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Smoking Room, The (BBC-3 2004-2005, Robert Webb, Paula Wilcox)

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In the world of work, there is one place where seniority means nothing, where shoptalk is banned, and where the persecuted minority gather regularly to discuss every subject under the sun – the smoking room.

Set entirely in the smoking room of a large company, this comedy series, which ran to two seasons and a Christmas special inbetween, explores the personal foibles and suppressed longings of an oddly assorted bunch of characters. These individuals wouldn’t normally even socialise together, but their shared love of nicotine provides a tenuous link between them all.

There’s the smoking-room fixture with a passion for the postboy; the grouchy security guard; the thick-skinned office Romeo; the terminally paranoiac; the divorcee enjoying a new adolescence; an entirely self-centered emotional wreck; the boss who wants to be popular; and the voice of reason among all the madness.

With a feel similar to The Royle Family, the series explores all aspects of human life, as it is played out in the self-contained world of the smoking room.

On 1 July 2007 the UK brought in a rule prohibiting smoking indoors in workplaces, effectively making the smoking room of the series (should any further episodes have been made) illegal.

production details
UK | BBC Three | 17×30 minutes | Broadcast 29 June 2004 – 13 September 2005

Writer: Brian Dooley
Music: Robert Smith
Executive Producers Sophie Clarke-Jervoise, Michael Jacob
Producer: Peter Thornton
Director: Gareth Carrivick

cast
Robert Webb as Robin
Fraser Ayres as Clint
Nadine Marshall as Sally
Debbie Chazen as Annie
Jeremy Swift as Barry
Paula Wilcox as Lilian
Leslie Schofield as Len
Emma Kennedy as Heidi
Selina Griffiths as Janet
Siobhan Redmond as Sharon

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