful Pint"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||24 December 2001|
|It's 10 months since the Guv retreated to his bedroom, and Terry, the Old Man and the Prof have had enough of Dave's Australian-ness. It's time to call in the big guns.|
|2||"The Man In The Iron Cask"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||30 January 2002|
|The Guv's back in the saddle, but crippled by a double case of Barman's Hand. Steve's still missing, and an applicant for Janet's old job turns out to be a student. Will salvation come?|
|3||"Got The Painters In"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||6 February 2002|
|As the brewery pays for the pub's refurbishment, Vicky has an embarrassing secret to admit: she doesn't know the pub's real name. Trouble is, neither does anyone else.|
|4||"Wishing On A Bar"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||13 February 2002|
|As the decorators move inside, the Guv finds himself locked in a battle of wits with an evil Leprechaun.|
|5||"The Harder They Crawl"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||20 February 2002|
|The Guv's not feeling himself after his divorce came through, but it's Tony Harris's birthday so he and Terry have duties to attend to.|
|6||"Landlord Of The Giants"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||27 February 2002|
|When Leslie falls under Connie's spell, Lesley brings a new man to the pub. Could this lead to the downfall of The Cowshed? Meanwhile, the Prof claims to have invented the never-ending beer glass.|
|7||"Beer Necessities"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring, Al Murray & Stewart Lee||6 March 2002|
|Connie is thrown into a moral quandary; torn between her job and 'friends', her objection to pornography, and her residual feelings toward ex-boyfriend Dean, when instructed by nasty brewery owner Mr Jackson to take part in a topless calendar shoot.|
|8||"Game For A Gaff"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring, Al Murray, Rob Adey & Richard Murkin||13 March 2002|
|As the pub faces the latest whim of Vicky's father, the Guv's hopes of finally getting his dream of a carvery could be realised. Will they be dashed once more, or will a long-dead German come up trumps?|
|9||"Speed The Ploughmans"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||20 March 2002|
|Connie's stressed over a philosophy exam that will total 0.3% of her degree, and the Guv's received a disturbing letter - Terry, however, is concerned only with his ploughman's.|
|10||"Optics Wide Shut"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring, Al Murray & Stewart Lee||27 March 2002|
|Uninvited to the Barstewards' Annual Secret Ball, the Guv sets out to sneak in. Could the promised sex orgy and night of abandoned morals break his duck?|
|11||"Storming Up A Cook"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||3 April 2002|
|Despite the Guv's protests, Vicky hires a local celebrity chef, the Bare-Arsed Naked Cook. As she and Connie fight for his affections, the Guv continues to insist on his dismissal.|
|12||"Of Mice And Mentallists"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||10 April 2002|
|Barman's Hand takes the ultimate toll on the Guv'nor, and he collapses, setting fire to the kitchen in the process. Although quickly saved by the regulars, he's tormented by visions of giant mice, and when Vicky finds out his terrible shame, he's encouraged to visit a psychiatrist.|
|13||"The Slopranos"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||17 April 2002|
|Visiting the psychiatrist, Vicky's twin sister, the Guv is forced to confront his demons. Does he want to shag his mother? Is there a mystery about his father? Is he actually confused? And most importantly, is he nuts?|
|14||"This Vale Of Beers"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring, Al Murray & Stewart Lee||24 April 2002|
|The Guv's initially ecstatic, as the function room is - for once - booked. Unfortunately, it soon turns out that Greg Thompson is the patron, having found God and turned the Queen of Hearts into a coffee house.|
|15||"Entente Lime Cordial"||Richard Boden||Richard Herring & Al Murray||1 May 2002|
|The Guv's reached the end of his tether. His wife's just got remarried - to a Frenchman - and now Vicky demands he closes down for the last time if his Barman's Hand continues. Could a visitor "from overseas" change his fortunes? Has little Carl returned to his Daddy? What will become of The Cowshed?|
After the show
After the series came to a close, Al Murray has since suggested that his character Guv's real name was also Al Murray. This allows him to use the 'Pub Landlord' character for his stand-up performances. Most of Al Murray's appearances are either as the 'Pub Landlord', or as an alternative version of himself, usually a slightly more reserved version of the 'Pub Landlord' character.
In multiple episodes of the series, Guv directly repeats direct lines from Al Murray's stand up shows. In the Christmas Special, Guv repeats the 'When a child is born' routine from one of Murray's tours.
ITV later commissioned a game show called 'Fact Hunt'. The show was based on the fictional quiz show mentioned repeatedly throughout 'Time Gentlemen Please'. But instead of being hosted by the character "Cheeky" Alan Supple, it was hosted by the Pub Landlord. Each episode was based on a traditional pub quiz and featured contestants representing different pubs across South England. The first and only series was cancelled after only a few episodes due to low viewership.
ITV would later commission 'Al Murray's Happy Hour', which again was hosted by Murray in his Pub Landlord character. It was a chat show that was frequently compared to The Graham Norton Show on BBC1. While most guests appeared on the show to publicise something, they rarely got a chance to. Murray would get them to mention the thing once, and then he would mock it as a money-making endeavour, and then he would move on.
The original series was only scheduled for 6 episodes, but was extended due to unforeseen popularity. The second series was cut short due to low viewership.
Murray would later host his own concept for a game show on Dave. Murray would once again use his Pub Landlord character, but would still use his real name. The show was compared to a higher budget version of Fact Hunt. There has only been one series. There are no plans to make future episodes.
After the show was aired on Sky One it was repeated on Paramount Comedy as it was formerly known. In 2011, Comedy Central Extra bought the rights to repeat some of the first series in a late night slot but have since never repeated the series again. Time Gentlemen Please was released onto DVD first in 2006 by Universal entitled Series 1 Part 1 which included the first six episodes of the first series, it was released on 8 May 2006. After Universal showed no plans to release any further episodes of the series onto DVD, ITV DVD later released a complete collection of the series featuring all 37 episodes on 16 March 2009.