One Foot in the Grave is a BBC television sitcom series The series features the exploits of Victor Meldrew and his long-suffering wife, Margaret. The programmes invariably deal with Meldrew's battle against the problems he creates for himself. Living in a typical household in an unnamed English suburb, Victor takes involuntary early retirement. His various efforts to keep himself busy, while encountering various misfortunes and misunderstandings are the themes of the sitcom. The series was largely filmed on location in Walkford, near New Milton in Hampshire, although several clues show that the series may have been set in Hampshire – possibly Winchester. Despite its traditional production, the series supplants its domestic sitcom setting with elements of black humour and surrealism.
If you are reading this and thinking about watching One Foot in the Grave, stop reading and go watch it immediately! You can always read this later. This is one of a handful of shows that I think of as nearly perfect Brit sitcoms. In fact, thinking about it, I want to create a list on my profile to share them. A person who was around when this show ran but who didn’t watch it can be forgiven if all they remember is fans yelling out character Victor Musgrove’s signature line, “I do not believe it!” Because people did go nuts over that. But there is a lot more to the show. There is black humor here and the plots are rather layered, often building up to an explosive and unexpected crescendo at the end. It is quite a feat for a half-hour show. There are laugh out loud jokes, brilliant sight gags, and comments on society and human nature. This is an ensemble cast, to be sure. One thing I really like is that they make fun of most of the characters (though not Victor’s wife, brilliantly played mostly straight by Annette Crosbie) but they are not turned into two dimensional caricatures. They have some depth and sympathetic moments. It is one of very few series that I have purchased on DVD in order to watch anytime. I have since learned about how the show was produced and I appreciate the amount of work that writer Davis Renwick put into each episode. Don’t miss it.