1 9 7 3 – 1 9 7 6 (UK)
14 x 30 minute episodes
In the strike-strewn 1970s it was inevitable that a sitcom would use industrial relations as its focus.
Although written by Brennand and Bottomley, the series’ co-star Lance Percival came up with the idea for the show, basing the action at a small Midlands car factory – Cocker’s Components Ltd – and suggesting that worker-management strife should form the hub of the episodes.
Percival played the part of the labour relations officer, Bernard Peck, whose position in the pecking order was uncomfortably between his co-star Henry McGee’s role as managing director of the company, Richard (Dicky) Bligh, and that of the shop-steward Sid Stubbins (Norman Bird).
The factory’s owner, Sir Charles (Charles Lloyd Pack) was a lovable old buffoon who did his best to stay out of the conflict. In one episode, he commissioned his workforce to make a life-size replica of the car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) as a present for his grandchildren.
A decade after The Rag Trade the cry of “everybody out!” was heard in TV comedy once again as the Cockers workers took umbrage against the arrival of new Japanese machinery, the prospect of too little or too much overtime and many other crises.
All concerned would doubtless have been pleased to see, however, that none of the episodes was blighted by the frequent ITV technicians’ strikes that marked the decade.
Richard ‘Dicky’ Bligh
Gordon Rollings (1)
Dudley Sutton (2)
Charles Lloyd Pack
Sir Henry Carmichael
Lynn Smith (1)
Trudi Van Doorn (2)