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Ever Decreasing Circles

Started by non capisco, July 13, 2022, 10:32:56 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Glebe

Quote from: Uncle TechTip on July 15, 2022, 03:42:47 PMIt might even be the same costume from BBC Props Dept. I'm tempted to do a frame by frame comparison.

Go for it UTT!


Quote from: pigamus on July 14, 2022, 11:40:19 AMThink I follow Peter Egan on Twitter, big animal rights fella now
I've met him a number of times through his work with animal welfare charities and am pleased to report that he's an absolutely lovely fella, incredibly passionate about animals, and even at 75 years old is still quite the dish when you meet him in person.

beanheadmcginty

Whenever I watch Flash Gordon I'm always shocked by the appearance of Howard as a bloke who has been shagging Princess Aura.

monkfromhavana

Quote from: beanheadmcginty on July 16, 2022, 11:38:14 AMWhenever I watch Flash Gordon I'm always shocked by the appearance of Howard as a bloke who has been shagging Princess Aura.

I know, I have a secret thing for Hilda so I really can't understand why he'd choose Ming's daughter over her.

neveragain

Quote from: beanheadmcginty on July 16, 2022, 11:38:14 AMWhenever I watch Flash Gordon I'm always shocked by the appearance of Howard as a bloke who has been shagging Princess Aura.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Stanley Lebor in other things and learn he could act! Without doing a Howard voice I mean. Not criticising his performance in EDC at all but, like Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty's stiltedness in Airplane!, it's much more enjoyable when you realise it's a performance and the actors have a greater range.

Mobbd

Inspired by this thread, I just watched the first episode.

I feel a bit depressed now. I sometimes get that with 70s sitcoms for some reason.

I do remember my mum watching it in the 80s (a repeat even then presumably) and it feeling quite melancholy even at the time.

I'll stick with it though. I like the takes on it here.

beanheadmcginty

Quote from: Mobbd on July 18, 2022, 04:03:55 PMInspired by this thread, I just watched the first episode.

I feel a bit depressed now. I sometimes get that with 70s sitcoms for some reason.

I do remember my mum watching it in the 80s (a repeat even then presumably) and it feeling quite melancholy even at the time.

I'll stick with it though. I like the takes on it here.

It started in 1984

Ignatius_S

Thanks non capisco for starting the thread - great to read what others think!


Quote from: neveragain on July 14, 2022, 03:49:46 PMBe interested to hear what this is please, Ig.

I'll spoiler this - as I say, it was rejected but something I feel it's best considering after watching the whole thing but know not everyone appreciates spoiler tags.

Spoiler alert
Ann leaving Martin for Paul - and it's been mentioned that's how the first series was going to end. From various accounts, it was only during filming of that series, people realised this would be a mistake and they didn't make the episode.

It has been mooted that ditching the episode is the reason why the first series has only five episodes, but am doubtful about that. I've read that industrial action around that time is the reason, which I think is a more credible explanation. Also, in such a situation, a rewrite would be usually the course of action.

It's interesting to think how the show would have progressed, but feel it works so much better as it is. During my last watch of the show, I was very much looking through the lens of Ann and the choices she makes, make her such a great character and the relationship between her, Martin and Paul fascinating.
[close]

neveragain

Thanks, that's really interesting. And they made the right decision.

non capisco

Quote from: Ignatius_S on July 18, 2022, 06:45:40 PMThanks non capisco for starting the thread - great to read what others think!

No worries! Ordered the complete series DVD and decided to cane the lot and then come back to the thread. Hell's bells, one repeat a week isn't proving enough to sate my appetite for this show!

Virgo76

Quote from: pigamus on July 13, 2022, 11:49:01 PMMy theory is it's the title. If it had a more memorable title it wouldn't be as unjustly forgotten as it is - it was hugely popular and well loved in its day.
The title has nothing whatsoever to do with anything on the programme. Is that correct? They picked it because they couldn't think of anything else.
Can anyone think of a better title for it?
I can only think of 'House Martin'. Which is shit.

greencalx

If I recall one of the working titles was "He means well".

monkfromhavana

I linked it to the bit in "The Wicker Man" where a beetle is tethered to a nail and is walking in circles round it, getting tighter and tighter, ever decreasing circles.

Essentially, Martin getting more and more wound up.

Mobbd

Quote from: monkfromhavana on July 19, 2022, 07:51:37 AMI linked it to the bit in "The Wicker Man" where a beetle is tethered to a nail and is walking in circles round it, getting tighter and tighter, ever decreasing circles.

Essentially, Martin getting more and more wound up.

Yes, that's essentially it I'd say. He's just getting more and more uptight and life is somehow paying off less and less.

Excellent name for a sitcom. Really intriguing. Avoids the usual "Robin's Nest"-type title formats.

Des Wigwam

Just started this. It's from episode 3+ on this on iPlayer now. Got a bit freaked out hearing and seeing the opening titles. Took me back to having done fuck all homework for tomorrow but having had mini-chicken kievs for tea so that balanced it out.

Christ the sets are dreadful.

It's Ok - it's obvs not It's Always Sunny or The Good Place or Phoneshop for laughs just because of its age and has that stage-play feel to it but am enjoying it and can see the quality in the writing.

Quick plaudit for Richard Brier's acting chops having stumbled across Paul's topless sunbathing house guest.

Onto my first encounter of Howard and Hilda now since, what, 1988? Much better than I remember.

MojoJojo

Quote from: Virgo76 on July 19, 2022, 05:57:10 AMThe title has nothing whatsoever to do with anything on the programme. Is that correct? They picked it because they couldn't think of anything else.
Can anyone think of a better title for it?
I can only think of 'House Martin'. Which is shit.

Eh, I thought it referred to how Ann (and arguably Martin) were trapped in a shrinking life, opportunities and horizons closing in.

I find the absence of children. In this and the good life a bit weird. Like some horrible disaster has killed everyone under 15, and everyone goes out of their way to never mention it.

Endicott

Someone already mentioned the Rule of Three podcast about this, and they touch on the absence of children. I can't remember exactly, it's something along the lines that children would completely change the dynamic, into a sit-com that Esmonde and Larbey had no interest in writing. Never bothered me, childless freak that I am.

Ignatius_S

Quote from: monkfromhavana on July 19, 2022, 07:51:37 AMI linked it to the bit in "The Wicker Man" where a beetle is tethered to a nail and is walking in circles round it, getting tighter and tighter, ever decreasing circles.

Essentially, Martin getting more and more wound up.

I think that's a brilliant comparison - beautifully fitting.

Glebe

Saw an article or something before suggesting that the classical piece used as the theme tune - 'Shostakovich's Prelude No. 15 from his Twenty-four Preludes, Op. 34, played by Ronnie Lane', according to Wiki (yes, Small Faces drummer Ronnie Lane, also responsible for numerous classic ad jingles) - was a good fit as it paralleled Martin's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in it's  insistant, jarring style. To see that as a feature of a main character in a sitcom seems particularly unusual for a time when the condition was not as well understood generally.

Virgo76

Quote from: MojoJojo on July 19, 2022, 04:26:16 PMEh, I thought it referred to how Ann (and arguably Martin) were trapped in a shrinking life, opportunities and horizons closing in.

I find the absence of children. In this and the good life a bit weird. Like some horrible disaster has killed everyone under 15, and everyone goes out of their way to never mention it.

According to Wikipedia, the title was adopted as a result of a meeting to brainstorm a name for the series which ended when someone said "we're just going round in ever decreasing circles."
Shrinking lives? Diminishing opportunities? That's a good theory. Is it any more true of these characters than any others though? At least Ann still had time to run off with Paul.
I've just noticed Howard's full name was Howard Hughes. Presumably, this was deliberate?
The 'no children' thing is a bit like the 'no parents' thing you get in Roald Dahl books sometimes. They just get in the way!

Glebe

Quote from: Virgo76 on July 19, 2022, 08:14:44 PMI've just noticed Howard's full name was Howard Hughes. Presumably, this was deliberate?

Has to have been surely. He's the one that should have had the OCD!

jamiefairlie

Quote from: Glebe on July 19, 2022, 07:40:37 PMSaw an article or something before suggesting that the classical piece used as the theme tune - 'Shostakovich's Prelude No. 15 from his Twenty-four Preludes, Op. 34, played by Ronnie Lane', according to Wiki (yes, Small Faces drummer Ronnie Lane, also responsible for numerous classic ad jingles) - was a good fit as it paralleled Martin's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in it's  insistant, jarring style. To see that as a feature of a main character in a sitcom seems particularly unusual for a time when the condition was not as well understood generally.

Bass player, not drummer

jamiefairlie

The title fits I think. It's that quote about English people living lives of quiet desperation isn't it? Your options getting fewer and fewer as each year passes.

Glebe

Quote from: jamiefairlie on July 19, 2022, 08:52:06 PMBass player, not drummer

Oh right, thought he was the drummer, duh!

greencalx

Quote from: Virgo76 on July 19, 2022, 08:14:44 PMI've just noticed Howard's full name was Howard Hughes. Presumably, this was deliberate?

Yes, it's referenced in an episode somewhere. "Not the Howard Hughes, obviously."

Ignatius_S

Quote from: Glebe on July 19, 2022, 08:34:25 PMHas to have been surely. He's the one that should have had the OCD!

Another character is called Tommy Cooper; the first name of Mrs Ripper's husband is revealed to be Jack; an estate agent is called Marshall & Renwick.

There's a lot of playfulness with names in the show.

Ignatius_S

Quote from: jamiefairlie on July 19, 2022, 08:54:13 PMThe title fits I think. It's that quote about English people living lives of quiet desperation isn't it? Your options getting fewer and fewer as each year passes.

To go round in ever decreasing circles means doing the same thing repeatedly without achieving anything; I've heard it applied to performing lots of activity and being busy but achieving very little. Both applies to Martin - and I think Ann, at least to begin with, as she knows she is in a rut.

Also, at the beginning of the show, Martin compares the appearance of Paul to the appearance of a new boy, when he was young, which disrupted the social group he was part of and losing his role of leader. I think this could reflect the title - since then, he's expended so much time and energy into leading his local community (at least to his mind) but feels that's going to come to naught because of Paul.

Glebe

Quote from: Ignatius_S on July 19, 2022, 09:08:45 PMAnother character is called Tommy Cooper; the first name of Mrs Ripper's husband is revealed to be Jack; an estate agent is called Marshall & Renwick.

Haha, wow!

There's an episode where Martin describes Les Dawson as "alternative comedy"!

Quote from: Ignatius_S on July 18, 2022, 06:45:40 PMThanks non capisco for starting the thread - great to read what others think!


I'll spoiler this - as I say, it was rejected but something I feel it's best considering after watching the whole thing but know not everyone appreciates spoiler tags.

Spoiler alert
Ann leaving Martin for Paul - and it's been mentioned that's how the first series was going to end. From various accounts, it was only during filming of that series, people realised this would be a mistake and they didn't make the episode.

It has been mooted that ditching the episode is the reason why the first series has only five episodes, but am doubtful about that. I've read that industrial action around that time is the reason, which I think is a more credible explanation. Also, in such a situation, a rewrite would be usually the course of action.

It's interesting to think how the show would have progressed, but feel it works so much better as it is. During my last watch of the show, I was very much looking through the lens of Ann and the choices she makes, make her such a great character and the relationship between her, Martin and Paul fascinating.
[close]


Glad to hear that some CaBBers love Ever Decreasing Circles as much as I do.  If anyone's interested in the rejected plot idea mentioned in the spoiler above, this blog post gives it very thorough consideration. http://foreverdecreasingcircles.blogspot.com/2015/06/am-i-imagining-that.html

Quote from: Ignatius_S on July 19, 2022, 09:21:59 PMTo go round in ever decreasing circles means doing the same thing repeatedly without achieving anything; I've heard it applied to performing lots of activity and being busy but achieving very little. Both applies to Martin - and I think Ann, at least to begin with, as she knows she is in a rut.


I always thought it was a good title?  It seems that everybody interprets it in their own way.  My interpretation was that Martin was going through life with his little world getting smaller and smaller, and being bothered by increasingly trivial things.