|The Balowski Family|
Throughout the two series, Alexei Sayle routinely appeared as many different characters, interjecting his own material into the programme in ways that emulated his stand-up comedy routines. His main role was that of the flat's landlord Jerzei (Jeremy) Balowski, which was the only character he reprised, appearing in "Demolition", "Flood" and "Summer Holiday". The rest of the time, he was billed as playing various male members of "The Balowski Family", including nephew Alexei Balowski (a protest singer), son Reggie Balowski (an international arms dealer and French Cabaret chanteuse), brother Billy Balowski (a lunatic who believed he was a taxi driver), cousin Tommy Balowski (a drunk), escaped convict Brian Damage Balowski, and a medieval jester "Jester Balowski" (with Helen Lederer as his sidekick).
Jerzei was apparently Russian, however several times during the series he would break character, or in one case the fourth wall and declare directly to the camera "I'm not really foreign, you know." Also during a discussion between the guys about his nationality Vyvyan comments "He certainly knows a lot about the Mersey sound." - implying he is in fact from Liverpool.
In the second series, Sayle's characters also included a train driver, a Benito Mussolini look-alike (by day the head of the local police force, by night an entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest), and "Harry the Bastard" (manager of the local Rumbelows store, disguised as a South African vampire).