Here’s a pub quiz question – what connects The Grimleys, a comedy-drama about 70s Dudley starring Noddy Holder, Amanda Holden and Jim Bowen – to this year’s Trigger Point bombshell on ITV?
The answer is best-selling writer, producer, and showrunner Jed Mercurio.
Mercurio has shone for the past ten years, producing the acclaimed Line Of Duty, Bodyguard and Bloodlands, as well as an adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
But his second project was based on the fictional 1970s Jericho council estate Dudley and the dysfunctional Grimley family.
It aired on ITV from 1999 to 2001, with a pilot in 1997.
You won’t find it on streaming services, and you’ll be very lucky if you have any of the 22 episodes on rare VHS or DVD releases.
It’s a show completely forgotten by the bigwigs of TV these days.
The first episode of Season 1 sets the scene: “Margaret Thatcher is elected leader of the Conservatives, the Vietnam War is coming to an end, and Ali and Frazier were fighting their ‘Thrilla in Manila’.
“But all of that was nothing compared to Vauxhall Vivas, platform shoes and Bay City Rollers.”
Former Hollyoaks actor James Bradshaw stars as Gordon Grimley, a shy schoolboy who has a crush on his teacher, played by a young Amanda Holden.
Nigel Planer plays Baz, the lazy householder and ever-strike British Leyland worker.
Jim Bowen of Bullseye appeared as a union organizer, and Noddy Holder of Slade makes several appearances as a music teacher – even featuring Dudley in the pilot episode.
Even radio legend Tony Blackburn makes an appearance in the second series.
Three seasons aired on ITV before being canceled in 2001 due to poor viewing figures.
It seemed to have all the makings of a Midlands sitcom hit and a rare spectacle of Black Country life at the turn of the millennium.
Unless it’s revived or put back on streaming services, it’s likely to continue to slide into obscurity.
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