Did we like it?
Not especially amusing, but what it achieved very promisingly was to establish four comic characters who could be the bedrock for a very funny series.
What was good about it?
• Sure, all the major characters were cardboard cut-outs of stock sitcom ciphers, but they were likeable and certainly have the potential to be funny.
• Freddie (Reece Shearsmith) was a repressed prude who wanted to “fire” chambermaid Emily because he was attracted to her. Later when he went to sack her, her offers of sexual favours perturbed him so much he agreed she could stay on.
• Jack (Adam Buxton) exploited the contemporary puzzlement at gentlemen in Jane Austen novels falling deeply in love with women they hardly knew. After the love of his life was betrothed to another the doctor immediately fell in love with Elizabeth, Horatio’s cousin, but she was later executed for poisoning her father. But he probably wasn’t too upset as she was repulsed by the thought of physical intimacy, and that such conduct could only be performed “through a wood or canvas barrier”.
• Elizabeth was found out after the shrewish spinster Louisa grassed her up to the police partly out of her unrequited love for the ignorant Jack.
• Horatio (Darren Boyd) was quite funny as the snooty, layabout who was trying to give meaning to his worthless cosseted existence by penning a novel and was present when his uncle snuffed it leaving some to suspect that he, as the sole benefactor, may have smothered him with a pillow. This was a running joke, but by the end the gag was lame and Horation had become the most annoying sitcom character since the Talkie Toaster in Red Dwarf.
What was bad about it?
• At times it resembled a Monty Python spoof of 19th century quaint England; meaning that it seemed about 35 years out of date.
• The irrepressible, vexing jollity of all the characters as if it’s all a big in-joke that the viewers must respectfully bow and scrape to. This was most apparent when all the main characters were “murdering” one another in a mock strangulation daisy chain.