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Simon Callow and Brenda Blethyn star in this zany piece of mid-80s British TV magic...
Acorn Media / 451 Minutes / 1984-1986 / Unrated / Street Date: March 19, 2013
Simon Callow’s personification of Tom Chance is a real treat. One of the UK’s most sinfully underrated performers (and authors – his Orson Welles biographies are sensational), his leading man turn in Chance in a Million: The Complete Collection is a symphony of neurotic flits. Tom Chance is no mere caricature sitcom fixture: he’s a bona fide weirdo with a heart of gold.
See, Chance has trouble with… chance. It’s established early on here that Sergeant Gough (Bill Pertwee) of the local police has strict orders to not arrest Chance , even if situations make it seem like he’s at the center of a crime. Tom Chance is a guy who has an uncanny ability (it could be called a curse, I suppose) for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Chance in a Million takes advantage of that as often as it can.
Chance in a Million is absolutely spun-sugar sitcom lightness, but it has more than a few assets working in its favor. The on-screen spark between Callow and ladyfriend Brenda Blethyn is endlessly charming, and as confirmed by the excellent commentary tracks included on this compilation, there are quite a few subtle narrative and rhetorical elements at play in the series that end up making it significantly more than just another sitcom.