One Foot in the Grave (1990–2001)
3 user

The Big Sleep 

Victor's cousin Geoffrey, who had also just taken early retirement at 60, dies; the Meldrews' local keep-fit class takes a deadly turn.


Susan Belbin


David Renwick, David Renwick (by)

On Disc

at Amazon




Episode complete credited cast:
Richard Wilson ... Victor Meldrew
Annette Crosbie ... Margaret Meldrew
Faye Maguire Faye Maguire ... Window Cleaner
Christopher Saul Christopher Saul ... 1st Jehovah's Witness
David Peart David Peart ... 2nd Jehovah's Witness
Kay Adshead ... Keep Fit Instructress
Len Lowe Len Lowe ... Len (as Leonard Lowe)
Danny O'Dea ... Michael
Hilary Mason ... Elspeth
Pamela Lane Pamela Lane ... the Nurse
Lisa Bluthal ... Make-Up Girl
Helen Fraser Helen Fraser ... Dr. Snellgrove
Colin Ward-Lewis Colin Ward-Lewis ... Radio DJ (voice)


A female window-cleaner accuses Victor of flashing; Margaret's fitness instructor drops dead during a class; Victor attends his atheist cousin's funeral, then falls asleep in the garden, awakens in a fog, knocks himself unconscious with a rake, and awakens in the hospital believing that he has died and the doctor is God. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

11 January 1990 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The copy of The Daily Mirror Victor is reading before he falls asleep in his garden is from September 1989 and features the sports page headline about Crystal Palace sacking goal keeper Perry Suckling following their 9 - Nil thrashing by Liverpool at Anfield on 12/9/89. See more »


[first lines]
Margaret Meldrew: Are you sure you don't want to have...
Window Cleaner: I don't want anything. I want me four pound fifty, then I'm going straight back and reporting this to the police.
Margaret Meldrew: Yes, well, look, I'm sure it's just a misunderstanding.
See more »

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User Reviews

The Big Sleep
20 June 2016 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

It is surprising in hindsight how quickly One Foot in the Grave established the theme of a sitcom with a melancholy and dark undercurrent from the very beginning.

The second episode sees Victor being accused of exposure by the female window cleaner in his own bathroom. When he thinks he has been visited by the police they turn out to be off duty as they are Jehovah's Witness in their spare time.

The theme is death, Victor's cousin has died soon after taking early retirement. This makes Victor worried about his own health. His attempt at keep fit ends in disaster as the keep fit instructor dies during a class.

The only solace Victor gets is looking after a robin in his garden but he local cat has other ideas about that.

Already Victor is established as quiet a character, grouchy, angry frustrated with what life throws at him which includes neighbours playing music too loud and littering his garden. Victor also shows his tender side as well with the scenes with the robin and of course the slapstick bit as well when he wakes up in the garden in the mist and steps on the rake.

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