I suspect that fact that Catherine Tate narrated this show was a nod to the fact that the sidekicks of the title weren’t going to be taken terribly seriously…
There was no in-depth analysis of the socio-political implications of thespian hierarchy or potential PTSD from being the second-in-line, and it was therefore a pleasant – if not compulsive – watch.
One real treat came in the form of the late, great Ian Carmichael’s last ever TV interview during which he talked mellifluously about his role as Lord Peter Wimsey. What a loss and what a lovely man he was…
It was fun too to see Tony Robinson talking about Baldrick – of Blackadder of course – but he correctly negated the title and subject when he said, “I don’t know any actor or performer who’d admit to being a sidekick.”
This sentiment was echoed by Stephen Moore – who played android Marvin in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – who said, “My character was a star.”
Another pleasantry came when Andrew Sachs waxed lyrical about Manuel, the humble Spanish waiter who has provided Sachs with – I imagine – a recurring royalty payment that’s as good as a pension.
And he’s very knowledgable about Manuel; he knows all about his feelings and motivations, and he even took the time to explain that Manuel didn’t object to being beaten up by Basil at all. Rather, he took it as an acknowledgement that Basil loved him really.
There was also contribution from Debbie McGee of whom Caroline Aherne – in her Mrs Merton persona – famously and hilariously asked, “What first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?
When asked again for this show, Debbie replied, “It was an instant chemistry thing.” But, like the majority of the sidekicks featured, Debbie didn’t see herself as a shadow dweller either and remarked, “I can make Paul’s applause grow, or I can kill it.”
No doubt this was an entertaining watch, but it was telly fluff really; still, nothing wrong with a bit of fluff now and again!