I have to say I’m surprised and pleased to find myself in an apparent majority on Green Wing. But I have to cede a fair few points to Pete – Green Day is bold, different, experimental, uncompromising TV and to respond effectively I should give it a chance to grow on me. I have no intention of giving it that chance: within 15 minutes I’d realised this wasn’t for me, and that if I continued watching it I would end up very grumpy indeed. Even as it was I was muttering words like “godawful”, “infuriating” and “James Lavelle”.

Not being a big fan of squirm-coms, I would probably dislike Green Wing even without the camera trickery and the rotten music, but they are the most likely the thing you’ll latch onto first, whatever your opinion of the show. If you haven’t seen it, Pete sums it up well: the camera speeds or slows between scenes (or in mid scene) to the accompaniment of trip-hoppy mood music. It gives Green Wing a very distinctive atmosphere, unfortunatley for me at least that atmosphere is ‘deeply irritating’. The justification for it seems to be to keep the viewer on edge a bit, disrupt the cosy rhythms of sitcom expectation, but when the script and performances also seem to be aiming for this the whole effect is exhausting and unpleasant. (Trip-hop is actually the perfect music for Green Wing in that it was all about sacrificing momentum for atmosphere. Although viewed from another angle Green Wing is the sitcom equivalent of Kid A)

Pete’s assertions about the sitcom formula deserve a reply, though. The four-handed sitcom set-up is not the norm, merely a norm, one that has been pretty dominant in the 90s and 00s. But ensemble sitcoms are hardly new, just less fashionable lately – Are You Being Served?, Dad’s Army, Hi-De-Hi, and Allo Allo all had more than four main characters and packed their stories into half-hours (of varying entertainment value). And Green Wing feels like a remixed version of an ensemble sitcom in this style – at least as much as it feels like Jam or The Office. In that context it does feel slack and padded, and when the padding is as specifically annoying as Green Wing’s that’s hard to forgive.