Sunday’s Shoestring retrospective on BBC4 was a useful reminder of how there’s always been so much potential for a revival, were it not for Trevor Eve’s constant reluctance to repeat himself (other than in a million episodes of Waking The Dead).
Even if it was just a one-off, the thing would be great.
Indeed, here’s how it would be great. Eddie has decided to move back to Bristol after taking retirement from his job in London as a bloke helping to design maps for the Underground.
He’s unnerved – and saddened – to find much of his erstwhile stamping ground is not what it was. His landlady Erica emigrated to Australia in the late 1980s, leaving behind a property empire run by her niece Juliet (played by Catherine Tate). A brassy matriach with a temper to match her shoes, Juliet allows Eddie to rent one of her holiday homes, so long as he…yup, helps her friend who runs the local radio station.
Eddie is shocked to find Radio West has now been renamed – for legal reasons – Radio Avonside, and is being run not by a blustering old cove but a go-getting businesswoman (played by Caroline Quentin) with a young husband (played by David Mitchell) who is regional co-ordinator for the Countryside Alliance.
In the course of his investigations he stumbles upon a maverick computer programmer (played by David Walliams) with whom Eddie has an affinity and who helps educate him about 21st century technology (“You’re famous Shoestring! There’s even a Facebook group about you!” “Good grief!”)
Of course the whole thing would be full of Eddie looking mournful and drinking coffee out of a polystyrene cup and dossing down on benches and finding the wreck of his old houseboat (“I feel like I’ve lost an old friend”) in a junkyard run by Phil Cornwell.
And it’d all be simultaneously promoted via a BBC4 tie-in documentary going behind the scenes of the new series and which would be called, naturally, Shoestring: Untied.