Till Death Us Do Part‘s Warren Mitchell heads an outstanding cast as an ambitious but none-too-bright insurance salesman in this sharply scripted comedy of workplace deviousness and one-upmanship.
Fred Midway (Mitchell) will do anything to climb to the top of the corporate tree, and he’s equally keen to bump up his family’s social status, with the devoted help of his dreadful, loving, stupid wife, Hilda (Pat Heywood).
When his aspirations suffer various setbacks, Fred even manages to turn a desperate situation to his advantage – only to be blackmailed by his own son, Tom (Kenneth Cranham) – a real chip off the old block.
In the end, just as it looks as if Fred’s schemes have come to nought, he latches upon the shapely figure of Miss Hardwick (Valerie Leon) – the PA for boss Mr Driver (Frank Thornton) – and comes upon the obvious conclusion. The closing image of Fred laughing in triumph is a truly chilling sight.
Richard Briers is impeccably futile as a randy husband frustrated by his nasty little tease of a wife; Adrienne Posta proves once again that fat, silly girls are much sexier than thin, bright ones; and Bill Fraser looms lugubriously as the button manufacturer set on a knighthood.
Based on BAFTA nominee David Turner’s 1962 stage hit Semi-Detached, which was a great success for Leonard Rossiter in the early sixties.