Steve Coogan in 'Saxondale' series one

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Don't miss Steve Coogan's new character-led seven part TV series 'Saxondale'

  • How do you follow Alan Partridge? That’s been the problem facing Steve Coogan since his downtrodden TV/radio-show host character hit the big time over a decade ago. Flops such as Tony Ferrino have seen Coogan concentrating on a moderately successful film career of late, but this week he’s back on the small screen with a new character-led seven-part series, ‘Saxondale’, which he co-wrote with Neil MacLennan.

    Tommy Saxondale isn’t an easy character to get to grips with immediately: a greying, bearded, pot-bellied Stevenage suburbanite embracing middle age with world-weary resignation, he’s gradually rendered more colourful as his obsession with music (he’s an ex-roadie) and approach to his job (pest control) are revealed. One particularly amusing sequence sees him interviewing potential assistants based on their taste in music; a mention of Creamfields is met with disapproving silence.

    ‘It’s interesting that Steve’s chosen an older character,’ says Henry Normal of his fellow executive producer and star. Normal describes Alan Partridge as ‘grotesque’, and feels that ‘Saxondale’ is ‘a lot warmer – more adult, more mature’. Indeed, while Tommy Saxondale is often taken down a peg or two by fellow pest-control worker Vicky (the scene-stealing Morwenna Banks), he’s also allowed to show wit and warmth in scenes with his girlfriend Magz (Ruth Jones) and his new employee Raymond (Rasmus Hardiker). Insisting young Raymond stay in the guest room, Saxondale welcomes him with a batch of vintage porn – amusingly inappropriate, but endearingly kind. ‘He’s almost fatherly to Raymond,’ says Normal. ‘It reminds me of the relationship that Ronnie Barker had [with Richard Beckinsale] in “Porridge”.’

    Normal puts this warmth down to writer Coogan’s interest in American films and sitcoms. ‘We tend in this country to laugh at rather than with, but American characters are allowed to be witty themselves. With Saxondale, we can both enjoy his witticisms as well as laugh against him.’ There are enough good jokes in the first episode to see you through, but this isn’t Partridge-style hilarity – the malapropisms are less embarrassing, the fashion faux pas less disastrous. You get the feeling that Tommy Saxondale could be a bit of a grower, just as Jill was in ‘Nighty Night’, or even David Brent in ‘The Office’. Although if Brent and Saxondale went head-to-head for laughs, at this stage our money would be on Slough rather than Stevenage.

     

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14 comments
Mike L
Mike L

"Celebration" by Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) an Italian Prog band. The song is off the album "Photos of Ghosts".

Andy Cronin
Andy Cronin

for anyone else who it has been bothering, the song during the end credit was used in the NIKE advert from before the world cup 2010 in South Africa.

kifi
kifi

hocus pocus by focas IS THE ANSWER

Steve
Steve

Does anyone know what the music is during the end credits of Saxondale?

Paul McCluskey
Paul McCluskey

The answer in relation to the theme music has been puzzling me for some time - I had recollections of that theme being used for a Science/Educational programme in the mid to late 1970s, but I am so relieved to have found the answer at last!!

Dez
Dez

I seem to recall the title music was used for the BBC 2 schools show called "Encounter Europe" which I remember from the early 80s: sort of a "get to know your European neighbours" programme. Guess they used in Geography and Language classes!

Leigh Woolford
Leigh Woolford

The theme that starts the prog is 'House of the King' by Dutch band, Focus featuring Thijs van Leet on Flute but actually written by guitarist Jan Akkerman. The music used to end the prog is Hocus Pocus also by Focus. This one was written by van Leer and Akkerman and it stops before we get to hear the yodelling (honest). HOuse of the King was indeed used in a science programme many years ago. It was called 'Don't Ask Me' and featured people like Magnus Pike, Miriam Stoppard and David Bellamy. Focus are still touring to this day although their astonishing guitarist, Jan Akkerman, is no longer a member. He prefers to tour with his own band and comes to the UK almost every year. Snippts of other Focus music have also been used (Anonymous II) being the one that spings to mind.

daz wxm73
daz wxm73

a lot of the in between music is from the tull !!there is quite a bit fom the 70s album "songs from the wood" also here were a few snippets from the album heavy horses ! which were instantly regognisable !!!!!!!!!!!! unlike me spellin!!!!! what a fantastic first episode cant wait for the next one !!!

Hutcho
Hutcho

Answer for Tim Gow - i'm pretty sure that the Saxondale theme was also the theme for a current affairs prog of the 70's called "Ways and Means".

Russ
Russ

The TV show was Don't Ask Me - an early evening science show from Yorkshire featuring Magnus Pyke and Dr.Miriam Stoppard. Hope that helps.

Tim Gow
Tim Gow

'House of the King', the title music from Saxondale, by Focus (as Robbie said) - I remember the tune clearly from my early youth, and am sure it was also used as the theme tune for a quiz show, or possibly a science programme in the 1970s? A programme like How, only not...? Anyone remember?

Robbie
Robbie

Answer for Rich. No it's not Jethro Tull, it's a Dutch band called Focus. Main music is 'House of the King' I think but there's also been snippets of 'Hocus Pocus' in it. Had a big hit inthe seventies with a track called 'Sylvia' but actually still going today.

rich
rich

is the music for saxondale .from jethro tull ??

sandie smith
sandie smith

Just watched the first Saxondale, and wow, it does seem promising. The humour is exceptionally subtle and the character a real flight of imagination. He's the typical 'anything with guitars' musical biggot (Bon Jovi is as good as Iggy Pop as far as he's concerned), although I still wonder at his ponderings over Eno at the start (his opinions on electronic music are made clear). Anyway, seems promising, and as for David Brent, it stopped being funny a long time ago. Hope this turns out good in the end.