1 9 8 8 – 1 9 9 0 (UK)
12 x 30 minute episodes
Paul Smith and Terry Kyan, part of the Alas Smith And Jones writing team, created this series as a vehicle for Mel Smith.
He was cast as Colin Watkins, a British Rail complaints officer with ambitions to become a professional writer. Colin’s chosen literary field was horror, and he dreamed of becoming the next Stephen King.
His smart and together girlfriend Jenny tried to humour him in his quest, as did his sympathetic friend Des, but bad luck seemed to conspire to ensure that Colin never quite grabbed his slice of fame.
However, unusually for a sitcom with aspirant dreams at its core, Colin did make some headway, having a short story published and being commissioned to write a film treatment.
Colin’s Sandwich was a wordy, thoughtful piece, with Smith – very much at the centre – often delivering rambling monologues as Colin talked to himself while trying to write.
Watkins’ overall glumness, all-thumbs clumsiness and shortage of social skills was reminiscent of Tony Hancock’s stage persona.
Indeed, Smith likened the writing to Galton and Simpson’s work for Hancock’s Half-Hour – A statement which worked against the series, tempting critics to compare it with that 1950s TV classic, against which very few shows could possibly look good.
Nevertheless, Colin’s Sandwich developed well enough and extended to a second set of episodes, of equal quality.