Not Going Out came to its conclusion in December, and has been consistent and homely viewing, with frequent laughs at the characters’ expense. It is silly, frustratingly painful watching (the protagonists get it so wrong every single time) and very rude.
The characters are all familiar by now; we know when Lee is going to do something stupid, or when Frank is going to arrive out of nowhere, or when Daisy is going to say something entirely moronic, and that is all part of the charm. Lee’s dysfunctional family and friends become our own family and friends and it feels like they have truly earned a place in our homes after all these years.
Mack’s vast quantity of gags and puns continue to fill the space that Tim Vine left behind back in 2012, but that doesn’t mean Vine isn’t missed. A new addition to the programme, however, has been that of Hugh Dennis (Outnumbered) who plays Lee and Lucy’s new neighbour, Toby. The introduction of Toby in series 7 has allowed the character dynamics to be balanced with his level-headed presence, in predictable and typical Dennis-style.
A highlight of this series had to be episode five, Pointless (see above link), which featured appearances from both Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman, who stepped up to the job with apparent ease.
I won’t spoil the ending of the series, but I will say that it ended in typical Not Going Out style (though with the addition of something all concluding sitcoms seem to be doing these days: showing cringeworthy flashbacks of the famous moments from past episodes within the final scenes of the last show). All the memorable characters from the past eight years came together, including Tim Vine which was a delight.
I will always enjoy watching reruns of Not Going Out, but I have to say I felt it reached its natural conclusion here and I am glad it wasn’t stretched any further. Lee Mack’s brilliant comic writing has provided us with years of quality family entertainment and I look forward to seeing what he goes on to write in the future.