Home Television Comedy Citizen James

Citizen James

1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 2 (UK)
32 x 25 minute episodes

This BBC comedy series was a superb vehicle for Sid James – Essentially a spin-off from the character played by James in Hancock’s Half Hour.

When Tony Hancock famously decided that he no longer required the services of a regular supporting cast, and so dispensed with his long-time sparring partner Sid James, the BBC offered the actor a series of his own, to be written for him by Hancock’s writers Galton and Simpson.

The Sidney Balmoral James in Citizen James was a variation on the Hancock’s Half Hour character: a fast-talking, quick-thinking gambler with an eye for a buck and a tendency to become involved in dubious schemes.

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Initially, James was supported in his new venture by another former member of the Hancock rep, Bill Kerr, cast as his keen henchman, and by Liz Fraser, as James’s marriage-craving, seven-year fiancée (who was also the owner of a drinking club).

The second series transformed him into a well-meaning but bungling do-gooder, and by the third series, Sid had undergone a complete transformation and was now a defender of the underdog and champion of all lost causes, now aided by pal Charlie Davenport (Sydney Tafler).

Citizen James certainly wasn’t a classic, but it was an entertaining vehicle for the popular James, whose trademark cackle brightened up many a cold, dark winter’s evening at the start of the 1960s.

TRIVIA
Sid James’s next major TV venture, also for the BBC, was a drama series, Taxi!, in which he was cast as a London cabbie, Sid Stone. Although some of the stories were lightly humorous this was certainly no comedy, and thus it was a real departure for the Carry On and Hancock star.

Sid 
Sid James
Bill 

Bill Kerr
Liz 

Liz Fraser
Charlie Davenport 

Sydney Tafler 

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