Watch an episode of sitcom Hardware and you might be forgiven for thinking that you have slipped into a timewarp and its suddenly 1973 again, the limited sets, confined cast and dodgy hairstyles of the leads. However this is not a bad thing as some of the best sitcoms of all time came from the seventies. Hardware isn’t one of the best sitcoms of all time but it is frequently hilarious and never less than funny.
Coming from the always dependable pen of Simon Nye (he of Men Behaving Badly) Hardware is set in the kind of retail emporium that has all but been swallowed whole by the giant conglomerates. Hamway’s Hardware mighty sell all manner of stuff but the guys certainly don’t want any pesky customers coming in and threatening to buy any of it.
The excellent Martin Freeman headlines as Mike whose girlfriend Anne (Susan Earl) works in the cafe across the road (the Hardware shop, the Cafe and Mike’s flat are pretty much the only sets on display), the other staff members are Mike’s best friend Kenny who thinks he knows it all when it comes to the ways of women, student Steve who works at Hamways part time and is desperate for some regular sex whilst manager Rex (the brilliant Ken Morley) whose seediness knows no bounds. Mike sees himself as somewhat above the laddish behavior that the guys indulge in but deep down knows he is part of it too.
UK / ITV1 Network – Thames – Fremantle / 12×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 23 March 2003 – 11 April 2004
Writer: Simon Nye / Producer: Margot Gavan Duffy / Director: Ben Kellett
Martin Freeman as Mike
Peter Serafinowicz as Kenny
Ken Morley as Rex
Ryan Cartwright as Steve
Susan Earl as Anne
Ella Kenion as Julie