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Dad (BBC-1 1907-1999, Kevin McNally, George Cole)

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Two In Clover (ITV 1969-1970, Sid James, Victor Spinetti)

With Dad writer Andrew Marshall followed up his successful sitcom 2.4 Children with another look at family life. This time, however, he delved into the relationship between three generations of men in the Hook family.

The patriarch is Brian Hook, played by sitcom veteran George Cole. He has never had a close relationship with his son Alan (Kevin McNally) until Brian’s serious illness causes a reevaluation of their relationship. His father still drives him crazy, but Alan now has a second chance to get to know him.

The formerly distant relationship between Brian and Alan is mirrored in that of Alan and his own son Vincent, played by Toby Ross-Bryant. Alan makes pathetic attempts to be cool around his son and relate to him more as a friend than as a father, but it doesn’t work. In one episode, the police show up to inform Alan that he has left his car unlocked. After thoroughly embarrassing himself in front of the agents, Alan tries to look better in the eyes of his son by calling them “pigs” after their departure. Vincent is singularly unimpressed.

Every sitcom family needs a calm, sane center and in Dad, it’s provided by Julia Hills, who was memorable as the man-hungry Rona in 2.4 Children. She doesn’t get the flashy scenes, but is reliable and appealing as the Alan’s wife, the woman in the middle.

Dad is beautifully scripted by Marshall, who lets the humor flow from characters, themes and situations we can all relate to. The cast works well together as an ensemble to hit all the right notes and makes the Hook family one you’ll definitely want to get to know.

A forty minute Christmas special appeared 19 December 1999.

production details
UK / BBC One / 12×30 minute episodes 1×40 minute episodes / Broadcast 29 September 1997 – 15 February 1999 and 19 December 1999

Writer and Executive Producer: Andrew Marshall / Producer: Marcus Mortimer

cast
KEVIN McNALLY as Alan Hook
GEORGE COLE as Brian Hook
TOBY ROSS-BRYANT as Vincent Hook
JULIA HILLS as Beryl Hook

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