Well, I got my wish. The past week or two, I’ve been looking for a bit more screen time for Sally Bretton and Katy Wix in Not Going Out. Much as I enjoy the double act of Lee Mack and Tim Vine, it’s when the four are working together as an ensemble that the show really gels the most for me. And here, as Lucy’s parents hit marital problems, there was a slightly more grounded setting, and more room for more characters.
We had two guest stars this week, but they won’t both be familiar to those who have followed the show before. For when we met Lucy and Tim’s parents before, in the Christmas special after series two, they were played by Timothy West and Deborah Grant. It was a terrific episode, based around playing a murder mystery board game, and I particularly loved West’s performance in it.
But Timothy West, for unknown reasons, hasn’t returned for series four (in spite of reprising the role of Lucy and Tim’s dad since), and his place is taken by Geoffrey Whitehead. And, to be fair, Whitehead does a fine job here. In an ideal world, the casting wouldn’t have changed, but he fills the role as well as can be hoped.
The core of the episode, then, saw Lee trying to resolve the relationship problems, in an attempt to impress Lucy. It played nicely on the stuck-in-his-ways nature of the character of Geoffrey, while giving Deborah Grant as Wendy space to have a bit of fun, too.
After last week’s episode, where the emphasis moved slightly away from one-liners, it was very much business as usual this week. The show, for me, works well because of its smattering of regular, hearty laughs. Dancing got the laugh quotient back up to Not Going Out‘s standards, with Lee’s attempts at playing a marriage counsellor among the highlights of the episode. This inevitably led to misunderstandings, with the mildly sinister scenario where Lee and Wendy were being brought closer together.
It gelled together well, and I enjoyed the episode a lot. I’d like to see the characters of Geoffrey and Wendy back again soon, too, although I suspect we might just be getting a reappearance of Lee’s dad before that happens.
For now, it’s good to have this fine show continuing its rich vein of form.
Read our review of episode 3, Movie, here.
Follow Den Of Geek on Twitter right here.