Richard Wilson as Victor Meldrew and Annette Crosbie as Margaret Meldrew (Image: Still photo from One Foot in the Grave)

scene from One Foot on the Grave

One Foot on the Grave is essentially a sitcom about a grumpy old man named Victor Meldrew. After being forced into early retirement, the short-tempered and cantankerous old man turned his sights unto the various injustices and annoyances that surround his life. Now, the premise might not seem all that appealing at first glance, but Richard Wilson’s portrayal of Meldrew is one of the funniest things you’ll ever see on TV. Accompanies by Margaret, his long-suffering wife, and his legendary catchphrase, "I don't believe it!", Victor Meldrew navigates through the vicissitudes of life with his trademarked petulance.

And the challenges he faced are numerous. From being buried in his garden to confronting vicious pit bulls and the dreaded cabal of government bureaucracy, writer David Renwick brilliantly blends the pathos of old age, loneliness and death with witty dialogues and memorable characters. One Foot on the Grave is so far out of the security and comfort of traditional feel-good sitcoms, one would be forgiven for thinking that the comedy would disappear from the airwaves fairly quickly. However, One Foot on the Grave spectacularly proved many wrong, and at its peak, its viewership include a sizeable chunk of the teenage and young adults demographic. In fact, sixteen years after the final episode, the show still commands a sizable number of viewers during reruns.


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Victor Meldrew (Richard Wilson) has never been renowned for his patience and tolerance.

When he's forced to take early retirement, he suddenly has plenty of time on his hands to rage against the petty annoyances of life.

His long-suffered wife Margaret (Annette Crosbie) just has to grin and bear it.

Other regular characters are Patrick Trench (Angus Deyton) and his wife Pippa (Janine Duvitski), Mrs Warboys (Doreen Mantle) and Nick Swainey (Owen Brenman).

Series: 6
Episodes: 42
Transmitted: 1990-2000
Channel: BBC1

BBC Television

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