2point4 Children is a BBC Television sitcom that was created and written by Andrew Marshall. It follows the lives of the Porters, a seemingly average, working-class London family whose world is frequently turned upside-down by bad luck and bizarre occurrences.[2]

2point4 Children
Title card, used from Series 6–8.
Created byAndrew Marshall
Written byAndrew Marshall
Directed byRichard Boden
Theme music composerHoward Goodall[1]
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series8
No. of episodes56 (list of episodes)
ProducerRichard Boden
Camera setupVideo; Multiple camera
Running time30 minutes
Original networkBBC One
Original release3 September 1991 (1991-09-03) –
30 December 1999 (1999-12-30)

The show was originally broadcast on BBC One from 1991 to 1999, and ran for eight series, concluding on 30 December 1999 with the special episode "The Millennium Experience". The show is regularly repeated in the UK. In Australia showings are on UKTV. The name of the show comes from the stereotypical average size of a typical nuclear family in the UK at the time of the writing of the first series.[3]

The show regularly picked up audiences of up to 14 million throughout the 1990s, with an average of between 6 and 9 million.[4] The final episode was viewed by 9.03 million people.[5]

Lead actor Gary Olsen died in 2000, effectively ruling out a return of the show for any further series.[6]

Cast Edit

Main characters Edit

Supporting characters Edit

Plot summary Edit

The Porters are a working-class family who live in Chiswick, London who at first seem normal enough. Bill is the sensible, level-headed mother who does the cooking and housework whilst working for a bakery with her highly sexed best friend Rona. Ben is the father, who is often just as immature as the children. He runs a heating repair business with his moody and sarcastic assistant Christine.

Jenny is the typical teenage daughter, keen on boys, music and vegetarianism, and David is the mischievous younger brother, who enjoys horror films, aliens and annoying his older sister.

However, the Porters' world is frequently upended by bizarre occurrences and bad luck. Whether it is dealing with flatulent dogs, a frozen body in a freezer in the front room, or even stumbling across a warehouse filled with Shirley Bassey's cast-off ballgowns, anything seems possible in the Porters' world. Traditionally Christmas episodes would feature characters collectively performing a musical number.[7]

Episodes Edit

The show originally ran from 1991 to 1999. 56 episodes were made over eight series, including six Christmas specials in which the cast performed carols or original theme songs. Although the series was made over the course of eight years, the show's in-universe timeline appears to be much shorter, with Jenny Porter stated to be 14 in series one, yet only just starting university at age 18 in the final series.

Andrew Marshall wrote all of the episodes, except for three in series seven which were written by Paul Alexander, Simon Braithwaite and Paul Smith.

Reception Edit

2point4 Children was critically acclaimed.[8][9]

Home media Edit

BBC Enterprises released a video in 1993, comprising the first three episodes of the series, which are known as: Leader of the Pack, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go Shopping.

The first three series were released on Region 2 DVD by Eureka Video in 2005. A box set of the first three series was also made available in 2008, again through Eureka Video, with music changes within the episodes. Eureka Video stated that "sales were not good" and they released no further series. 2Entertain, part of BBC Worldwide, say they have tried many times to license the series for distribution by a third party but the high clearance costs for music and imagery used has been the main deterrent.

A Facebook campaign for a release of the whole series was started in 2009.

The series was added to Britbox on 16 December 2021[10] In March 2022, all 56 episodes were made available on the BBC iPlayer for one year.

Title Format Release date Features
2point4 children – Leader of the Pack VHS 26 February 1996

  • Includes Series 1: Episodes 1–3
  • BBFC rating: PG
2point4 children – The Complete Series One DVD 24 January 2005[11]
  • 6 episodes
  • 1 disc
  • 177 minutes
  • Dolby Digital AC3
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Special features:
    • Tribute to Gary Olsen
    • Stills Gallery
  • BBFC rating: PG
2point4 children – The Complete Series Two DVD 25 April 2005

  • 7 episodes
  • 1992 Christmas special
    (included as special feature)
  • 1 disc
  • 203 minutes
  • Dolby Digital AC3
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • BBFC rating: PG
2point4 children – The Complete Series Three DVD 22 August 2005

  • 6 episodes
  • 1993 Christmas special
    (included as special feature)
  • 1 disc
  • 206 minutes
  • Dolby Digital AC3
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • BBFC rating: PG
2point4 children – Series One to Three DVD 22 September 2008

  • 19 episodes
  • Special features:
    • Tribute to Gary Olsen
    • Stills Gallery
    • 1992 Christmas special
    • 1993 Christmas special
  • 3 discs
  • 586 minutes
  • Dolby Digital AC3
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • BBFC rating: PG

Remake Edit

In 1997 a remake of the show debuted in the Netherlands: Kees & Co starring Simone Kleinsma.[12] The remake ran for eight series between 1997 and 2006. The first five series were adapted from the original English-language scripts, whilst the last three series featured original storylines and characters. In 2018 it was announced that the remake would return for a ninth series with Kleinsma reprising her role.[13]

References Edit

  1. ^ "Howard Goodall – big bangs for television". mfiles. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  2. ^ "BBC - Comedy Guide - 2 Point 4 Children". 5 December 2004. Archived from the original on 5 December 2004.
  3. ^ "Whatever happened to 2 Point 4 Children". Office of National Statistics.
  4. ^ Bettridge, Daniel (21 May 2012). "Six to watch: TV's best parents". The Guardian.
  5. ^ "Top 30 Programmes". BARB. 9 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  6. ^ "BBC News | ENTERTAINMENT | Sitcom star Olsen dies".
  7. ^ Leyfield, James (11 August 2016). "The Tragic Story Behind 2Point4 Children – One Of Britain's Most Underrated Sitcoms". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Watch this". The Guardian. 16 November 1999.
  9. ^ "REVIEW / Ordinary situations make for ordinary comedy". The Independent. 5 September 1994.
  10. ^ "BritBox December 2021 Highlights".
  11. ^ "2 Point 4 Children - The Complete Series One". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  12. ^ "Kees & Co – Beeld en Geluid wiki" (in Dutch). Beeldengeluidwiki.nl. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  13. ^ "Komedieserie Kees & Co terug op de buis". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). 17 September 2018. Retrieved 17 September 2018.

External links Edit