In the first series of Men Behaving Badly Gary Strang (played by Martin Clunes) wasn’t even the main character. The main character was Dermot Povey played by Harry Enfield. Everything else that featured in the later series was the same though. Gary was in his on-off relationship with Dorothy, he worked with George and Anthea, Deborah lived upstairs and Gary’s flatmate fancied Deborah.
The whole of the first series basically had Dorothy and Gary about to split up and go their separate ways, but always ending up back together in the end, and each episode features Dermot trying to score with Deborah without much success at all.
That is pretty much the same premise for the entire six year run of the series with the main difference between this first series and the others was the presence of Harry Enfield as Gary’s flatmate rather than Neil Morrisey, which just worked so much better than Enfield did.
Now I like Harry Enfield I loves him as Loadsamoney and Stavros and I loved him in Harry Enfield and Friends and latterly Harry & Paul but he just didn’t seem to fit in this sort of show and this sort of role and he often looked uncomfortable which I think showed in his performance.
He was quite amusing as Dermot, but the character just didn’t seem to work with Harry playing it, and him and Martin Clunes just didn’t really gel as best mates either and it often seemed to be a little bit uncomfortable.
The plots were amusing enough though with the friends battling each other over a game of chess over two tickets to the opera which end up being forgeries and Dermot’s attempt at seduction through a flamenco guitar player named Jeremy who uses a synthesiser instead of a guitar, as well as Gary and Dorothy deciding to have an open relationship up until the point he sees Dorothy with another man and is instantly and utterly jealous.
On the basis of this first series it could easily have been a one series wonder but I am glad that they decided to carry on and do more episodes.