Programme: Respectable
Broadcast: 2006 (Five / Paramount)
Episodes: 6 (1 series)
Starring: Justin Edwards, Jodi Albert, Beatrice Kelly
Written by: Alan Connor, Shaun Pye, Harry Thompson
Produced by: Shaun Pye
Directed by: Dominic Brigstocke
Production: Silver River

A comedy set in a brothel run by a chain-smoking granny who's seen it all. Unhappily-married Michael's middle-class existence slowly unravels when he falls for the adorable prostitute Hayley. To maintain his double life Michael requires cunning and subterfuge, neither of which he is blessed with.

Michael, a middle-aged henpecked husband nervously visits The Debonnaire and pays for half an hour with the very dim but pretty Hayley. He doesn't get any further than stripping down to his underpants, however is so happy to have found someone who seems to like him that he soon finds himself falling in love with Hayley and starts making regular visits to the brothel behind his wife's back so they can chat more.

The Debonnaire is run by Maureen, a no-nonsense 27 year old (well plus a few years). Also at the Debonnaire is 'maid' Naomi, the intimidating Yelena and Kate, a clever girl who's looking to subsidise her academic career. Rather awkwardly for Michael it turns out Barry, a builder he and his wife are employing to decorate their house, is one of the brothel's best customers.

BCG Review:

This sitcom started much better than we were initially expecting; we didn't think it'd be very good as they'd broken one of the golden rules of comedy writing by placing the characters in what is, in reality, a very depressing and unsavoury world. The creators seem to have cleverly pitched it just right though by choosing characters who don't appear to be trapped by their surroundings but actually somewhat happy.

Some outlets (such as the Guardian) attacked the comedy for not showing the downsides of working in the sex industry, but we think they seem to have missed the point. It's not meant to be about that. If you boil away the adult situation this comedy is essentially a simple but endearing "will they, won't they?" tale featuring a man leading an un-fulfilled and un-happy life (which always makes for a good character in a British sitcom).

The brothel surroundings were merely there we suspect to allow the writers to include a few risqué jokes and add additional embarrassment for Michael.

Considering the general flack, relatively low audience figures the show got, and the lack of an obvious plot for a second season it's perhaps not surprising to hear that Respectable won't be back for a second run. Shame.

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