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Series / A Prince Among Men

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The other, other Chris Barrie sitcom.

A Prince Among Men was a Brit Com that ran for 2 series (1997-1998). It starred Chris Barrie as Gary Prince, a former footballer turned business manager who has a Small Name, Big Ego.

The supporting cast consists of his German wife Lisel (Francesca Hunt), his two secretaries Sonia Trent (Samantha Power) and Beverly Baker (Susie Blake), his right-hand man Dave Perry (Cliff Parisi), arrogant business manager Mark Fitzherbert (Tim Bentinck) and local publican Vince Hibbert (Bryan Pringle), who has a low opinion of Prince.


  • Acquired Error at the Printer: In "Whose Life Is It Anyway", Prince has ordered a company under him to release their clothing with his name on it. Unfortunately, he writes on a random sheet of paper on Sonia's desk and hands it off, leading to the company exactly printing it - namely by having a "Sonia Loves Kevin" sign (with bells and a heart on the design as well) on the front of them and Prince's name on the back. He's unwilling to admit his mistake however, and passes it off as a wedding present to Sonia.
  • Alliterative Name: Beverley Baker.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Beverly is implied to have romantic feelings for Mark, but never acts on them.
  • Authority Sounds Deep: This is referenced In-Universe in "All in the Game" when Gary is forced to makeover his image so that he can get a job as a football commentator and is told that if he lowered his voice, then he would have a better chance of having people respect him.
    Kirsty: Now let's talk about your voice.
    Gary Prince: I'm going off you, you know Kirst.
    Kirsty: When you get excited, you squeak.
    Gary Prince: (squeaky voice) I don't squeak!
    Kirsty: Our company work with Mrs. Thatcher, we lowered her voice by a full octave. A deeper voice says authority.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In "Walk Right Back", Gary is seen to be giving money to a pizza delivery guy, suggesting that he's going to order pizza to keep himself going through the walk. Instead, he outright takes the motorcycle the guy is using, and heads off with it.
  • Black Comedy Animal Cruelty: The first episode had a brief gag where Gary accidentally presses a button that causes his garage door to open - whilst his guard dog was tied up to it. Luckily, the dog survives and attacks Gary.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: The theme tune declares "he's a winner, he's a star, he's a prince, a prince among men" and "he's always right, 'cos he knows what's what, but he hasn't let it go to his head". However, since Gary Prince was an arrogant prat, this was ironic.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Kevin and Sonia break up for an episode due to disagreements over the type of music they wanted at their upcoming wedding. They make up by the end of the episode by deciding to mix the two together.
  • British Brevity: Had 12 episodes over a grand total of 2 series.
  • Car Fu: Near the beginning of "Walk Right Back", Gary suggests to a random elderly man and woman to spend their lives together, which they consider literally. Near the end of the episode, the old woman's husband tries to run over Gary in his van, fearing that he's taking his wife away from him.
  • Character Catchphrase: Gary's "Hey, I'm always right!"
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: "Walk Right Back" had Gary go on a 100-mile walk for charity. However, by the 50-mile point, he's exhausted, so he cheats his way through the second half by grabbing a bicycle and even paying for the motorcycle of a pizza delivery guy. Although he isn't caught for this, the plan does unravel for him when he almost gets run over and Vince manages to accidentally electrocute his heated tracksuit with his "magic sponge", leading to him finishing the walk whilst on a stretcher and leading his efforts to be All for Nothing.
  • Ditzy Secretary: Sonia really isn't the brightest person in the world. She's also one of Gary's two secretaries.
  • The Dog Bites Back: A literal example occurs in the first episode. Gary presses a button that lifts up the garage door whilst his guard dog is still attached to it, making it appear as if he had been hanged. Later on, the dog is shown to survive, first going after Sonia, before going after Gary Prince instead.
  • Ending by Ascending: The end credits of each episode depicts Gary Prince climbing up a ladder that spans the whole screen vertically.
  • Epic Fail: In one episode, Gary decides to type his own column (after his previous ghostwriter started to state controversial views) on his laptop. He somehow manages to produce only gibberish.
  • Epunymous Title: A reference to the idiom 'A Prince Among Men' starring a man called Gary Prince.
  • Family Disunion: "Family Matters" revolves around Gary's attempts to reunite with his mother. He ends up being hit by a woman who he thought was his mother but was actually another old woman, arrested, let out, and then rearrested by his mother, who thought he was sending her death threats.
  • Fictional Document: One of the plots of "Injury Time" revolves around Beverly and Mark managing to gain ownership of "The Rocket" for Prince, a failing comic book penned by aging artists. Its headline story was "Tommy Street and his Amazing Feet" before it was removed several years prior to the show.
  • Formerly Fit: Whilst Prince was apparently much more athletic in his youth (he was a footballer after all), in his middle age, he has somewhat let himself go, an opinion certainly noted by two women in "Walk Right Back". It's implied that part of the reason for his 100-mile walk is to show that he's still got it, which he definitely doesn't.
  • Gadgeteer's House: One of the show's sources of comedy comes from the range of devices that Gary has installed in his house going wrong in one way or another.
  • The Ghost: Sonia's fiance Kevin, who isn't seen in the series and who apparently suffers from a variety of conditions.
  • Ghostwriter: "Ghost Story" reveals that he has a column written by a man named Des that goes out under his name. This causes problems when Des starts putting forward radical views such as abolishing the royal family.
  • Jerkass: Gary, who constantly insults his colleagues and wife and makes decisions such as planning to demolish a church to replace it with a go-kart track.
  • It's All About Me: Gary is this in spades. In one episode, he mentions that his first memory was him stealing a prize from the nursery school teacher since he believed his picture (a self-portrait of himself) was the best.
  • Involuntary Charity Donation: Episode 2 ('Changing Revs') revolves around Gary intending to buy and demolish the local church and replace it with a go-kart track. However, the Church catches wind of this and cancels their sale of the Church to Prince. To add further punishment to him, they send away the go-karts he has obtained to Cameroon, thinking that they were genuine Charity donations.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: In "Who's That Girl?", Gary finds that, thanks to an old drunken one-night stand, he apparently has an 18-year-old daughter called Katie. He won't accept it however and demands a DNA test. The test reveals that she's actually Dave's previously unknown daughter, although Katie and Lisel never find out before the end of the series thanks to Gary passing off Dave as him when the time came to take the DNA samples.
  • The Makeover: In "All in the Game", Prince is considered to have too crass an image for a commentator role he's gunning for, so he's made to see an image consultant and get a makeover. The person in question suggests he does changes like a less casual style, a deeper voice, and the removal of his Liverpudlian accent, and they are changes he eventually accepts... until he's told that he wouldn't be able to do commentary on the England team as part of the job.
  • Nasal Trauma: Gary punches the nose of his competitor for the role of sports commentator in the lift in "All in the Game", removing him from the running. It's a fate that also befalls Gary in the same episode after he screws up his role.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Lisel and Prince - seeing as Lisel is quite intelligent whilst Prince is an egomaniac git who constantly belittles those around him, it's surprising to see her choose to stay with him.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Beverly mentions her husband Christopher's father being quite rude and considers sending him to the nursing home in "Walk Right Back".
  • Omniglot: Gary's wife Lisel's native language is German. However, she knows enough English to be able to work as a German-to-English translator, French, and several Japanese words.
  • Oop North: The show takes place in Sheffield and features Gary Prince, who has a Scouser accent (Said accent is very similar to the one Chris Barrie used for Lister note  in the Red Dwarf audiobooks).
  • Questioning Title?:
    • "Whose Life Is It Anyway?" and "Where Were They Then?" from Series 1.
    • "Who's That Girl?" from Series 2.
  • Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title:
  • Product Placement: Spoofed in "Walk Right Back" when Gary promotes a heated tracksuit he's going to use for his 100-mile walk.
    Prince: It is a breakthrough in modern technology - a simple but effective way of removing a hazard of muscle chill.
    Vince: Are you being paid to say that?
    Prince: Of course I am.
  • Rags to Riches: Part of Gary Prince's backstory is that he was raised on an estate in the North before his talent in football was discovered. In the series' present day, he is a successful ex-footballer and entrepreneur and lives fairly affluently. Not that this has humbled him in any way.
  • Road Apples: Prince accidentally steps on cow poop during his 100-mile walk in "Walk Right Back".
  • Running Gag: A couple:
    • The gimmicks that Gary has installed in his house going wrong.
    • Sonia going on about the various afflictions that her fiance Kevin suffers from.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Episode 3 gives us John the Murderer, who deliberately pushed his parents into the River Mersey. Understandably, Prince doesn't want to be anywhere near the guy.
  • Sexy Secretary: Sonia. It may be the only reason Gary keeps her around considering how unqualified she is.
  • Sick Episode: In "Injury Time", Gary does his back in whilst bending for a chocolate finger and struggles to cope with it.
  • Sneeze of Doom: In "Injury Time", Prince manages to do his back in simply by sneezing.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Gary definitely fits the bill - at one point, he argues that he could teach in philosophy even though he both has no experience and little interest in it.
  • The Unfavorite: According to "Family Matters", despite Prince's claims to the contrary, his parents not only preferred his brother Brian over him, but they were always trying to get him adopted.
    Vince Hibbert: Brian was your mum and dad's favorite, and no matter what you did to impress them, you just couldn't do it, and your picture was always in the paper because they were always trying to get you adopted.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Gary Prince is an egomaniacal jerk who constantly belittles his colleagues and is quite vile. He's also our protagonist.
  • Unique Pilot Title Sequence: The first episode of the series features an extended version of the theme tune that continues into the first scene of the episode, a trait that isn't seen in any of the other episodes.
  • Working-Class Hero: Gary certainly thinks himself one, being a previously poor person who gained fame as a footballer. Of course, he doesn't realize that he's a git.


Video Example(s):


The Garage Door

Prince is asked to lift the garage door up from his office, not realizing that there is a dog tied to the door...

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