Absolutley my favourite telly programme when first aired. A bit of a forgotten gem nowadays sadly :-(
Nightingales revolved around the jobs of three bored nightwatchmen working in a deserted office block, the location of which is never revealed, although exterior shots are of a building located on Paradise Circus in Birmingham City Centre.
A typical episode involved both very naturalistic dialogue and the kind of claustrophobic studio-setting that prevailed in shows such as Steptoe and Son combined with the surreal (the episode 'Terence in the Midst' features a non-speaking gorilla who manages to bag the Heathrow job Carter has been craving for example).
Nightingales ran for two series totalling 13 episodes in 1990 and 1993. The long delay was prompted by Channel 4 executive Seamus Cassidy who was not happy with the proposed scripts for the second season and it was three years before the follow-up series was given the go-ahead. The theme tune was a version of the song "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" sung by Lindsay. Nightingales was written by Paul Makin, who went on to write the more conventional comedies like Goodnight Sweetheart. A US remake (titled "In Security") was piloted but never commissioned.
* Carter (Robert Lindsay), a pseudo-intellectual whose aspirations were invariably frustrated.
* "Ding Dong" Bell (David Threlfall), a moronic thug who is somewhat in awe of Carter.
* Sarge (James Ellis), an impossibly optimistic veteran watchman (who is occasionally used to parody the naive optimism of Dixon of Dock Green.
* Smith : A fourth character who was dead throughout the first series, the other characters kept his body in the building so that they could claim his salary.