The end of an Ally

My recent trip to Boston made me miss the Boston based TV show Ally McBeal, which was my Wednesday night staple for no fewer than five years. This week, I wanted to reminisce about the quirky American comedy-drama series... At midnight on 30 October 2002, tears cascaded down my cheeks Why? You might well ask. Well let me enlighten you: Wednesday 30 October 2002 marked the conclusion of the fifth and final series of Ally McBeal.

Instead of walking down the aisle with Mr Right - the premise of the programme since day one - Ally ended the series where she started: lacking a bloke and dressed in an extremely short skirt. The non existent skirt was just one of the quirks of this excellent show that gathered an army of fans from the first moment it hit our screens back in 1998. Even after the show began to lose its way, perhaps hastened by the untimely exit of the lush Larry (Robert Downey Jnr, who proved to be fonder of cocaine than Calista), there was much to remember... and not only to remember but celebrate.

Who can forget the unisex toilets: the scene for endless gloriously bitchy cat-fights between Nelle, Ling, Georgia and Ally. Or the bar where Vonda Shepard belted out that theme tune night after night. Then there were the fabulous fantasies. Ally and Billy bathing in a giant cappuccino, the hideous dancing baby, unicorns and legendary soul singer Al Green - who made frequent appearances.

Then there was her memorable co-stars. Ally’s kindred spirit, John Cage: the nose whistling law brain who gathered inspiration from Barry White records and was also an ‘amateur herpetologist’ (that’s frog lover to you and me) who dated a woman with Tourette’s. Richard Fish with his ‘Fish-isms’ and fetish for wattle (the flap of skin that dangles from mature woman’s chins).

Then there was my personal favourite, Larry, the lawyer from Detroit and in the last series, Jon Bon Jovi as Victor the plumber. Let’s not forget, of course, the original Mr McBeal - Billy, who lost the plot and engaged a group of blonde women clad in leather to escort him around the office, in an effort to ‘up his image.’

And that’s only the men! Who can forget some of the wonderful women, who inhabited the Boston law firm? From Elaine, the self confessed slut famous for her face bras to scary Ling, icy Nelle, jealous Georgia, warm Renee and naturally the eccentric Ally (Calista Flockhart) herself. Given that she was supposedly unlucky in love, Ally worked her way through an impressive number of suitors.

Sadly like all good things, Ally McBeal came to an end when it’s maker, Fox, firmly pulled the plug. True the last few years showed the series to be running out of stream. Yet even on its downward spiral, Ally was an original and a thousand times better than anything we Brits put on the box.

 Ally McBeal - I salute you!