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One Foot in the Grave is a BBC television sitcom series written by David Renwick. The show ran for six series, including seven Christmas specials, two Comic Relief specials, over an eleven-year period, from early 1990 to late 2000. The latter Comic Relief special was shown after the series officially ended in spring 2001.
The series features the exploits of Victor Meldrew, played by Richard Wilson, and his long-suffering wife, Margaret, played by Annette Crosbie. The programmes invariably deal with Meldrew’s battle against the problems he creates for himself. Living in a typical household in an unnamed English suburb, Victor takes involuntary early retirement. His various efforts to keep himself busy, while encountering various misfortunes and misunderstandings are the themes of the sitcom. The series was largely filmed on location in Walkford, near New Milton in Hampshire, although several clues show that the series may have been set in Hampshire – possibly Winchester. Despite its traditional production, the series supplants its domestic sitcom setting with elements of black humour and surrealism.
The series was occasionally the subject of controversy for some of its darker story elements, but was nevertheless the recipient of a number of awards, including the 1992 BAFTA for Best Comedy. In 2004, the series came tenth in a 2004 BBC poll to find “Britain’s Best Sitcom”. The programme also came 80th in the British Film Institute’s 100 Greatest British Television Programmes. The series, originally shown on BBC One, is now available on DVD and is regularly repeated in the United Kingdom on Gold. Seven episodes were remade for BBC Radio 2 and the series also inspired a novel.