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Not Going Out

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Country of origin
United Kingdom

First episode date
6 October 2006


Created by
No. of series
8 (+2 Specials)


Not Going Out wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners186447p186447

Written by
Lee Mack Andrew Collins Daniel PeakSarah Morgan

Directed by
Alex Hardcastle (2006–07)Nick Wood (2006–)Ed Bye (2013)

Lee MackSally Bretton (2007–)Finley Southby (2017–)Max Pattison (2017–)Francesca Newman (2017–)

Lee Mack, Sally Bretton, Tim Vine, Katy Wix, Miranda Hart


Not Going Out is a British television sitcom that has aired on BBC One since 2006, currently starring Lee Mack, Sally Bretton, Finley Southby, Max Pattison and Francesca Newman. The series has previously starred Megan Dodds, Miranda Hart, Tim Vine and Katy Wix.


The recurring cast currently includes Geoffrey Whitehead, Deborah Grant, Bobby Ball, Hugh Dennis and Abigail Cruttenden. Mack and Andrew Collins were the initial writers for the show, with Paul Kerensa, Simon Evans and Daniel Peak joining the writing staff in later series. Mack is the last remaining actor from the original cast, and the only actor to appear in every episode.

The show was cancelled by the BBC in 2009, whilst the third series was still airing, but the decision was later reversed due to a combination of strong DVD sales and an online petition. This led to the show receiving a renewal for a fourth series which aired from 6 January 2011. A fifth series began airing on 13 April 2012 and ended on 18 May 2012. A sixth series began airing on 5 April 2013 and ended on 31 May 2013, with a Christmas special following later that year.

A seventh series comprising ten episodes began airing on 17 October 2014 and ended with a Christmas special on 24 December. A further Christmas special was aired on 24 December 2015. On 24 August 2016, it was confirmed that Not Going Out will return for an eighth series, which began airing on 13 January 2017 and ended on 3 March 2017. A Christmas special will follow at the end of the year, with the ninth series expected to air in early 2018.

On 14 December 2016, it was announced that the show had been re-commissioned for a ninth and tenth series.


The series focuses on Lee Mack who plays a fictional version of himself; an unambitious man in his late thirties living as a lodger in a flat in London Docklands. Originally from Chorley, in Lancashire (which is approximately 20 miles from Southport, where Lee Mack originates in real life), Lee is a negligent, unmotivated layabout – frequently between jobs, he spends most of his days on his sofa watching television, or down at the local pub with his best friend, Tim Adams (Tim Vine), an accountant who owns the flat in which Lee is a lodger. He is also noted for his cheeky wit, and having a very troubled relationship with his father, with whom he shares many traits, and who openly mentions that Lee was unplanned, and resulted in the end of his marriage.

Very often, the only thing that can get Lee off his couch and active is his efforts to impress the girl of his dreams. In the first series, this is Kate (Megan Dodds), Lee's feisty American landlady, with whom he frequently has conflict, but has an otherwise close relationship. Kate is Tim's ex-girlfriend – he left her for a 23-year-old named Emma (though Lee and Kate suggest she looked a lot younger) – and the two frequently find themselves fighting for her attention.

In the second series, after Megan Dodds left the show, Kate moves back to the US. Lee's affections soon turn to Tim's sister, Lucy (Sally Bretton), who buys the flat after having spent ten years living abroad, much to Tim's annoyance. Lucy shares Kate's feisty nature and quick-wit, and her interaction with Lee is very similar. Although his frequent laziness annoys her, Lucy appears to enjoy Lee's presence in the flat, largely because of his company, and because of his willingness to help her out of an awkward situation. Tim soon finds himself drawn into Lee's many schemes to impress Lucy, most of which either backfire, fail to impress her or land them in trouble. Very often, Lee finds himself confiding in his friend, Barbara (Miranda Hart), the cleaner, about his many problems.

Later on in the series, Tim forms a relationship with Daisy (Katy Wix), an incredibly dim-witted young woman. In the third series, Daisy became a regular character, with her and Barbara in the same daft league. Over the series, Lucy considers marrying an eastern European refugee until he marries Barbara instead. Later on, Lee's father returns to try to make amends with his son. In the midst of the fourth series, Lee continues his antics in order to impress Lucy. In the series finale, Lee gets hit by a car and falls into a coma. Lee's actions to impress Lucy continue well into the fifth series, when they both think they accidentally sleep together after drinking potato hooch.

In the sixth series, after Tim Vine quit the series, Tim was written out of the show. In the opening dialogue of the series, it is explained that he has been given a work placement in Germany. Daisy continues her friendship with Lucy and Lee, and her naivety often gets them in trouble. With Tim's absence, Lee often finds himself listening to suggestions from Daisy on how to impress Lucy, and these include acting as a test subject for her psychology course, which leads to Lee finding out that he was unplanned and held responsible for the breakdown in his parents' marriage, and getting a girlfriend, who develops a Fatal Attraction-esque crush on him.

He comes close to admitting his feelings to Lucy several times over the course of the series, particularly at the end of "Therapy" and "Play", but although she is receptive, he changes his mind each time. In the seventh series, however, neighbour Toby lies to him, saying Lucy has had a date, after which Lee tells Lucy that he loves her and asks Lucy to marry him, to which she says yes. They get married in finale of Series 7. In the 2015 Christmas Special, Lucy gives birth to her and Lee's first child.

In the eighth series, Lee and Lucy have been married for eight years (the series is set seven years after the 2015 Christmas Special), they have moved out of the flat and into a house in the suburbs, and they have three children, seven-year-old Charlie and five-year old twins, Benji and Molly. Daisy is no longer socialising with Lee and Lucy, but they remain friends with Toby and Anna, and are in touch with Lucy's parents, Geoffrey and Wendy, and Lee's feckless father, Frank.


Most of each episode were shot on set in front of an audience at Teddington Studios. There are two main sets: the flat and the bar that Lee and Tim frequently visit. Outdoor shots and real indoor location shots have also been used on occasion. The fourth and fifth series were shot at the BBC Television Centre. The sixth and seventh series saw filming return to Teddington Studios. From Series 5 onwards, Not Going Out was produced in association with Lee Mack's own company, Arlo Productions (named after his son). After Teddington Studios closed, a new studio has not been found for future episodes. However, the 2015 Christmas special was filmed in Wimbledon and majority in St George's car park but this was probably just a one off as the location fitted with the episode's plot. This episode was not filmed in front of a live studio audience. Series 8 was filmed at Elstree Studios.

The show is filmed in HDTV and, since series 4, airs simultaneously on BBC One HD. Previous to this, the show was not simulcast on BBC HD, but shown on BBC HD 30 minutes after the BBC One airing.

A lot of the humour is based on word play and double entendres delivered in a deadpan manner. This is the comedy style Lee Mack and Tim Vine have used both in stand-up and in The Sketch Show, to the extent that an occasional one-liner from their solo performances is slipped in. This is mostly one sided with Kate/Lucy typically being the victims of the joke. Sight gags are also frequently used, while gags and witticisms are incorporated into almost every line of script.

For the first series, episodes were written by Mack and Andrew Collins, with members of the cast credited for additional material. Because the eight episodes of the second season had to be written and filmed in a short space of time, Avalon Television brought in Nick Stacey, Paul Kerensa and Simon Evans to join the writing team. Mack, Collins and Stacey concentrated on writing the main body of the episodes whilst Kerensa and Evans were involved in storylining, rewriting and 'gagging up' the episodes. The third series saw the writing team expanded, with Darin Henry, Daniel Peak and Simon Dean contributing to the main episodes (all co-written with Mack); the "gag writing" team was also expanded, from two members to as many as eight, not counting the main writers, on a single episode with Milton Jones amongst the additional writers of the show.

In the original pilot of the series, which has not been aired, the part of Kate was played by Catherine Tate. However, due to the success of The Catherine Tate Show, her character was re-written for the American actress Megan Dodds.

The theme song is performed by Frank Sinatra impersonator Stephen Triffitt.

The flat Lee and Kate/Lucy lived from 2006 to 2015 is No 17. In a DVD commentary for the first series, it was mentioned that "Number 17" was originally considered as a title for the series, before the name "Not Going Out" was decided on.

Cast and characters

* Miranda Hart also appeared in an episode in Series 1, however this was not in the role of Barbara.

Series 1 (2006)

Lee is a juvenile and lazy slacker, who goes from one job to another, living off the good graces of his Californian landlady Kate, with whom he shares a flat in London. It is not long before they find that their friendship is changing into something more. The situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that Lee's best friend Timothy Gladstone Adams, an accountant from Henley, is Kate's ex-boyfriend (they broke up when he cheated on her with 23-year-old Emma) and he wants to repair their relationship. Lee is torn between pursuing his romantic feelings for Kate and remaining loyal to his increasingly paranoid best friend.

Series 2 (2007)

Kate has gone back to America leaving Tim with a flat and lodger he cannot afford to keep. Tim's sister Lucy Adams, a head hunter recently back from ten years abroad, buys the flat and becomes the new landlady and flatmate to Lee. Tim also hires a cleaner, Barbara, to clean the flat. In "Gay", the series' second episode, 51-year-old Guy first appears and he soon becomes Lucy's boyfriend. Lee, now an ice-cream seller, later appears to fall for Lucy. In the last episode Tim and Lee are convinced Guy is a gangster and has been smuggling diamonds but it turns out that he was having a diamond engagement ring made for Lucy planning to propose on a romantic holiday. Lee leaves the airport thinking Lucy has said yes to Guy but she returns saying that she was too young to get married and that she had split up with Guy. There was also a Christmas Special in 2007 which introduced Tim and Lucy's parents for the first time. In episode 6, Lee meets a woman called Daisy at speed dating, who later appeared to fall for Tim. Although at the time it seems that she will be a one-time character, she reappears in the Christmas special as Tim's girlfriend and returns in Series Three.

Series 3 (2009)

The third series sees Lee trying to pursue Lucy, usually encouraged by Barbara he invariably ends up making things worse for himself. We also witness Lucy questioning her sexuality, which worries Lee. Tim's girlfriend Daisy also becomes more of a fixture in series three. In the last episode Lucy is about to marry Pavlov Petrietskivadorski the mechanic so he can stay in the country however she realises that she's made a mistake and Lee gets Barbara to marry Pavlov instead, the last scene is of them driving off together for their honeymoon in India. Barbara is seen back in the flat, wanting to go off with Lee's dad, Frank, who is seen in the last episode, which was broadcast as a Christmas Special on 23 December 2009. Lucy and Lee kiss under the mistletoe.

Series 4 (2011)

A fourth series of six episodes was filmed from late September to early November 2010. Miranda Hart did not return as Barbara, as filming of the second series of her own sitcom Miranda was also taking place. The series began airing on 6 January 2011. The series sees Lee and Tim thrown into a drugs deal after Tim accidentally takes someone else's coat in a nightclub, Lee and Tim discovering that either one of them could have a long-lost daughter, Lee accidentally agreeing to let a porn film be shot in his and Lucy's flat, Lee having to organise a fireworks display and return an elderly woman to her son, and Tim and Lucy's parents' rough patch in their 40-year marriage. The series finishes with a near death experience for Lee, who later organises a date with Lucy.

Series 5 (2012)

The fifth series, consisting of six episodes, was filmed between November and 22 December 2011 and aired on BBC One from 13 April 2012. A short Children in Need special featuring Sir Terry Wogan followed later in 2012.

Series 6 (2013)

The sixth series began airing on 5 April and ended on 31 May 2013. This was the first series since the departure of Tim. In this series Lucy accidentally murders two rabbits, Lee, Lucy and Daisy end up stuck in a ski lift with a heavily pregnant woman, and the main characters find themselves in another of Frank's schemes as he a deliberately sinks a boat for insurance purposes.

Christmas Special (2013)

A Christmas special aired on 24 December 2013, with Mack's real-life son making a cameo appearance as a ghost.

Series 7 (2014)

On 5 April 2013, whilst promoting the sixth series of Not Going Out on The One Show, Lee Mack confirmed that a seventh series had been commissioned. Filming for this series began 23 May 2014, and later finished on 25 July 2014.

The seventh series aired from 17 October 2014 to 24 December 2014 and consisted of 10 episodes, making it the longest series to date. Lee Mack, Sally Bretton, Katy Wix, Bobby Ball, Geoffrey Whitehead and Deborah Grant all reprise their roles as Lee, Lucy, Daisy, Frank, Geoffrey and Wendy respectively, whilst Hugh Dennis and Abigail Cruttenden join the cast as new neighbours Toby and Anna who soon struggle to share a building with Lee and Lucy.

Episode 5 of the series shows, Lee and Daisy go on the BBC Game Show, Pointless. Hosts Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman make appearances throughout the episode.

In Episode 9, Lee finally reveals his love for Lucy and asks her to marry him. Episode 10 features their wedding day and a guest appearance from Tim Vine, and a cameo appearance by Tommy Cannon.

An outtakes episode aired 27 December 2014. Hosted by Lee Mack, Sally Bretton and Katy Wix.

Christmas Special (2015)

Lee Mack announced on Alan Carr: Chatty Man that there would be a 2015 Christmas special and possibly another series in 2016.

Talking to BBC News, Mack gave an outline of the special; it follows on from the marriage of Lucy and Lee in "The Wedding", the most recent episode, and involved a gun. Mack also announced that the special would not be filmed before a studio audience, unlike past episodes, and that he had written its first scenes.

The Christmas special aired on 24 December 2015, where the regular cast were involved in an armed robbery in a department store. Frank was working as an elf in the Christmas department, when Lee, Lucy and Daisy were with Toby and Anna who had sent their son away over Christmas. The two security guards were attacked by the armed robber who locked them all in the security room and Lee had a showdown with the armed robber, the episode ended with Lucy giving birth to the couple's first child.

Series 8 (2017)

On 24 August 2016, it was confirmed that there would be an eighth series in 2017. It is set seven years after the events of the 2015 Christmas special and shows how Lee and Lucy cope being parents to three young children. The series began airing on 13 January 2017.

Not Going Out reached its highest ever audience in the opening episode, with a total of 5.52 million viewers.


At a press screening event for Series 8 on 14 December 2016, it was confirmed that a ninth and tenth series of Not Going Out had been ordered by the BBC.

DVD releases

Although filmed and broadcast in HD, no Blu-rays have been released to date. All episodes up to the end of Series 4 feature different video post-production to the broadcast versions, giving them a US-style 'filmlook' effect, however this was dropped from the Series 5 DVD onwards. The episodes Movie and Drunk are slightly extended for DVD, featuring shots and lines cut or censored for their original BBC One transmission. Some music tracks are replaced by soundalikes for release.

  • Not Going Out 6 does not include the 2013 Christmas Special, "The House". It is however included on The Christmas Specials and The Complete Series 1–7.
  • References

    Not Going Out Wikipedia

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