Saturday, 2 July 2016
432 The Sun Trap
First viewed : 25 April 1980
Here's another show that's fallen through the cracks and a reminder that most comic writers have something that didn't quite work on their c.v.
The Sun Trap was the next series written by David Nobbs after The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. It concerned a group of middle-aged British expats living on an un-named Mediterranean island who can find nothing better to do than meet up in the bar to grumble about the state of things back home and their unfulfilled lives.
That, I think, was the main problem, expecting the viewers to find any warmth towards these privileged whingers while unemployment crept up towards three million. There was no Everyman figure like Reggie with whom you could sympathise . The only similarity with Perrin was the use of catchphrases but here it seemed like the scripts were relying on them alone for laughs. Despite this over-reliance on catchphrases, the only one I can actually remember was appalling bore Robert ( Derek Waring ) regaling all and sundry with how he'd blown his weather forecasting debut - "forecast deep snowdrifts in the Irish Sea". Not exactly "I didn't get where I am today" is it ?"
There was a decent idea for a Play for Today in the situation but it didn't work as a comedy.
The show was universally panned and taken off air after just six episodes. Nobbs himself took the criticism on the chin and acknowledged he'd got it wrong. The Beeb of course didn't learn their lesson and a dozen years later brought about an even bigger debacle by deciding to base a nightly soap in a similar setting.