Victor Meldrew

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Phil Reynolds
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Victor Meldrew

Post by Phil Reynolds » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:19 pm

I'm currently engaged on proofreading & typesetting a novel by David Renwick based on his original scripts for One Foot In The Grave. I thought the membership of this community (featuring as it does quite a large number of Victor Meldrews among its number, self included) might appreciate the following excerpt:

If there was one thing guaranteed to drive Victor Meldrew up the wall – and on certain days ninety-eight per cent of the universe appeared to fall into this category – it was the infuriating expression “back to back”.

More specifically, it was the infuriating way people insisted on using the expression “back to back” when they really meant “end to end” or, more usually, “next to one another”. He had often seen television programmes referred to in this way: “the two shows will be transmitted on Sunday night back to back” – presumably implying the second of the two would begin with its closing credits and then run in reverse till it came to the opening titles.

Similarly, the estate agent who had sold him his new house had described the road as “a delightfully well-maintained row of properties running back to back” when – so far as Victor could see – they did nothing of the kind. Could he gaze out of his rear bedroom window directly into that of his next-door neighbour? Mercifully, he could not. Thus during an angry exchange in the agent’s office one day he had suddenly produced a large reputable dictionary and suggested the primped youth behind the desk look the bloody thing up and learn how to speak English for a change. And blow me down if he didn’t find the book gave “consecutive” as one of the definitions! More horrific still, it declared “alright” to be an “alternative spelling of all right”!

Which only goes to demonstrate that our language is in a state of constant flux and evolves to fit popular usage. However, since this naturally impressed Victor not one jot his reaction was to storm out through the double doors and ceremonially lob the dictionary in the canal, before recalling that he’d borrowed it the day before from a mobile library.

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Re: Victor Meldrew

Post by Fiona T » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:56 pm

Excellent stuff.

My mother always insisted "all right" was two words.

I recall her arguing with my class teacher who had marked my two word version incorrect in a spelling test.

(As a aside I also recall her arguing with the RE teacher who had given me a very low mark for one of the exam questions asking about Samson's wife - the overriding memory from that encounter was my mother loudly proclaiming that "Delilah was a whore!")
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Marc Meakin
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Re: Victor Meldrew

Post by Marc Meakin » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:36 pm

My favourite episode was the one with the am dram performance where everything is going wrong and Victor thinks it part of the performance and was roaring with laughter
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Re: Victor Meldrew

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:05 pm

I always think it makes more sense as one word - "alright". It's not just about how it's written - people don't pronounce it as the two separate words "all right". If someone had managed to go their whole life without hearing "all right"/"alright" and then had to read out loud a sentence that had "all right" in it, they wouldn't say it like a normal person would.

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Re: Victor Meldrew

Post by Marc Meakin » Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:47 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:05 pm
I always think it makes more sense as one word - "alright". It's not just about how it's written - people don't pronounce it as the two separate words "all right". If someone had managed to go their whole life without hearing "all right"/"alright" and then had to read out loud a sentence that had "all right" in it, they wouldn't say it like a normal person would.
Alright then
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Callum Todd
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Re: Victor Meldrew

Post by Callum Todd » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:16 am

Alright is fine but it's silly to say all right is wrong. Al'right should be okay too really.
Mark Deeks wrote:Callum Todd looks like a young Ted Bundy.

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Re: Victor Meldrew

Post by Fiona T » Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:17 am

From lexico

https://www.lexico.com/definition/all_right

Usage
There is no logical reason for insisting that all right should be written as two words rather than as alright, when other single-word forms such as altogether have long been accepted. Nevertheless, alright is still regarded as being unacceptable in formal writing
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Re: Victor Meldrew

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:18 pm

Callum Todd wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:16 am
Alright is fine but it's silly to say all right is wrong. Al'right should be okay too really.
I have a problem with "okay" actually.

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Re: Victor Meldrew

Post by Ian Volante » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:22 pm

It's the most recent thing I binge-watched. I was genuinely surprised at the ending, especially that I'd somehow missed hearing about it in the intervening decade and a half.
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Phil Reynolds
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Re: Victor Meldrew

Post by Phil Reynolds » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:10 pm

Ian Volante wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:22 pm
It's the most recent thing I binge-watched. I was genuinely surprised at the ending, especially that I'd somehow missed hearing about it in the intervening decade and a half.
The last series ended in 2000.

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Re: Victor Meldrew

Post by Marc Meakin » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:52 pm

Phil Reynolds wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:10 pm
Ian Volante wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:22 pm
It's the most recent thing I binge-watched. I was genuinely surprised at the ending, especially that I'd somehow missed hearing about it in the intervening decade and a half.
The last series ended in 2000.
Wow I feel old
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Re: Victor Meldrew

Post by Ian Volante » Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:10 am

Phil Reynolds wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:10 pm
Ian Volante wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:22 pm
It's the most recent thing I binge-watched. I was genuinely surprised at the ending, especially that I'd somehow missed hearing about it in the intervening decade and a half.
The last series ended in 2000.
Aye, makes sense.
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Marc Meakin
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Re: Victor Meldrew

Post by Marc Meakin » Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:22 pm

I'm not a great advocate of rebooting films and TV shows for the hell of it but I think we need Victor Meldrew the covid years.
I'm not sure if they should totally ret-con Victor or make a long lost son/ nephew coincidentally called Victor to play the part.
I would love someone like Martin Clunes to play the role to give him the chance to make up for the awful Reggie Perrin reboot.

Maybe Phil might get to ask Mr Renwick if he is interested in the idea of rebooting , in my opinion , the funniest sitcom of the nineties
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Phil Reynolds
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Re: Victor Meldrew

Post by Phil Reynolds » Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:08 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:22 pm
I'm not sure if they should totally ret-con Victor or make a long lost son/ nephew coincidentally called Victor to play the part.
Victor did have a long-lost son, in a way, but his name was Stuart. At one day old he was stolen from the maternity hospital by an emotionally disturbed young woman. The police tracked her down and the baby was recovered, but Victor and Margaret's joy was short-lived as he died a week later of a hole in the heart. Ever since Victor has had a recurring dream that the young woman had a poorly infant of her own and the wrong baby was returned to them, and somewhere his grown-up son is still alive. These dreams are now the only happiness Victor truly knows, and the disillusionment he feels on waking from them is what fuels his deeply miserable view of the real world.

It's possibly the darkest backstory to a character in a TV sitcom ever.

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