TV Cream

TV: Y is for...

Young Ones, The

TATTIEST, NOISIEST, hammiest and blusteriest thing BBC2 has ever shown. You all know what went on here. Suffice to say age hasn’t treated it well, but the special effects still look good. And that bit with THE GOOD LIFE titles is ace. It was contractually obliged that everyone who was in it went on to be famous, which alas meant stardom beckoned both for PAUL MERTON *and* CHRIS BARRIE.



  1. Glenn Aylett

    July 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Peace and vegetable rights, the University Challenge episode is the best one. Also check out some of their live work like the Bastard Squad and a memorable appearance on Comic Relief. What are you doing, Mike, snogging Kate Bush? ( This was also a very rare live appearance by the high pitched one).

  2. Lee James Turnock

    May 4, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    It’s a funny thing, but the Young Ones is to kids of the 80s what the Goodies is to kids of the 70s – great at the time, shite now. Because I was born in ’74, I was too young to remember the Goodies first time around and I absolutely love them to shreds now, whilst my older brothers – who did watch them first time around – think it’s all a bit embarrassing. I loved the Young Ones when I was eight (ten for series two), taped them, watched them over and over…then just lost interest. Seeing Bottom live in ’93 was the final straw.

  3. Matthew Rudd

    May 15, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Thank heavens for Habitat sofa coffins.

  4. Richard Davies

    August 31, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    I was too young to see TYO first time round & only really remembered them for Living Doll, odd clips permitting.

    In 1995 the whole lot was repeated & I managed to watch most of them recording a few.

    They are very of their time, but plenty of the humour stands up well.

    I’ve never really undestood the surreal bits that have next to no connection to the main plot, such as the old Russian couple & the bussinessmen holdaying on a raft in the cellar.

  5. Glenn Aylett

    July 26, 2020 at 10:41 am

    The show namechecked Paul Squire, a Geordie comedian who was supposed to be the next big thing in 1982 and whose career overlapped that of The Young Ones. While everyone of a certain age will remember The Young Ones, Paul Squire is virtually forgotten now.

    • richardpd

      July 26, 2020 at 11:28 pm

      I only heard of Paul Squire because of him being used as a punchline, being too young to see his show.

      Supposedly Madness appeared twice because the BBC were planning to give them their own TV show, but it didn’t materialise.

      • Tom Ronson

        May 8, 2021 at 10:05 pm

        Paul Squire prompted one of the most offensive letters ever sent to Points of View, circa 1983 – “BBC1’s Paul Squire Esquire is only aimed at flids, morons and cretins”. Different times and all that, but crikey.
        The Young Ones? Loved it as a child and I’m still rather fond of it. A couple of the second series episodes are notably shaky, however – Cash was a disappointment even when it first aired, and Summer Holiday has a lengthy mid-section (including a terrible song from the usually reliably entertaining John Otway and a pointless Lenny Henry cameo) that drags like Mr Creosote’s gut.
        The moment I’ll always remember from the first series – largely because it united me, my mother and my father in helpless, surprised laughter – was Vyvyan being plugged into the mains by his hamster SPG, having first eaten the television.

        • Richardpd

          May 9, 2021 at 12:30 pm

          I didn’t get a decent chance to watch the Young Ones until the mid 1990s repeats, but really liked them.

          Agreed that some of the second series episodes a bit weak, but at least Cash has Neil joining the police & the spoof public information film. Some episode have a lot of great set pieces, but how they form a half decent plot-line can be hit & miss in places.

  6. Droogie

    May 10, 2021 at 4:36 pm

    I think Cash might be my favourite YO episode purely for the deranged cameo by comedian Steve Dixon as the lunatic Norman Bates lookalike ranting into camera about breaking into his neighbours and eating the fish tank. I often wondered why Dixon didn’t have a more prominent comedy career after such an unforgettable appearance, but it seems he turned his back on acting to become a bigwig in academia intead ( he’s currently President of Lasalle College Of The Arts!) I believe Cash is also the first tv programme to show a girl farting.

  7. Tom Ronson

    March 7, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    The first series was great from start to finish.
    The second series is roughly half great and half passable. I remember going to bed after watching Bambi for the first time in ’84 thinking ‘Perhaps this new series was a mistake. Maybe it’s me. Perhaps it’ll get better.’
    Cash was similarly underwhelming, save for the above-mentioned public information film send-up.
    Luckily, Nasty, Time, and Sick were all excellent episodes.
    Summer Holiday has some good stuff in it but also some dreadful crap.
    Still… nine classic episodes out of twelve? Legendary reputation very much deserved, I’d say.

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