1 9 7 0 – 1 9 7 1 (UK)
24 x 30 minute episodes
A return to situation comedy for Ian Carmichael, following his top-hole role as upper-class ass Bertie Wooster in The World Of Wooster.
Bachelor Father was a family comedy, loosely based on the life of Peter Lloyd Jeffcock, a bachelor foster-father to 12 children who had recounted his story in his autobiography, Only Uncle.
The TV series was written by Carmichael’s Wodehouse adapter Richard Waring, who based some of the plots upon incidents in Only Uncle.
Waring admitted that he would have stuck closer to the original story but for the fact that it was so far-fetched that audiences would have had difficulty believing it – truth in this case clearly being stranger than fiction.
In the series, Carmichael played well-to-do Peter Lamb, who had always wanted a family but failed to strike up a long-lasting romantic relationship. In the first episode, he hit upon the idea of fostering and through the ensuing stories built up his surrogate family of diverse children.
Carmichael was something of a perfectionist and picked his projects carefully – he was not a jobbing actor and had to believe strongly in the worth of the material before accepting a role. Typically, he originated his own projects or became closely involved with the development of any productions in which he was involved.
For this reason, Bachelor Father, although ostensibly a middle-of-the-road family sitcom of no great ambition, came over as a polished and professional piece of work that pleased audiences over two extended series.
Never one to outstay his welcome, Carmichael moved on to fresh challenges when he felt that the idea had been sufficiently explored.
NOTE – This BBC series is unrelated to an American sitcom of the same title, networked in the US by (in turn) CBS, NBC and ABC from 1957 to 1962.
Roland Pickering (1)
Andrew Bowen (2)