Home Television Comedy Wild Wild Women

Wild Wild Women

1 9 6 9 (UK)
7 x 30 minute episodes

This comedy series from BBC1 featured the workers in a Victorian milliners in much the same vein as their earlier sitcom, The Rag Trade.

Paul Whitsun-Jones starred as the sweatshop overseer, Mr Harcourt, with Barbara Windsor (who had also starred in The Rag Trade) as Millie, and Daphne Heard, Pat Coombs, Jessie Robbins and Toni Palmer amongst the girls under his charge.

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As with The Rag Trade, the comedy developed from the conflict between the workers and the management (Harcourt and his apprentice, Albert), but an extra spin was applied to the situation by the atmosphere of female emancipation that was gripping the nation at the time.

Hence the women assumed a new feisty spirit as they slowly shrugged off male domination and began to demand equal rights. English ‘sauce’ was added by way of Harcourt’s lecherous leanings and the women’s frank discussions on subjects once deemed unladylike.

Although energetic and handsomely mounted, Wild, Wild Women failed to attract the same measure of popularity as The Rag Trade and lasted for just one series.

The series was written by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney and stemmed from a Comedy Playhouse production, shown in 1968.

The original pilot production featured a number of actors who did not make it to the eventual series, including Penelope Keith as Daisy and Derek Francis as Mr Harcourt.

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Way down in the regular cast list was Anna Karen (actually Anna Karon in the credits) who Wolfe and Chesney steered to sitcom fame soon afterwards as the dowdy Olive in On The Buses (and also in the 1977-78 ITV revival of The Rag Trade).

TRIVIA
Ken Platt (who played Albert in the series) had previously had the starring role in a single-episode sitcom screened only in local areas by the Midlands/North ITV weekend franchise ABC.

It was titled Daft As A Brush and aired late at night on 2 December 1967. Platt played a painter and decorator who got into trouble with the daughter of a client (played by the lovely Aimi MacDonald). The idea was not developed into a series.

Millie
Barbara Windsor
Mr Harcourt

Paul Whitsun-Jones
Ginnie

Daphne Heard
Daisy

Pat Coombs
Blossom

Jessie Robbins
Ruby

Toni Palmer
Albert

Ken Platt
Flo

Yvonne Paul
Maude

Anna Karen
Mrs Harcourt

Joan Sanderson