Forgotten Liverpool TV show was ‘one of worst of all time’

Forgotten Liverpool TV show was ‘one of worst of all time’ BLOG Monday 18th April 2022


Forgotten Liverpool TV show with ‘unbelievable’ cast was ‘one of worst of all time’

 A forgotten Liverpool sitcom from the early noughties has been found to be one of the worst of all time according to a study carried out by comedy researchers.

Despite starring big names including Paul O’Grady and Sheridan Smith, the BBC sitcom Eyes Down which was set in a Liverpool bingo hall was considered by researchers to have been a flop, but it still appears to have had its fans. Eyes Down first aired in 2003 and was cancelled just a year later.

The official press release billed the show to be about the lives, loves, hopes and disappointments of the staff and customers of at The Rio, a Liverpool bingo palace. Paul O’Grady played Ray, The Rio’s bingo caller and manager.

Paul O’Grady wasn’t the only one in the show who has gone on to bigger and better things. Sheridan Smith played Sandy, described as “young, pregnant and not too bright,” who worked on the floor of the bingo hall.

At the time the show came out, Smith was already starring in another, much more acclaimed BBC sitcom, Two Packets Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps. Eyes Down also starred Liverpool actor Neil Fitzmaurice as ladies man, Bobby. Fortunately Neil was also making a name for himself as Ray Von, the club DJ in Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights around the same time.

Another actress who went on to find legendary sitcom success was Margaret John who played Kay in the show. Margaret John found fame in Gavin And Stacey as elderly man-eater Doris O’Neil who was always hooking up with younger men and regarded as one of the show’s best loved characters. Sadly the actress died in 2011 with her final role playing Old Nan in Game Of Thrones airing after her death.

Fans of Eyes Down will also remember Tony Maudsley playing the character of Martin. The actor is better known for his role of hairdresser Kenneth Du Beke in ITV hit sitcom Benidorm.

Despite the show’s wealth of comedy acting talent the show was cancelled in 2004 following the second series. In 2005, a group of scientists led by Dr. Helen Pilcher was commissioned by the digital TV channel UKTV Gold to study 20 years of British sitcoms.

Through their research, the team came up with a formula for measuring the success or failure of sitcoms. Among the elements the formula assessed and scored were the show’s characters and social statuses, the wittiness of the script and the success of any plans contained in the plot.



There was a maximum score for shows in the research was 1,120.

The top British sitcoms in the past 20 years were revealed as

  1. Only Fools and Horses (which scored 696),
  2. The Office (678),
  3. Father Ted (564),
  4. Fawlty Towers (557
  5. Blackadder (374.5)

In contrast, the research also uncovered what it assessed to be the very worst sitcoms, including Eyes Down, which amassed a score of 96.

One review of the show on the IMDB website of Eyes Down gives a pretty cutting assessment, calling the show it a “cheesy British comedy” with “predictable jokes and tired acting,” adding: “If it didn’t have Paul O’Grady starring in it, it would be more of a family drama. The canned laughter seems to laugh before the gag is actually carried out.”

Despite being largely forgotten and consigned to history, the show does seem to have had its fans, scoring a more than respectable 7.5 out of 10 based on 84 reviews on the same IMDB website. So perhaps the research carried out by UKTV Gold doesn’t tell the whole story and there’s more to merit the show that makes it worth taking a second look.


Source & Writer: Lee Grimsditch. 



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A time for Father Ted…A time for Eyes Down.


©2022 Phil M Robinson