About Men Behaving Badly

Men Behaving Badly is the story of Gary (Martin Clunes) and Tony (Neil Morrissey), two thoroughly modern lads – politically incorrect, unreconstructed, with a penchant for finding as many excuses to sit on the sofa and drink as much lager as they can.

Gary and Tony

If any series was made for Dave it’s Men Behaving Badly – the classic 1990s series that captured the mood of a generation and became a huge ratings hit.

Men Behaving Badly is the story of Gary (Martin Clunes) and Tony (Neil Morrissey), two thoroughly modern lads – politically incorrect, unreconstructed, with a penchant for finding as many excuses to sit on the sofa and drink as much lager as they can.

Giving them a kick up the Stellas from time to time is Gary’s no-nonsense girlfriend Dorothy (Caroline Quentin) and the woman upstairs who Tony can’t keep his eyes off, Deborah (Leslie Ash). Add everyone together and you get a saucy casserole of gender warfare and laddism that took the 90s by storm and – let's face it – is still just as representative of ordinary British blokes today.

Of course, given that we're 21st Century people with rapidly diminishing attention spans and memories, it's all too easy to forget that the very first series of Men Behaving Badly didn't have Neil Morrissey at all. In fact, it featured one Harry Enfield as Gary's original flatmate, Dermot. He was pretty similar to Tony, all told, even sharing his hopeless and Quixotic crush on the eternally unobtainable Deborah. It was in fact Harry Enfield who was the first actor to be cast, and we've got him to thank for getting Martin Clunes on board for all the frothy beer-battered shenanigans.

Enfield eventually decided the show wasn't for him, and his character was unceremoniously written out via the clever twist of a postcard arriving at the flat announcing that Dermot had found love abroad and wasn't coming home. And so dawned the era of Tony – although things went a bit pear-shaped early on when Gary mistakenly believed his new flatmate was actually gay, and that their bromance was in danger of becoming a romance.

Whether it's singing in the pub (on the floor, pretending to be in a boat) or creating their own sauna out of a shed, the lads have never failed to make the best of their failed and useless lives. Actually, we say failed and useless, but when you've got a pint in your hand and a comfy sofa supporting your backside, then frankly you're a king in your very own castle as far as we're concerned. And the dilemmas they face are worthy of Greek tragedies. Like the time Gary had to choose between having Tony or his girlfriend Dorothy as his flatmate. Ah, it's the old your mate versus your bird question (something Smithy from Gavin and Stacey has very definite ideas about), but luckily it was resolved without too much pain or suffering.

And don't go thinking that Gary and Tony are stuck in a kind of perpetual stunted adolescence, unable to accept the passing of years and onset of adulthood. Why, Gary was the first to realise that he was getting on a bit when he noticed the frankly terrifying similarity between his clothes and George's. George being the aged, cardigan-encumbered and awe-inspiringly boring man who works in Gary's office. So what's Gary's solution? Organise a rave, of course. (We were about to explain to younger readers what a rave is, but they're back now, aren't they? Raves? Or maybe not. Blimey we're as hopeless as Gary.)

Yes, Gary and Tony had some good times. And, while there's no telling where they are now (drunk in a pub most likely), we can at least re-live their glory years thanks to the magic of television. Lift a jar to the greatest flatmates who ever were – as long as there's booze to be downed and songs to be badly sung, they'll be in our hearts.

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