Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Theme Time : Ronnie Hazlehurst & Paul Nicholas - Just Good Friends

BBC2's retro afternoons - a chance to show repeats of classic sitcoms and the odd drama - has treated us of late with a very welcome repeat for one of my favourite romcoms, the 1983-1986 comedy series Just Good Friends.


Written by John Sullivan (of Only Fools and Horses, Dear John and Citizen Smith fame) Just Good Friends told the story of former lovers, the charming wideboy Vince Pinner and the middle class nice girl Penny Warrender, who by chance meet in a pub five years after he jilted her at the altar and rekindle their flame.

Sullivan got the idea for the sitcom from a letter written to an agony aunt in his wife's magazine that detailed just that scenario and was motivated to write it by his former Citizen Smith actress Cheryl Hall who made him realise that he was incapable of writing comedy for women. Spurred by this criticism, Sullivan sought to remedy this and the character of Penny is utterly three dimensional and superbly brought to life by the beautiful Jan Francis, whilst Vince was played by theatre and musicals star Paul Nicholas.



Nicholas also sung the beautiful theme tune, arranged by the great Ronnie Hazlehurst from an original lyric by John Sullivan himself - who always wrote the theme tunes of his sitcoms.



A full length version of the song was released by Nicholas but it is - to my mind, at least - pretty inferior, replacing Hazlehursts' flugelhorn arrangement with an atrocious 80s keyboard.



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