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Series / If You See God, Tell Him

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If You See God, Tell Him, is a Black Comedy written by the writing duo of Andrew Marshall (best known for 2point4 Children) and David Renwick (best known for Jonathan Creek and One Foot in the Grave). It was broadcast over November and December of 1993.

The show concerns a man named Godfrey Spry (Richard Briers), who thanks to a wheelbarrow full of rubble falling onto him, has a short attention span. He believes anything said on television, including adverts, which led to him taking a car out, crashing it, and becoming paralyzed as a result. The plot for the show however, kicks off when his wife Josie (Barbara Grant) is stoned to death on a holiday by a bunch of drunken soccer fans, leaving him having to call his nephew, Gordon (Adrian Edmondson), for help with day-to-day activities. Parody Advertisements are heavily used for this show, mainly to contrast their idealistic views with the harsh reality of Godfrey's life.

The show is noted for airing only once, with the exception of one episode which was rerun as part of "David Renwick" night on BBC4. Thankfully, the entire series is available on DVD.

This show contains the following tropes:

  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Godfrey becomes him after he is hit on the head, becoming incapable of focusing on anything for more than a minute.
  • Black Comedy: A fair amount of this show's humor comes from Godfrey cheerfully recounting downright horrific events, such as the time his wife was stoned to death by soccer fans.
  • British Brevity: Even for a British series, this is short, with only four episodes being ever made. The show makes up for this by having the episodes clock in at about 40 minutes each.
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: Godfrey believes all of the claims made by advertisements, no matter how ridiculous they are, which gets him into a lot of trouble.
  • Downer Ending: The show ends with Godfrey being arrested for attempted murder. Although Gordon tries to argue that it should be advertising companies that should be on trial it doesn't work, and he's sent to languish in a hospital for the criminally insane.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": The funeral for Godfrey's wife, which has the vicar become distracted by Godfrey's loud chewing of his crisps.
  • Only Sane Man: Gordon is the only character who clues into the fact that Godfrey is not actually responsible for what he is accused of, on account of his extreme gullibility.
  • Parody Commercial: Used quite frequently in the series, mainly to contrast their optimistic nature with the grim reality of life and to show how much of a sucker Godfrey is for them now.