Men Behaving Badly: Originally broadcast from February 18, 1992 to December 28, 1998
The novel's first male character - now one of the show's four leads - was one Gary Strang. 30-something and stuck in a dull office job with the shy and retiring George (Ian Lindsay) and Anthea (Valerie Minifie), Gary - like so many men his age - yearns for the pleasures of youth; girls, lager and crude jokes. Martin Clunes was quickly cast in the part - with his hangdog expression, the then 30-year-old actor was perfect for the role.
Keeping Gary's feet firmly on the ground was the show's first female lead, Dorothy. It's a shame that, for the most part, actress Caroline Quentin all but abandoned comedy post-Men Behaving Badly in favour of more dramatic work, because she's fantastic as Gary's spiky, long-suffering girlfriend.
Both Gary and Dorothy frequently wonder if they're a good match - at times, the pair are positively indifferent towards each other. But it becomes clear throughout the show's run that they're a perfect if unusual match, despite the highs and lows of their relationship.
Leslie Ash - then best known for her role in 1979 Brit flick Quadrophenia - was hired to play Deborah, the attractive blonde who moves into the flat above Gary's. The show's fourth lead role, meanwhile, was filled by Harry Enfield - then riding high on the success of his BBC sketch show Harry Enfield's Television Programme.
Enfield was in fact the first actor to be cast on Men Behaving Badly and was the one who persuaded Clunes to take part. But ironically, the comedian was quick to jump ship - after filming a single six-episode series, he left the show, and his role as Gary's first roommate Dermot, behind.
Enfield's depature turned out to be a blessing in disguise, however, because it was with the addition of Neil Morrissey as Gary's new pal Tony Smart that Men Behaving Badly really began to take flight. The child-like Tony was a brilliant character - one with no emotional middle ground...
Each episode was a rollercoaster for the loveable oaf - his will they / won't they relationship with Deborah often led to infectious bursts of enthusiasm on his part, followed by crushing bouts of disappointment when things didn't work out. Either way, it was terrific fun to watch.
Unfortunately, the show's original broadcaster ITV didn't agree. The channel had partly backed Men Behaving Badly on the basis of Harry Enfield's star appeal and his exit, coupled with disappointing viewing figures, led to the show being cancelled after two series.
But once again, the series triumphed over adversity - the ITV axe wasn't the end for Men Behaving Badly but the beginning of something greater. In 1994, the BBC revived the sitcom, airing it in a later timeslot than previous. Freed from the constraints of early evening television, Gary and Tony could now behave more badly than ever, and viewers lapped it up.
The key to Men Behaving Badly's success was, of course, its characters. Simon Nye admitted as much - "I don't do mad, plot-driven farragoes," he once said. "You have to allow your characters time to talk."
Despite their immature, politically incorrect behaviour, there's something undeniably loveable about both Gary and Tony. While there's absolutely room for the cringe comedy of something like The Office, there's something to be said for a sitcom that makes you wish you could be friends with the central characters. Men Behaving Badly had that special appeal.
The four series following the BBC pick-up were the show's golden period - the peak of which, in this writer's opinion, is the 1997 episode 'Watching TV'. Centered entirely around Gary and Tony's beloved sofa, the episode sees the gang reminisce about old telly and play a string of tricks on the chipper Tony, who's finally got together with Deborah. It's a near-perfect example of sitcom writing and performance.
But all good things must come to an end, and Men Behaving Badly bowed out after a final trilogy of episodes, broadcast over the Christmas period in 1998. It was a sign of how far the show had come - from being deemed a failure at ITV to becoming the lynchpin of the BBC's festive schedule.
The final instalment - 'Delivery' - saw Gary and Dorothy have their first child. With Tony and Deborah also blissfully happy, it seemed like the boys might finally have grown up, but the show's final shot - in which an apparently sleeping Gary crushes a lager can and hurls it at his best mate - perhaps hints that they haven't left their laddish behaviour behind entirely.
Unlike many sitcoms of its ilk, Men Behaving Badly hasn't really been subject to constant rumours of a comeback. The cast have all moved on - Martin Clunes reinvented himself, discarding his laddish image for the likes of ITV's cosy comedy-drama Doc Martin, while Caroline Quentin for the most part left sitcoms behind to carve out a dramatic acting career.
Leslie Ash was also a prominent face on UK television throughout the late '90s and early '00s. And as for Neil Morrissey, he's done everything from brewing beer to playing the Invisible Man.
Perhaps the lack of outcry for a reunion is down to the fact that, unlike so many shows, Men Behaving Badly ended at just the right time and on just the right note. Still, that doesn't mean it's wrong to get a bit nostalgic. If you're looking for the best in '90s Brit comedy, why not pick up a few lagers and stick on Men Behaving Badly on DVD? And then have a dance - Gary and Tony style - to that cracking theme tune...
Do you have fond memories of Men Behaving Badly? Share them below!