1 9 7 3 (UK)
6 x 60 minute episodes
This six-part anthology series from the BBC presented a nice line in black comedy penned by some of the best names in the business: Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Philip Mackie, Hugh Leonard, Julian Mitchell, Michael O’Neill, Jeremy Seabrook and Henry Livings.
In the first episode, the Secrets chocolate factory receives an unexpected sales boost when three maintenance workers fall into the boiling chocolate vat and are fed through the production line.
Although factory boss Cyril Rose (Warren Mitchell) is initially horrified, the chocolates prove a huge success and “We are putting people into our Secrets” becomes a national slogan.
The Middle-of-the-Road Roadshow for All the Family
A Wardour Street film tycoon (Bill Fraser) hires the wrong writer to script The Six Loves of Queen Anne and pays him a massive advance of £500,000.
But NJ has inadvertently hired not Robert Bolt but Robin Bolt (Stephen Moore) – writer of two episodes of Coronation Street. “Hello Annie luv. You know I’m right fond of thee”.
Wealthy Johann Schultz lies close to death in an Irish monastery and his vulture in-laws begin to gather.
But “Johann” is actually Adolf Hitler and an array of odd characters are assembled to see what they may inherit. These include a sex-mad solicitor disguised as a bishop (Philip Stone), a prostitute disguised as a nun (Brenda Fricker), a sadistic Special Branch man in permanent fear of his life (Geoffrey Golden), and his sexy but stupid wife (Maureen Aherne).
Written by Hugh Leonard, most of the jokes hinged on double entendres of a blasphemous or sexual nature.
A deadly flu bug threatens to wipe out the world. A British-made drug can cure the flu, but it leaves the takers impotent. Written by Julian Mitchell.
John Le Mesurier
Soap Opera in Stockwell
Baby Craigie (wearing a romper suit nicked from Marks by his Nan who works there part-time) is snatched from outside a washeteria in Stockwell where the natural depravity of the regulars is such that the manageress has “a list as long as my arm of people who’ve been banned for life” from the launderette.
When a ransom note is found demanding £13.50, one of the launderette regulars (almost all male actors in drag) remarks truthfully that they don’t want much and another, with equal truth, that Craigie isn’t worth much more.
A shady property developer takes on a butler to impress his guests. Unfortunately, the butler thinks he is being paid for an altogether different job. Written by Henry Livings.
Sir John Roe