Spiritual Successor slash Sound-to-Screen Adaptation of the radio series Bleak Expectations, this is a Dickensian parody written by Mark Evans with an all-star cast including Mitchell and Webb, Stephen Fry and Johnny Vegas. It follows the story of Mr. Jedrington Secret-Past who tries to win his family and his business, The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff, back from Amoral Attorney Malifax Skulkingworm.
The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff has examples of:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: London's three great alliterative clocks, Big Ben, Massive Morris and Tiny Terry.
- Affably Evil: Skulkingworm shifts drastically between being a horrible old bastard and being rather pleasant.
- Amoral Attorney: Skulkingworm, the main villain of the pilot. Curiously, when he's in 'client' mode he's an evil, cackling old scoundrel, but when he's in 'lawyer' mode he's actually quite friendly and pleasant.
- Androcles' Lion: The orphan Jedrington treats like any other customer at the beginning of the Christmas episode.
- The Artful Dodger: Parodied with the Artful Codger ("codger" being slang for an older person) who has had to spend his life with a gang of urchin kids because he failed the exam to graduate to "vagabond" or "ne'er-do-well".
- Bazaar of the Bizarre: The eponymous shop of stuff.
- Big "NO!": Servegood delivers one at the end of Episode 2.
- British Brevity: It aired starting with a one hour Christmas Special before Christmas 2011 with another three half hour episodes.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Hatred of the French and extreme sexism. Both Played for Laughs.
- G-Rated Drug: Treacle. Exaggerated to the point where it's actually dangerous.
- Evil Laugh: Skulkingworm seems to love them.
- The Fundamentalist: Secret-Past's adoptive aunts.
- It Will Never Catch On: Harmswell Grimstone considered trying to find a business partner by putting a group of candidates through demeaning weekly tasks and firing them one by one, but rejected the idea as ludicrous.
- Meaningful Name: Almost every single character has one.Uncle Writes-Prompt-Thank-You-Cards: Dear boy, your name is ... not without meaning.Jedrington Secret-Past: What, Jedrington?
- Man Behind the Man: Subverted. Skulkingworm's "client" is...Skulkingworm.
- May Contain Evil: "Contract may contain traces of evil."
- McGuffin: The (final) codical to the will.
- MookFace Turn: Fearshiver has one, Skulkingworm killed his parents. "He placed a large amount of legalments and injunctions on them. Literally - they were crushed to death."
- Nice Hat: A man is nothing without his! Special mention to Skulkingworm, who seems to have some sort of mechanism that can make his top hat extend to several times his own height.
- The Nicknamer: Maggoty the treacle fiend, who calls people by the names of birds.
- On One Condition: Jedrington can only avoid being heir to his grandfather's debt if his parents get married.
- Overly Long Gag: Mrs. Christmasham, describing the circumstances of her wedding.Mrs. Christmasham: I was due to be married on Christmas Day, and I waited at the altar for my beloved husband-to-be, and I waited and waited, and waited and waited, and I waited and waited, and I waited and waited, and waited and waited, and wait —
Jedringham: Did he basically not turn up?
Mrs. Christmasham: How could you have possibly fathomed that?
- Parody Name: Skulkingworm is a handful of letters away from Tulkinghorn of Bleak House, who's also an Amoral Attorney.
- The Pollyanna: Jolliforth Jollington, a man so optimistic and good-spirited that the mere mention of happy things causes him to spontaneously become stouter and jollier.
- The Cynic: As Jolliforth lies dying of consumption in a flophouse, driven out of business by Jedrington's strong-arm tactics, he assures Secret-Past not to worry for him, as he's chosen to cope with the experience by becoming extremely bitter.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Skulkingworm's first scene has him act the part of an Amoral Attorney, interspersed with him apologising and saying he's just acting on behalf of his client (who's "a meanie"). His client just so happens to be himself.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: When Grimstone is brought to trial, he arranges matters such that the jury is composed of his cousins, and his uncle is the judge.
- Shout-Out: To Bleak Expectations. Harrumble indeed!
- Skip to the End: The wedding of the Christmashams, who must be married before Christmas Day, takes place at midnight on Christmas Eve.
- Yet Another Christmas Carol: Deliberately invoked by Grimstone, who dresses up as the Rabbits of Easter Past, Present and Future in order to terrify Jedrington.