1 9 6 6 – 6 7 (UK)
25 x 55 minute episodes
67-year-old Kathleen Harrison starred as Alice Thursday, a cheerful cockney charlady who inherits £10 million and control of a multinational property empire from her late employer, tycoon George Dunrich – along with his Mayfair mansion and his Rolls Royce.
Suave, principled Richard Byron Hunter (Hugh Manning) regularly offered her business and financial advice – but she didn’t always take it. Mrs Thursday did not allow the temptation of money and power to corrupt her generous and common-sense nature.
A gentle and heart-warming comedy from ATV, the show was an instant, if somewhat surprising, success, knocking Coronation Street off the top of the ratings in its very first week.
Kathleen Harrison was as shocked as anyone by her sudden success: “With all those sex and violence plays on TV, I didn’t think there would be parts for people like me”.
Harrison took the role to heart, purchasing all the character’s wardrobe herself, in the process horrifying shop assistants by deliberately buying gaudy clothes.
One drawback to her new-found fame was the fan mail. Nearly all were begging letters from people who thought she really had inherited £10 million.
Harrison continued to appear in films until the late 1970s, living to the ripe old age of 103.
Mrs Thursday was created by Dixon of Dock Green creator Ted Willis, who claimed to have sold the idea to ATV boss Lew Grade in a mere 20 seconds.
Mrs Alice Thursday
Richard Byron Hunter