Lee Mack’s quaint but charming sitcom Not Going Out returns for a tenth series, being one of few British sitcoms to have that many. After the impressive live Christmas special a few months ago, it returns with a different setting this episode, namely taking place on a charity skydive.
For the last few series Not Going Out has been a family sitcom, but it’s still post-watershed and has a few slightly risqué one-liners that don’t keep it entirely inoffensive. At one point Anna (Abigail Cruttenden) says of her husband Toby (Hugh Dennis) that he’d give up his place in bed if someone asked him nicely.
Over the episode they jump one by one, with much discussion between as out of the seven of them it turns out they’re one parachute short, which we later learn was because Lee purposely got rid of one. It looks like Lee was going to jump earlier on but he doesn’t in the end as they decide to talk about who’s going to be the one not jumping. Though you could tell Lee was going to stay for a while longer as he still needed to deliver some one-liners.
The plot sees Geoffrey (Geoffrey Whitehead) being overly insistent that he’s keen to jump, and that the rest of them are scared, despite Geoffrey not just jumping himself. It’s no surprise that near the end he reveals that he was also scared all along, and that the reasoning he gave earlier about him being alright with it as he was in the army wasn’t quite valid. He was actually discharged from the army for not doing a jump.
In addition the episode’s premise doesn’t quite make sense. Why are these people doing it if none of them want to? Surely there would be more than just 7 people willing to skydive for the hospital’s children’s ward. Toby says as well as organizing the event, he also organized press coverage, so wouldn’t that suggest he’d put more effort into it than to just pick the first people who agreed? I’m not really sure, because the situation isn’t particularly drawn out.
It’s in a different phase of its life but it’s still much the same. In usual fashion there are many one-liners to mixed results, some good, some few very good and some genuinely clever, however the lack of attention to story makes it a hard one to feel fully captivated by. Lee Mack’s a great performer, as we’ve seen in Would I Lie To You, which was even better than it is normally in its stellar most recent series, and his excellent sitcom pilot earlier in the year, Semi-Detached, but Not Going Out isn’t very demanding.
Not Going Out is on BBC One at 21.00 on Mondays.