Saturday 30 August, 9.30pm

Hugh Laurie (House) stars in Nigel Williams’ dramatisation of his own humorous novel, Fortysomething, a universal tale of mid-life crisis.

General Practitioner Paul Slippery (Laurie) is beset by the tribulations of oncoming middle age.
His daily life becomes a series of emotional crises. He is disgusted when his fiftysomething friend begins an energetic affair with a thirtysomething; anxious when his wife Estelle (Anna Chancellor, Four Weddings and a Funeral) returns to work for a boss who seems to express an unhealthy interest in the state of their marriage; and envious when his sons indulge in sexual relations under his own roof.

Paul seeks a little help with his faltering sex life from a variety of sources, including a herbal aphrodisiac purchased on the internet and a hypnotist with his own agenda.

As Paul plunges into a full-scale domestic meltdown he realises he has forgotten his wedding anniversary, and his wife’s plans for a surprise party in his honour lead him to suspect that she is having an affair, forcing him to get his own back, in his own characteristically awkward way.

Laurie admits that, like his character, approaching middle age has also troubled him. “I had ambitions of opening the batting for England, climbing Kilimanjaro. I assumed there was plenty of time, but now the clocks have gone forward and I’m late, stuck because all my fantasies were based on the achievements of younger men like David Gower. I have no older role models. I don’t want to become home secretary or conduct the Philharmonic. Who would I be now as an actor, father, husband, writer? I don’t know. And that’s tragic. This realisation should have happened when I was 35, but being rather dim I didn’t perceive it until six months ago.”

The series also sees Laurie joined by Stephen Fry, his comedy partner in the classic series Jeeves & Wooster and Sheila Hancock (Kavanagh QC).