"You always get a custard cream, but you don't always gets a Garibaldi." By rights that line of dialogue shouldn't be funny - but it is. If you don't recognise it, the line comes from an episode of Victoria Wood's exemplary sitcom, dinnerladies. The show ran for two series, with six episodes in the first and ten in the second. Wood wrote and starred in the show, but decided to pull the plug with the second series. It breaks my heart there'll never be anymore, but those 16 episodes live on thanks to the joys of DVD. Whenever a blue mood overtakes the house or someone needs cheering up, there's a simple solution - watch some dinnerladies.
Long before Jamie Oliver was singing the praises of such women, Victoria Wood was immortalising them in one of the most touching sitcoms of recent times. Besides being bloody funny, Wood makes you care about the characters. You come to love their quirks and idiosyncracies, rejoice in their little triumphs and smile as they battle against the odds to achieve the mundane. dinnerladies never reaches for the obvious laugh, isn't afraid to exchange comedy for situation and always stay true to its bittersweet tone. It's among my favourite shows of the past ten years. If you don't already own it, go and find the complete boxed set now. The likes of HMV are frequently flogging all 16 episodes for ten quid and that's a bargain in anyone's money.