Victor Meldrew was a fictional character in the popular BBC sitcom One Foot in the Grave, created by David Renwick and played by Richard Wilson. The programme features the exploits of Victor and his long-suffering wife, Margaret, and was largely filmed on location in Walkford, near New Milton in Hampshire.
The plot revolved around a typical household in an unnamed English suburb with the head of the household, Victor, taking involuntary early retirement. His various efforts to keep himself busy, while encountering various misfortunes and misunderstandings, are the themes of the sitcom. David Renwick once pointed out in an interview that the name Victor was ironic, since he almost always ends up a loser.
The character epitomised the archetypal grumpy old man. Meldrew is a foil for the bothersome aspects of children, cars, animals, power cuts or next-door neighbours (his particular example being Patrick Trench, played by Angus Deayton).
The series was occasionally the subject of controversy for some of its darker story elements, but was nevertheless the recipient of a number of awards, from 1992 BAFTA for Best Comedy to a top ten position in the BBC poll to find “Britain’s Best Sitcom” in 2004.
Victor is a tragic comedy character and sympathy is directed towards him as he becomes embroiled in complex misunderstandings, bureaucratic vanity and, at times, sheer bad luck. The audience sees a philosophical ebb to his character however, along with a degree of optimism. Yet his polite façade collapses when events get the better of him and a full verbal onslaught is forthcoming, including the well-known “Victor-ism”, “I don’t believe it!”
[Never did I ever dream I would be blogging about One Foot in the Grave!]