Home Television Comedy Mess Mates

Mess Mates

1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 2 (UK)
40 x 30 minute episodes

This show from Granada TV was a very popular sitcom set on the high seas.

The battered old coastal cargo boat SS Guernsey was sailing around Britain, skippered by Captain Biskett (Archie Duncan), a Scotsman whose lofty ambition of commanding a splendid ocean-going liner have been crushed.

Worse still, Biskett was led a sequence of merry dances by his crew, led by the Mate, ‘Tug’ Nelson (Victor Maddern) – the real master of the men.

Ever attempting to outwit the pleasant Captain, Nelson was a schemer, money-maker and womaniser (he knew one in every port) of Bilko-like proportions, endowed with the same gift of the gab talent for talking himself out of sticky situations.

The rest of the crew (who referred to the Guernsey as “The Old Cow”) included the father-of-seven Bosun – and eternal worrier – ‘Croaker’ Jones (Sam Kydd), the happily romantic Scot Willie McGinniss (Fulton Mackay), and the Irishman ‘Blarney’ Finnigan (Dermot Kelly) – fond (as his nickname suggested) of telling outlandish stories.

The second series drew upon the same type of humour but featured a substantially different crew.

Only Biskett and Croaker (newly promoted to Chief Engineer) remained, and a new vessel, the Jersey Lily, which boasted more comfortable quarters.

The new Mate was ‘Dapper’ Drake (Ronald Hines) and the new seamen included ‘Twinkle’ Martin (Michael Balfour) and ‘Fry-Up’ Dodds (Frank Atkinson).

‘Croaker’ Jones
Sam Kydd
Captain Biskett

Archie Duncan
‘Tug’ Nelson

Victor Maddern
Willie McGinniss

Fulton Mackay
‘Blarney’ Finnigan

Dermot Kelly
‘Dapper’ Drake

Ronald Hines
‘Twinkle’ Martin

Michael Balfour
‘Fry-Up’ Dodds

Frank Atkinson