Men Behaving Badly

Men Behaving Badly
Men Behaving Badly
Men Behaving Badly title card.jpg
Series logo, which appears before the closing credits rolled. Gary and Tony dance badly in the background.
Format Sitcom
Created by Simon Nye
Written by Simon Nye
Directed by Martin Dennis
Starring Martin Clunes
Leslie Ash
Caroline Quentin
Neil Morrissey
Valerie Minifie
Ian Lindsay
Harry Enfield
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 7
No. of episodes 42 (List of episodes)
Producer(s) Hartswood Films
Running time 30 minutes
Original channel ITV, then BBC One
Picture format 4:3 (1992–1997)
16:9 (1998)
Original run 18 February 1992 (1992-02-18) – 28 December 1998 (1998-12-28)
Related shows Men Behaving Badly (US remake)

Men Behaving Badly is a British comedy that was created and written by Simon Nye. It follows the lives of Gary Strang (Martin Clunes) and his flatmates, Dermot Povey (Harry Enfield) and Tony Smart (Neil Morrissey.) It was first broadcast on ITV in 1992. A total of six series were made along with a Christmas special and three final episodes that make up the feature-length "last orders".

The series was filmed in and around Ealing in West London and the final scene of series six was filmed at the Cerne Abbas giant. The setting however is implied to be South London and many references are made to Surrey.

It was produced by Hartswood Films, and Thames Television co-produced the first two series for ITV. They also assisted with production of the third series onwards that aired on the BBC.

After being moved to a post-watershed slot on BBC1, Men Behaving Badly became highly successful. It was controversially voted the best sitcom in the BBC's history at the corporation's 60th anniversary celebrations in 1996, and it came sixteenth in the Britain's Best Sitcom poll commissioned in 2004 on BBC2. It has also won the Comedy Awards' best ITV comedy, and the first National Television Award for Situation Comedy.[1]

In a BBC article, it is suggested Gary and Tony were "a reaction against the onset of the caring, sharing 'new man'. It appeared to revel in a politically incorrect world of booze, burps and boobs". Nevertheless, critics Jon Lewis and Penny Stempel have stated the show "allowed male viewers to indulge in vicarious laddism, whilst allowing female viewers to ridicule the bad but lovable Tony and Gary". They also commented that "it was also a genuine sitcom in that the humour came from the characters and their context". Simon Nye remarked: "I don't do mad, plot-driven farragoes. You have to allow your characters time to talk".[2]

The show has been repeated on BBC One and G.O.L.D., and all six series are available on DVD. In 2007, Martin Clunes admitted that he's "been watching the Men Behaving Badly repeats on TV, and laughing like a git!" [3]



  • Gary Strang (Martin Clunes) – Gary operates a security sales office with two old-fashioned middle-aged subordinates. He also owns the flat that he and flatmate Tony occupy. Gary is a man in his thirties, and enjoys talk of girls and indulges in lager and a perpetual childhood with best friend Tony. Gary on occasions makes a fool of himself; foolishness that is quickly exploited by girlfriend Dorothy. Despite his stereotypical masculinity, at heart, Gary is a gentle soul and loves Dorothy.
  • Tony Smart (Neil Morrissey, series two onwards) – Tony is Gary's good looking semi-stud flatmate, who is forever in love and always obsessed with the 'blonde babe' upstairs, Deborah. Tony is softer than Gary and at times even more childish than him. Tony drifts from job to job and fails to pay his rent to Gary. Like his flat mate, Tony enjoys girls, lager, and an eternal childhood. Despite Gary's initial reservations, Tony soon replaces Dermot in the role of Gary's best friend.
  • Dorothy Bishop (Caroline Quentin) – Dorothy is Gary's sharp-tongued girlfriend who is a nurse. She lives with her parents, due to the fact her mother threatens to "kill herself if she moves out". Dorothy loves Gary. However, his immaturity and other aspects of his character cause the pair to occasionally drift apart. Dorothy is not always treated satisfactorily by Gary; being lied to and occasionally cheated on, she doesn't hesitate to get her revenge by humiliating Gary and cheating on him herself.
  • Deborah Burton (Leslie Ash) – Deborah is an attractive blonde woman who lives in the flat above Gary and Tony. Deborah works in a restaurant, and although partially attracted to Tony, his selfishness, immaturity and other aspects of his character push her away just as they begin to get close. Deborah is frequently changing her mind about Tony, a character she both loves and loathes simultaneously.
  • Dermot Povey (Harry Enfield, series one only) – Dermot is Gary's original flat mate featured only in series one. Like Tony, Dermot is forever failing to pay his way at Gary's flat and is desperately in love with Deborah. Dermot both lies and cheats in an attempt to garner success with Deborah. However, like Tony, he fails miserably.

Tony and Dermot are similar in character, although Dermot is slightly more introverted and repressed. He is only mentioned twice after his departure, the first to explain that he simply is not coming home, and the second in the first episode of series five, when Dorothy recalls him to which Gary replies "Did I tell you he got a job at Euro-Disney testing the rides?"

Other characters

  • George (Ian Lindsay) – an old, shy, cardigan-wearing office worker. Both he and Anthea are tolerant ears for Gary to moan out his problems. George leads a very unambitious life. His wife Marjorie (who is never seen) works in productions of dramas like Dr Zhivago and others. George is also a huge fan of the 1960s folk group The Seekers.
  • Anthea (Valerie Minifie) – an introverted spinster secretary, who, like George, is very old fashioned. Gary is known to take out his frustration on Anthea, one of his more common punishments being to lock her in the office cupboard.
  • Les (Dave Atkins) – The 'dribbly' landlord of The Crown, the pub that the main characters frequent. Les is known for his disgusting manner and his service of offering locals a goodbye gherkin.
  • Ken (John Thomson) – Replaces Les as the landlord of The Crown from series 5 onwards. Ken has never managed a pub before, and so is clueless with regards to pub terminology and common practice. He got the position because his brother is 'sleeping with' the brewery's personnel manager, Mrs Swift.

Other characters include Clive – a friend of Gary's who never appears on screen. Writer Simon Nye played the minor role of Clive in series 6, wearing a bright green suit. Also, Neville runs the record stall with Tony in series 2.

Plot summary

Gary and Tony are two beer-guzzling flatmates, revelling in a second childhood, hours of TV and mindless talks about women, the kind of behaviour that puts their relationships with Dorothy (Gary's girlfriend) and Deborah (an attractive blonde in the flat above) in jeopardy.

Gary manages an office selling burglar alarms for a dead-end company. His staff are two ageing employees: the hen-pecked George and eternal spinster Anthea, who regularly drive him to exasperation with their old-fashioned ways. Tony stumbles through a range of jobs including modelling, bar work and miming, after his record stall collapsed (somewhat literally).

Dorothy is a quick-witted, sensible nurse. She and Gary frequently split up and are occasionally unfaithful, but always end up back together. Tony has many girlfriends but his true feelings are for Deborah, who he initially just wants to have sex with, but quickly falls in love with.

Tony and Deborah finally end up in a relationship in series 6.

The show's origins

The show is based on Simon Nye's 1989 book of the same title. TV producer Beryl Vertue came across the novel and tracked down Nye, believing it was suited for television adaptation. Harry Enfield was then cast first, and persuaded Martin Clunes that he should join the show.

The first series features Martin Clunes as Gary Strang, and Harry Enfield as his flatmate, Dermot Povey, but Enfield felt out of place in the sitcom and decided to quit. It has also been reported that Enfield has claimed he felt uncomfortable in the programme, and left stating that a "proper actor" would do the job far better. Simon Nye has stated that ITV picked up the series partly because Enfield had agreed to star in it, and his departure influenced ITV's decision to cancel the show after just two series, when audience figures were poor. It has been claimed that this was owing to ITV giving it a poor slot in the schedules, forcing the 'bad behaviour' to be toned down.

In 1994, the show went to the BBC, who aired a further four series. The shift to a new station and a later time-slot meant, as the BBC have stated, the show could indulge in "more colourful language and behaviour". The show became highly successful on BBC One, winning numerous awards, along with its writer and its stars.[3]

The first series featuring Enfield has never been repeated on the BBC, although the second ITV series has been shown.[3]


The show aired for six series and forty two episodes, including a Christmas special titled 'Jingle Balls', which was broadcast over Christmas 1997. A final short run of three 45 minute episodes was made in 1998 to conclude the series. These were broadcast over Christmas, like the 'final' three episodes of Only Fools and Horses two years earlier.

Series one was the only series to feature Dermot, played by Harry Enfield, and the only series not to feature Neil Morrissey as Tony. The episodes of the first two series are about 24 minutes long because they were shown on ITV and time was needed for advertisements. When the show began on the BBC, the episodes were about four minutes longer.

DVD releases

All six series are available on region 2 DVD separately, and a complete collection featuring all six series is also available. The 1997 Christmas special and final trilogy are also available on DVD.

Owing to licensing difficulties, the music at the beginning of episode one 'Hair' and the rave in episode five 'Cardigan' had to be changed for the Series 5 DVD.

The DVD of the final trilogy is also only in 4:3 centre cut-out rather than the 16:9 format the episodes were originally made in.

DVD Title Disc # Year Episode # DVD release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Complete Series 1 1 1992 6 25 January 2005 8 May 2000 14 August 2000
Complete Series 2 1 1992 6 25 January 2005 5 June 2000 14 August 2000
Complete Series 3 1 1994 6 10 January 2006 5 June 2000 14 August 2000
Complete Series 4 1 1995 7 10 January 2006 3 July 2000 14 August 2000
Complete Series 5 1 1996 7 7 November 2006 3 July 2000 14 August 2000
Complete Series 6 1 1997 6 7 November 2006 20 November 2000 14 August 2000
Jingle Balls! 1 1997 1 On "Last Orders" DVD 1 January 2008 N/A
Last Orders 1 1998 3 7 November 2006 1 September 2003 14 August 2000
Complete Series 16 6 1992–1997 38 N/A 22 September 2003 N/A
Complete Series 1LO 7 1992–1998 42 7 November 2006 N/A 8 August 2001

Other appearances and references

  • A brief sequence was included in Comic Relief 1997, titled 'Men Behaving Very Badly Indeed' and featured a guest appearance by Kylie Minogue. Although references to her were in the series, this sketch had her showing up at the flat, with both Gary and Tony failing to recognise her. It was released on DVD as part of the 2002 VCI release 'Seriously Funny!'
  • Another brief appearance was for Comic Relief 1999, which showed a 'Swinging Sixties' version of the show via recently discovered black-and-white footage, known as 'The Naughty Boys'.
  • Women Exercising Madly features the four main characters in a short scene at the start, while the main content is Debs and Dorothy taking part in a humorous exercise video, intercut with scenes from other series, before the girls get home and collapse with exhaustion.
  • Though completely unrelated to the show, Neil Morrissey lent his name to a cheap sell-through video, Neil Morrissey's Motorbike Mania. The video, which features low quality footage of motorbikes and occasional vignettes featuring Morrissey, was marketed as though it was related to the series, with phrases including "Wahay mates!" and 'behaving badly' used liberally throughout the inlay. It was later re-released as 'Bikes Behaving Badly'.
  • After his departure from the show, a regular sketch in Harry Enfield's Television Programme features the character of 1950s television presenter Mr Cholmondeley-Warner. In one episode, he looks at the future of television, and among the envisaged programmes was one called 'Men Behaving Splendidly'.
  • Clunes and Morrissey travelled to Australia to make and host/star in the series 'Men Down Under', which featured them as themselves, rather than as their characters, exploring Aussie 'bloke' culture.
  • Morrissey and Ash appeared together after the series ended, but using their real names, in a series of advertisements for the national DIY chain Homebase.

US version

The series was remade for US television, broadcast on NBC 1996–1997, starred Rob Schneider, Ken Marino, Ron Eldard and Justine Bateman, and took place in Indianapolis, Indiana.[4] As a result, the original series was eventually screened in the US on BBC America as British Men Behaving Badly, whilst in Australia, the US series was broadcast (on the Seven Network) as It's a Man's World.

See also


  1. ^ (Book) Cult TV: The Comedies, the ultimate critical guide-Jon E Lewis and Penny Stempel
  2. ^ (Book) Cult TV: The Comedies, the ultimate critical guide – Jon E Lewis and Penny Stempel
  3. ^ a b c BBC – Comedy – Men Behaving Badly
  4. ^ Men Behaving Badly (US) –

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Men Behaving Badly (US Version) — Men Behaving Badly was an American sitcom that ran on NBC from 1996 to 1997. It was based on the earlier British sitcom of the same name.Set in Indianapolis, Indiana the show starred Ron Eldard, Rob Schneider and Justine Bateman. Eldard and… …   Wikipedia

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