The Much Delayed Second Series Of Nightingales

Nightingales is an excellent sitcom, which aired on Channel 4, and is well worth a watch if you can find it on DVD. It aired in the early months of 1990 for the first series, and was then off screen for nearly three years, with its return marked by a Christmas special, followed by a second series of six.

So why the delay?

Let’s watch it unfold in the pages of The Stage. Here’s a mention of the show in the In Production section.

The Stage – Thursday 09 November 1989

We can see that it was made at Central Television, and was Alomo Productions’ second series, after the huge success of Birds Of A Feather. The writer was Paul Makin, and the producer was Esta Charkham. This was four months before the first episode aired on 27th February 1990.

Just before the series began, Alomo’s co-founder Lawrence Marks was elected Pipe Smoker Of The Year.

The Stage – Thursday 01 February 1990

More dramatically, a week later, Esta Markham announced her resignation from Alomo.

The Stage – Thursday 08 February 1990

The series debut was watched by a respectable 2.22 million viewers.

The Stage – Thursday 15 March 1990

Even if reviewer James Green didn’t really get it.

The Stage – Thursday 15 March 1990

Channel 4 were obviously pleased with it though, as even before the end of the first series, they had commissioned a second.

The Stage – Thursday 29 March 1990

By the end of 1990, in November, Alomo sold the rights to CBS, to make a pilot renamed as In Security. There’s also confirmation that series two was in pre-production.

The Stage – Thursday 01 November 1990

(A nice nugget there too that Going Straight had been sold to Fox. I took a closer look at the Birds Of A Feather remake Stand By Your Man here.)

But come the beginning of 1991, roughly when we might expect to hear that the second series is filming, we learn that there’s a problem …

The Stage – Thursday 10 January 1991

… and that Alomo are prepared to go to bat for their show and their cast.

And so, the second series was put on hold.

Meanwhile, In Security plans moved along, with this small cast announcement. As well as a couple of developments in the life of The Paradise Club, and early stirrings of a new breakfast show for Channel 4.

The Stage – Thursday 09 April 1992

The channel eventually commissoned The Big Breakfast from PLanet 24, and as part of its Christmas line up, announced a £9 million budget spend – including a festive edition of Nightingales.

The Stage – Thursday 10 December 1992

On the same page there’s other news about the production company.

The Stage – Thursday 10 December 1992

Before we come full circle with the announcement of the second series proper.

The Stage – Thursday 17 December 1992
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