On the edge of meltdown, businessman Paul Sykes (Douglas Hodge) is late for a make-or-break meeting. Sunita (Nina Wadia) will not shut up about her inappropriate life experiences. Rocco (Rasmus Hardiker) is a 17-year-old with seven different, very major phobias. Christabel (Siobhan Redmond) is dangerously jolly and is challenged in the bladder area. Four ill-fitting people who want to be as far away as possible from one another. Unfortunately this isn’t possible. They’re stuck in a lift. Will they ever get out? If they do, will there still be four of them alive? It’s like Lost but quite a lot more cramped. Lift was one of four comedies in BBC Four’s series ‘Tight Spot’ in which the central characters are all stuck in very different situations. The series started in February 2007 and Lift was the third programme to go out.


Douglas Hodge, Nina Wadia, Siobhan Redmond, Rasmus Hardiker

Produced by

Mark Freeland

Executive producer(s)

Beryl Vertue

Written by

Mark Watson

Directed by

James Hawes


BBC Four

First transmitted

14th March 2007 at 10pm


1 x 30'

Press comments

Lift, the third of BBC 4’s Tight Spot season and the classiest so far, trapped four ill-matched travellers in a jammed London Underground life, and waited for the tension to get to them. It was the work of youthful, industrious, prolific and multiple award-winning Mark Watson, who has been beavering away as a stand-up, performer, contributor to many a clever TV and radio comedy we have known, and novelist to boot. He was aided on this occasion by a fabulous cast – Douglas Hodge (Spooks) as be-suited Paul, late for a presentation and in a state of near meltdown, Rasmus Hardiker (that perfect foil for Steve Coogan in Saxondale) as Rocco… Nina Wadia as Sunita, an unhelpfully voluble veteran of two previous lift incarcerations and Siobhan Redmond as chirpy Christabel… It wasn’t long before frustration boiled over into insult, from choice of pets to Indian call centres to ineptitude at charades… Paul reached for the fire extinguisher, and as onlookers at a controlled explosion of hysteria we couldn’t have been in more expert hands. The Daily Telegraph, 15th March 2007

“If you step into a lift this morning, take a careful look at who’s in there with you. Anyone you fancy? Anyone who looks a bit dodgy? Anyone who could do with getting better acquainted with some anti-perspirant? These are important questions, as Lift [sic] reminded us; in a world that’s forever on the cusp of breaking down, you can never be sure how long you’re going to be in there… Getting stuck in a lift is a scenario that can descend into panic or be used to raise a laugh but Mark Watson’s elevated little drama boldly played it both ways, although the accent was on bittersweet British gallows humour. Wisely restricting his characters to a manageable four, Watson mined a lift-shaft of sardonic chuckles as the disparate quartet ranted and reminisced, their barriers of mutual suspicion breaking down without recourse to sloppy sentimentality. Rasmus Hardiker, cornering the market in bug-eyed youth roles, was oddly convincing as a phobic hoodie – ‘man, this is a well phat dilemma, innit’ – but pick of the bunch was Douglas Hodge’s rapidly unravelling suit, a sharp study in suburban frustration.” Metro 15th March 2007

Lift is a small but perfectly formed comedy in which four people are trapped in a lift… Hodge’s exasperation and frantic efforts to keep his sanity provide a great deal of laughter. So does Nina Wadia as a know-it-all and something of an expert at being stuck in lifts.” The Northern Echo, 14th March 2007