Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Case Study No. 1383: Alison Little

Chance in a Million: Complete Collection Trailer
www.acorn online.com When Tom meets Alison Little (Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn, Vera, Pride & Prejudice, Secrets & Lies), a sheltered, earnest librarian, the two embark on an unconventional courtship. Tom's peculiar speech patterns and bumbling comportment sweetly complement Alison's cheery aloofness. Despite the cosmic forces seeking to drive them apart—including law enforcement, rude waiters, unrequited loves, petty criminals, and Alison's overbearing parents—Tom and Alison nobly weather ludicrous circumstances as they blunder into life together and emerge all the more lovable for it. The complete collection includes all three seasons of this award-winning comedy seen on public television.
Tags: Chance in a Million Brenda Blethyn Trailer Pride & Prejudice
Added: 1 year ago
From: AcornMediaUS
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From amazon.co.uk:

Made in the 80s and one of Channel 4's earliest great shows, this sitcom stands up well today. Its premise is simple and yet brilliant. Tom Chance is an eccentric and well-meaning man with an affliction that odd things happen to him. If there's a one in a million chance of something happening, it'll happen to him... every time. By chance, of course, while on a blind date he meets timid and painfully shy librarian Allison. She falls for him despite him being a walking disaster. But he's oblivious to her affection and so the path of true love never runs smooth.

The series is often surreal without being silly, and it cleverly turns on its head the way that sitcoms often rely on bizarre co-incidences by going one step further and basing the whole story around bizarre happenings. The best thing about the show is the leads. Simon Callow's Chance is a classic comedy character and he delivers an unusual and appealing performance, being upbeat no matter how bad things get and always being ready to drink a pint in one then gasp out his next line. Brenda Blethyn has never been better, her odd vocal delivery perfectly defining Allison's character.

The show ran for three series, that being the perfect length of time that avoids the format running out of steam, but the first two series were the best. If you haven't seen this before, it's worth taking the risk and buying it. There's only a one in a million chance you won't like it.


From eyeforfilm.co.uk:

These days Brenda Blethyn is a world-renowned Oscar-winning actress who is surely on the fast-track to that shiniest of all British accolades - National Treasure. Way back in 1984, she and Simon Callow were better known for their theatre work - until they took on the central roles in this sitcom, which became cult viewing in the early days of Channel 4.

In fact, it is held in such affection by so many that it comes as a surprise that it is only now making its way onto DVD. Callow plays the titular character Tom Chance - a man for whom coincidence is a way of life. "Happens to me all the time!" he declares to Alison Little (Blethyn) when they first meet - an encounter which, in the spirit which informs the entire series, is based on mistaken identity.

Chance is cheerful, outgoing and inately funny, with his ability to drink a pint at a single gulp mid-sentence and truncated speech pattern. Alison is equally well-drawn - a pensive librarian who, although being "bloody terrified" of just about everything sees herself as something of a racy tearaway ("It's not all helping children find the Milly Molly Mandy shelf," she tells Tom conspiratorially).

Watching the first series now - with its farcical set ups and surreal humour - it's fair to say that some aspects of it have dated a little. There is quite a lot of comedy that relies on women finding themselves unexpectedly scantily clad, for example, but it is played for surreal laughs rather than the bawdiness you might expect. Also, the supporting cast is patchy. On the plus side, it's a treat to watch the inimitable sitcom staple Deddie Davis as Alison's mum and there's a rather nice turn from Jeremy "son of Donald" Sinden, but many of the other bit part actors leave much to be desired.

It scarcely matters, though, because this is the Tom and Alison show, through and through. Andrew Norriss and Richard Fegen (who would go on to create similarly surreal sitcom,The Brittas Empire) give their characters a real sense of warmth and Callow and Blethyn bring some lovely nuance to the script, showing great comic timing while also conveying that most difficult of emotional transitions - falling in love.

Funny and surprisingly touching, this is a trip down memory lane that is well worth taking.

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