entertainment

'Gimme Gimme Gimme' premiered exactly 20 years ago today

The raucous BBC Two sitcom is celebrating a milestone anniversary.

2019-01-08

Starting drafting that 'feel old yet?' status now, because camp classic sitcom Gimme Gimme Gimme is officially 20 years old today.

The raucous comedy about the hapless London flatmates Linda La Hughes (played by Kathy Burke) and her gay flatmate Tom (James Dreyfus) premiered on BBC Two exactly two decades ago, on 8 January 1999, spawaning endlessly amounts of eminiently quotable TV gold in the process.

Created by Beautiful Thing writer Jonathan Harvey, Gimme Gimme Gimme's outragous sense of humour quickly proved a hit with audiences, despite being mauled by critics.

Charting the doomed joint quest of deluded "stunner" Linda and failing actor Tom to find a male partner, the show ran for two series on BBC Two from 1999-2000, before its widespread popularity landed it a third and final run on BBC One in 2001.

Dreyfus also came in for criticism from the LGBT press at the time over his portrayal of a stereotypcially camp and comic gay character - prompting Burke to publicly defend him during the British Comedy Awards in 2002 as she accepted the Best Actress Award for her role in the sitcom.

"I'd like to say a big thank you to James Dreyfus," the comic told the audience. "He got a right slagging from the gay press for doing the show - fuck them."

Creator Jonathan Harvey, himself an openly gay man, admitted in 2015 that Gimme Gimme Gimme wouldn't be commissioned again today as its brand of comedy is now deemed too "risky."

He told Radio Times: "I came up with an idea about four years ago for a new house-share sitcom that I knew was the best thing I’d written comedy-wise since Gimme Gimme Gimme. But the BBC turned it down because they thought it was too rude.

"And I said, ‘It’s only as rude as Gimme Gimme Gimme was’. And they said they’d never commission Gimme Gimme Gimme now because they can’t be that risky.

"The climate changed. There’s less space to try out something a bit different."

While we all pray the BBC changes its mind and demands an immediate reboot, Burke and Harvey have been marking the show's 20th anniversary on Tuesday (8 January) on Twitter.

So apparently this piece of high art is 20yrs old today", Burke, 54, wrote.

"Loved every minute of it. Happy anniversary @JOJEHARVEY @DreyfusJames I love you nearly as much as I love myself."

Harvey added: "20 years ago tonight! Blimey we were young!"

Watch the pilot episode of Gimme Gimme Gimme below: