Updated: Oct 28, 2019
I'll bet that you didn't know that Peep Show had a spin-off? Well, it wasn't really an official spin-off, it was more of a future prequel, if there's a word for that? The Old Guys was the brainchild of Peep Show writers, Sam Bain, Jessie Armstrong and Simon Blackwell. The show starred comedy legends Clive Swift (Keeping Up Appearances) and Roger Lloyd-Pack (Only Fools and Horses, The Vicar Of Dibley) as what were in essence, reimagined older versions of Mark and Jeremy.
Debuting in 2009, you'd be forgiven for missing the fact that this was a reimagined Peep Show at all. The Old Guys is a much cosier affair, there are no first person perspective cameras here, and the show even had a studio audience! Clive Swift played Roy, a responsible, but fairly boring pensioner. His wife had left him and ever since he had had to put up with living in the company of his slightly dysfunctional best friend, Tom. Tom (Roger Lloyd-Pack) never really got a grip on life, and after his wife had died, Roy seemed like his best option.
The pair spend most of their time trying (unsuccessfully) to get into the good books of neighbour, Sally (Jane Asher). Katherine Parkinson also stars as Tom's daughter, Amber, which gives the show a very IT Crowd feel. In fact, most of the time, it feels a bit more like The IT Crowd rather than Peep Show.
There are a few episodes featuring farces that are in the style of that famous IT Crowd episode - 'The Work Outing'. However, having said that, there are so many conversations that you could imagine Mark and Jeremy having. There's an episode in the second series where Tom moves out and ends up sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag (in the dark) with a ridiculous burglar alarm system that means no one can move around his new flat unless it's turned off, and he can't even do that because he can't remember the security password.
He also paints all the walls black, so it feels like a cave, before he finally admits he can't cope alone at all, and moves back in with Roy. I'm sure you're thinking what I'm thinking, it's all very Jez, and it feels like a plot synopsis for a Peep Show episode. Roger and Clive's performances bring a totally different perspective to the characters though.
Roger's Tom is far more confident in his childish misdemeanours than Jeremy, and Roy is a lot more level-headed than Mark. But it's nice to see Clive Swift in particular, handling a more risqué script than that of Keeping Up Appearances. There's a real sadness to watching The Old Guys now though for the obvious reasons that both Roger Lloyd-Pack and Clive Swift have both passed away. Roger passed away in 2014 and Clive died earlier this year.
The Old Guys ran for two series, although unfortunately the show slipped under the radar. It almost had a third run. Reminiscing on twitter recently, Simon Blackwell described the third series as 'decommissioned' as there had apparently been plans for more that almost went ahead. It's a sad thing that that's something we now have no chance of seeing... Or do we?
The question of Peep Show returning is one we've all seen again and again and again and every time the answer is the same, like this quote from David in the Metro:
So there you go, Peep Show and The Old Guys may yet get reimagined again, but in the meantime it's worth checking out this hidden gem of a sitcom. Here's a link to check out the full series on Daily Motion (including the elusive second series). Unfortunately, only the first series was released on DVD, and not only is it unavailable to buy new anymore, it commands some hefty prices second-hand.
Originally posted on The Comedy Blog:
Written by Rhianna Evans