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The Life Of Riley. Any Good?

Life of Riley (2008) poster

Written by : published Friday 27th May 2011

The Life Of Riley. Any Good? main image

Watch Life Of Riley here.



The Life of Riley. Well where can I begin? Well it’s on at 8:30 on a Wednesday on BBC one and well; it’s a typical middle class BBC comedy.


As a nation we seem to be lacking huge sitcom television. We seem to be in a slight rut. Where have programmes such as One Foot In The Grave and Only Fools And Horses gone? These were epic in their day. They were an event when each episode was on, the whole family would sit around and then talk about it afterwards. But with The Life of Riley it’s just me sat in the lounge with a brew (that’s a cup of tea if your not fluent in Yorkshire) chuckling at the odd hint of humour.


The BBC seems to have a problem. It’s called the middle classes. Now we all know that they’re are class distinctions in the UK and anyone who denies it clearly hasn’t left the house in a while or turned on their TV. These comedies aren’t about connecting with the masses. For a start they are always filmed in mansions instead of houses. Now there are semi detached terrace houses and then there are these. The insides are so cavernous you could lose your own shadow.  And that’s my main problem; the BBC is just pandering to these ideals of middle class suburbia.


When have you last seen a 12-year-old boy with a cleaning obsession? Who collects dusters and cleans? When have you seen a 12-year-old boy who sorts out a middle aged mans finances for him? And when did you last see a 12 year old sell a house without his parents knowing and then when they find out the usual canned laughter bursts out of the TV when nothing humorous was ever said?


A Life Of Riley is an almost identical mirror image of After You’ve Gone with slight tweaks. The same cavernous middles class empire of a home, the same middle class ideals presented in roughly the same viewing slot. That saw Nicholas Lyndhurst and Celia Imrie as the main characters. The Life Of Riley has stars such as Caroline Quentin and Neil Dudgeon. So its not like they are low on talent.


Now I’m not saying I’m against these programmes. I usually quite enjoy them but that’s the problem. After the 30 minutes is up I don’t remember anything. I’m not left with a lasting impression of anything or anyone. When I watch Only Fools and Horses I’m left with an impression even if I wasn’t born for half of them.


I suppose we are just waiting for another writer with similar vigor and passion as John Sullivan. Until then we will be stuck with these middle of the road “sit coms.”


This review is dedicated to John Sullivan OBE a true British legend. 


Watch Life Of Riley here.

Image sourced from 38Minutes.Ning.com

About the author George Worth

George Worth

George Worth is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at The University of Huddersfield. TV enthusiast. Part time reviewer/ writer.  If you want to get in touch then follow George on Twitter: GeorgeWorth1

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