AMIABLE ENOUGH series that despite its relative longevity and introduction of soap-opera style ongoing storyline never quite managed to break through to the comedy premier league. Which is a shame really as we would have loved to have seen Roland Rivron present a half-arsed programme extolling its virtues as part of that BBC “Best Comedy Ever” thing from a few years ago. Loveable proto-Flash squirting KARL HOWMAN played unlucky-in-love-cheeky-chap Jacko. Each episode would focus on his latest benign flirtation with some posh bird who’d hired him to come and paint her back room. Jacko’s first real love interest came in the shape of KIM “PRETENDING TO WORK SOMETHING OUT ON A BLACKBOARD WITH JOHN CORNELIUS BUT IS PATENTLY JUST CHALKING A LOAD OF BOLLOCKS” THOMPSON’s Lesley. Although Thompson only played the role for one series, she is still better remembered in the part than ERIKA “WHO?” HOFFMAN who took on would-be-upper-class-totty for the show’s four remaining series. However in the main the supporting cast were brilliant; there was official sidekick Eric (played by MIKE WALLING with just the right blend of permed hair pomposity), ELIZABETH COUNSELL as the possibly-still-up-for-it-and-not-all-that-dissimilar-from-Marlene-in-ONLY-FOOLS-AND-HORSES Veronica and of course the colossus of all angry baldy blokes that is GARY WALDHORN as Jacko’s long suffering boss Lionel (sadly written out at the end of series three). Special mention must be reserved for the incomparable HOWARD LEW LEWIS, whose turn as idiot barman Elmo formed the template for idiot second string comedy characters that has since been used by the likes of VICTOR MCGUIRE and DAVE ATKINS. Over its five series, BRUSH STOKES grew increasingly maudlin, perhaps in part due to the loss of the comic friction between Jacko and Lionel. Still the end title sequence with Jacko finishing off that last bit of wall was always quietly satisfying, helped in part by one of the most melodic and uplifting sitcom theme tunes of all time, courtesy of DEXY’S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS.