Chance in a Million

1984 | United Kingdom

One of the very earliest situation comedy successes for the fledgling Channel 4, Chance in a Million chronicled the misadventures of one Tom Chance, a slightly eccentric, but decent ordinary man saddled since birth with the- anything but natural- ability to warp probability to ludicrous proportions. Tom's life is a slave to random synchronicity, an unsteady raft adrift on an ocean of capricious coincidence. 

For Tom Chance, experiencing the oddest of random events is the natural order of day to day life, whether it be innumerable encounters with the forces of law and order for offences never committed, to the ridiculously unlikely chain of events that lead him to his first meeting with the shy, awkward librarian, Alison Little and culminate in the pair being taken - yet again for Tom - into police custody charged with housebreaking while clad only in their underwear. (Eventually, Tom's unwelcome ability for being habitually arrested moved the local, long suffering, police sergeant to order his officers to cease arresting Tom under any circumstances). 

The farcically outrageous scripts for the series were written by creators Andrew Norris and Richard Fegen (who would later go on to create the somewhat similar, if far less likeable character of Gordon Brittas, in the popular BBC series The Brittas Empire for Chris Barrie), and was produced and directed by Michael Mills. 

Chance in a Million's greatest asset however lay in the casting of its central characters. As the amiable, down-a-pint-in-one and always look on the bright side Tom Chance, the highly talented and respected actor and author Simon Callow brought his trademark larger than life warmth and ability to the role, investing in the character of Tom an almost child-like vulnerability and innate good humour which the viewing audience responded to with immediate affection. Complimenting and counter pointing Callow's portrayal of Tom, was the equally talented Brenda Blethyn, as the timidly good natured Allison, who's delightfully developed romance with Tom gave the show an added dimension of warmth and audience empathy. 

Published on December 3rd, 2018. Review: SRH (March 2003).