Henry Gilbey
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What's the best UK TV series ever?

It's Friday, I'm off to Ireland on Sunday for a week or so and fishing's obviously going to be on the agenda 24/7, so today I thought I'd ask the question - what's the best UK TV series ever? Why ask this question? Well I guess that most of us at some time or another watch a bit of the old gogglebox (or tablets, phones etc. these days), and whilst films and really good nature documentaries tend to do it for me, I must admit that over the last few years I have got into a few of those really well made US TV series such as The Wire, The Sopranos, Homeland, Breaking Bad etc. But how about the UK stuff? Accepting of course that TV pales into comparison against time spent enjoying the great outdoors, indeed as parents my wife and I allow our girls absolutely minimal time in front of the TV - and to be fair they simply don't ask to watch it, not when we live where we do and there's so much to do around here.

In my mind there is one standout series that is forever going to stand head and shoulders above any other UK based TV series that I am aware of - and you must bear in mind that I have never been remotely interested in the sort of lame attempts at comedy based sitcoms that make me shudder when I see them being promoted, or soap operas for that matter - save for us all watching Neighbours when we were at boarding school. Why you might ask? Ain't got a clue, because it was pure drivel. Youth eh?

Nope, for me it has always been Only Fools and Horses. Nothing has come close to this if you ask me, albeit I have chosen to ignore the rather shameful attempt from the BBC to bring it back after they all finally got rich. No, I choose in my head to see the end of this magnificent run of television at that point where they walk off into the sunset along the yellow brick road. Tell me you watched that when it came out and didn't struggle to hold back the tears.......

And that's just the point for me. Over I don't know how many series, Only Fools and Horses makes me laugh until my sides hurt, but at just the right times you find yourself sitting back and really thinking about things whilst trying not to shed the odd tear or two - that is some seriously skilful writing if you ask me, and to have done it so consistently over so many years is pretty damn awesome if you think about it. I don't know if the actors ever felt typecast because we the viewers just can't help seeing them as the characters they played for so many years, but I would argue that this again stems from the quality of the writing and of course the acting.

OK, so Fawlty Towers and Blackadder are also seriously good, and I can't help but admire how only two (perfect?) series of Fawlty Towers were made before calling it a day. How moving was that final scene in the last ever episode of Blackadder? I've never got into any of those "comedy" US TV shows as to be honest I just don't think I get them, but perhaps it takes an English sense of humour to be able to so skilfully blend comedy and tragedy together in a way that almost binds the audience into the experience. Only Fools and Horses in my opinion will stand the test of time - I come back to it now and it feels as fresh as when it was airing on the BBC. Is this the best TV series ever? Done deal if you ask me.

Today my eldest girl has turned 10 - this time 10 years ago I had watched my wife going through childbirth, and for any of you blokes out there who have done the same thing, I am going to assume that your respect levels for your wife or girlfriend went through the roof. We must be honest as men and admit that we simply couldn't do it, albeit nothing winds a group of women up like saying "well I've seen giving birth and I reckon it's all a bit of a fuss over not every much"!!!! Which of course it isn't, holy frigging cow it's something else. I don't feel remotely grownup enough to have a 10 year old daughter, indeed I never for one second thought that being a parent could be so much fun - accepting of course that we are getting ever closer to the teenage years. And yes, I will be applying for a shotgun license so I can wave a nice double-barelled twelve bore in front of prospective boyfriends. I also have a big chainsaw that I will be using if they ever come round to take my girls out - which they won't be if I have anything to do with it!!

As I said earlier, on Sunday I am heading over to Dungarvan in Ireland with a few mates. Sure, we could do with losing these east winds, but I simply don't worry about the weather forecast as there's sod all we can do about it. We'll work it hard and we'll hopefully nail a few fish - reports are actually of some pretty good fishing considering the conditions, and if the winds do shift then it could get pretty interesting. We've got plenty of options, indeed we had some awesome fishing out there last year on east winds and big blue skies when we were doing some Tight Lines filming. Hell, it's time in Ireland doing what I do, and in my mind you can't beat that. As per usual I will get blog posts up when I can. Have a good weekend.

Henry Gilbey9 Comments