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Snakes And Ladders (Channel 4 Sitcom, John Gordon-Sinclair, Adrian Edmondson)



In scifi sitcom Snakes and Ladders it is 1999 and Britain has a north/south divide, with the South being idyllic, the North impoverished with food rationing.

A computer error leads to Scotsman Gavin Sinclair (John Gordon-Sinclair) accidentally changing places with Giles (Adrian Edmondson), one of the wealthiest men in the country.

James Green in the Stage of Thurs 12 Oct 1989 said: It is 1999, Charles has made it to the throne (and contributes to the theme song), and Britain is being run by a secret society, the loyal and modern order of Thatchers. For which read freemasonry. Trades unions have gone, the police have been privatised, the Labour Party is bankrupt, and there is a frontier between affluent South and impoverished North. The computer rules. One of the inmates of the Keith Joseph Memorial Home for the men tally unstable and political dissidents is a smiling and most happy Ken Livingstone. That may sound just mildly amusing but what the Harvey Moon writers have done to take an arrogant, wealthy, and privileged son of a peer (Ade Edmundson) and a no-hoper, broke, Scottish slum dweller (John Gordon Sinclair) and make them change roles. Targets pop up continually through out the show: satellite television, an Australian lord with more than a touch of Murdoch, Maggie posing on £10 notes, the Queen Mum’s 93rd birthday disco at Stringfellow’s, and police violence. It has the token swear words and the shock-horror moments that the target age group may welcome but the series is funny on a number of levels. “Wash my car with your tongue”, one working class lad is abused. But the lad becomes a folk hero when he gets a job, the first on his Scottish estate in seven years, and promises not to forget his own folk. People have replaced machines because they are cheaper. It is an hilarious send-up of masonry when the Paisley boy. for whom London is now abroad, is inducted by a man dressed as a replica of Mrs Thatcher into the Loyal Order. The result is a hoot-a-minute Britain where the company suggestion box goes straight into the loo, you are sent to the poll lax prison for having an undeclared lodger, the future stinks, and honesty is a disadvantage.

Cast: John Gordon Sinclair (Gavin), Adrian Edmondson (Giles), June Watson (Gavin’s Mum), Phil McCall (Gavin’s Dad), Ron Donachie (Mr Pym), Roger Sloman (Mr Lambie), Lynsey Baxter (Serena), Ed Devereaux (Lord Tewkesbury), Celia Imrie,

Writers: Laurence Marks, Maurice Gran / Executive Producer: Vernon Lawrence / Producer and Director: Baz Taylor

UK / Channel 4 – Yorkshire TV / 7×30 minute episodes / 17 October – 28 November 1989 Tuesdays at 10.00pm