I had many “favourite” TV shows when I was a kid, but right now i am just saying — and don’t tell any of my other favourite childhood TV shows — but Press Gang just might be at the top of the list.
And if we’re calling Press Gang my favourite TV show just amongst us friends, then this is perhaps my favourite episode. I’ve ripped it and uploaded it, just to show you all how fucking good it was. Just try and argue different. Just try.
And you will see Kenny Phillips, the impossibly-nice but luckless, and badgered assistant editor, with his bad hair, his bad clothes and his sensible shoes not quite visible (but you knew they were there) – coming home from the maelstrom of Junior Gazette newsroom, where he has just spent hours trying to smooth over all the damage the editor (Lynda Day) had created. All without any appreciation. And he comes home, slunks into his room and picks up a guitar and suddenly sings a song – a good song, a song the actor (Lee Ross) actually wrote.
At this point it is safe to say – I LOST MY SHIT.
So Press Gang was produced in the late 80s, early 90s and was written by Steven Moffat who has gone on to do other TV and movie wonders (like the current Doctor Who) but in my opinion he never really ripped shit up like he did during the Press Gang series.
EXPLAINING THE CHARACTERS
She’s the main character and straight away she’s almost entirely un-likable. She’s a megalomaniacal control-freak — a horrible bully, perhaps with serious ISSUES. But of course she was entirely likeable once you saw her “heart of gold” underneath – mostly exposed by her hopeless attraction to Spike (Dexter Fletcher). Lynda was played by Julia Sawala who some of you may know as “Saffie” from Absolutely Fabulous.
Played by Dexter Fletcher of “Lock, Stock and Two Barrels” fame – Spike is the crazy, wise-cracking tough guy at school. On the surface he’s one of those “random American characters” shoved into a show so it can be sold to foreign audiences. But he becomes more than that and his nationality is used quite effectively as a plot device. “Will he fall for Lynda, or will he go back to the States?”
I think I’ve already covered Kenny, but he’s not just a foil. In other episodes his character does have a few luckless affairs with women and he gets to lose it on more than a few occasions.
Sarah is a bit like Kenny, but I suspect a lesbian version. She does have “boy” problems in the early episodes, but then she evolves. Sarah is fucking smart, determined and one of the only ones that can stand up to Lynda – even though Lynda kinda wins in the end. Always. Poor Sez. She is also quite righteous and the perpetual “VOICE OF REASON”. By the way, I want to call my next band “Voice of Reason”. So I trust you guys not to steal that.
Colin was the entrepreneur. The schemer. He was an ultra-capitalist and had no (apparent) soul. He even had no interest in women, until something happened…and that was an amazing episode too.
And finally Fraz. He was the token “dumb” one. Comic relief. But of course we didn’t realise he was just silently wise and totally awesome in a different universe which future episodes proved. He was always of course so horribly sweet and seemingly oblivious to any bad stuff. Oh fraz.
IT’S JUST A KIDS SHOW – RIGHT?
I am not sure if there are any other kids shows that are comparable – but to me Press Gang treated kids like adults. Anyway – hopefully you will understand once you see this episode. And here it is, the youtube settings mean it is JUST FOR YOU! I hope you enjoy, and if enough of you say so, I’ll upload the second episode of this saga.