Rosie (Una Stubbs) is a heavily pregnant Scouse girl who has come down to London – unannounced – to stay at the home of her Aunt Annie (Diana Dors) for the night.
Possessed of a vivid imagination and full of tall tales, Rosie claims the baby’s father is a Mr Perfect type and that she is en route to a bright future with him in Amsterdam.
Unfortunately, Aunt Annie already has a lodger – Harry (Ivor Burgoyne), an uptight, sexually repressed Southerner – who is bound to object to sharing a bedroom for the night with an unwed mother to be.
Set over just one night, comical misunderstandings ensue, accompanied by lots of chatter about the permissive society, free love, sex before marriage, the generation gap, and the North/South divide.
There are also some fantasy segments, with Rosie imagining her dream man (played by Stubbs’ real-life husband, Nicky Henson) as a biker, a hippie and a movie star; Harry dreaming that he’s being chased around a building site by a man in drag (whilst wearing only a cardboard box); and Rosie convincing herself that Harry is a vampire who prowls around graveyards at night.
Diana Dors presents both a sexual and grotesque figure as a middle-aged man-eater hobbling around with a walking stick and one leg in plaster, but still shamelessly flaunting herself in a baby doll nightie.
Rare excursions outside the house paint London as a dirty, unfriendly place to be: Rosie is hassled by a drunk at an Underground station whilst en route to her Aunt’s, and Harry visits a late-night greasy spoon cafe where eternal jack-the-lad Johnny Briggs threatens to give him a “knuckle sandwich” for looking at his ‘bird’.
Eventually, Rosie and Harry strike up a friendship after she admits to suffering a background of abuse as a child and that her pregnancy is the result of rape by her abusive boyfriend. It transpires that Harry isn’t the middle-aged virgin who has never slept with anything other than a hot water bottle, either.
Equal parts bedroom farce and working-class miserablist drama, Bedtime with Rosie did not trouble the box office or find any substantial audience in 1975 and appeared briefly on video in the early 1980s.
Ivor Burgoyne (who often appears to be channelling Harold Steptoe here) was a little known Welsh actor whose career consisted of television bit-parts and Northern theatre. Here he wrote the story and script and played the lead role (the first and only time in his career he had a starring role).
Man in Cafe