1 9 7 1 – 1 9 7 6 (UK)
65 x 30 minute episodes
A traditional British domestic sitcom dealing with ‘the generation gap™’ (which was also the title of the premier episode) and ‘the battle of the sexes™’.
Cheery, pipe-chewing Londoner Sid Abbott was a middle-aged sales rep for a stationery company who alphabetically listed his hobbies as “Ale, Birds and Chelsea”.
Sid and family lived in Birch Avenue, Putney, where Sid was constantly troubled by his work-shy son, Mike and teenage schoolgirl daughter, Sally (Corr!).
His long-suffering wife, Jean, just long-suffered. Mike (trendily garbed in beads and Afghan coat) had just left art college and was far too busy protesting about this and that to find himself a job, and with-it Sally, the apple of her father’s eye, was in the final year of grammar school.
Sadly, their 1970s morals and vices were a touch too daring for their rather staid parents, who were constantly bemused at the permissive society and seldom failed to jump to the wrong conclusion (Sid must have said “Oh my gord” in every episode!).
Plots incorporated all the standard sitcom situations: misunderstandings, small lies growing out of all proportion, conclusion jumping, fantastic coincidences and pride-fuelled fiascos – but it was all delivered with a rude energy and helped along by Sid James’s and Diana Coupland’s likeable screen personae.
The role of Sid Abbott was custom-built for James ( a veteran of over 250 films, including 21 of the Carry On films). Actress Sally Geeson (who played Sally) appeared with James in Carry On Abroad (1972) and was the sister of film actress, Judy Geeson.
Other regular characters were next-door neighbours Trevor, Sid’s drinking pal at the Hare & Hounds (on Clapham Common in South London) and his nagging wife Betty (Patsy Rowlands).
Snubbed by critics but a big ratings success, the show’s writers included Vince Powell and Harry Driver (who also wrote Love Thy Neighbour and Never Mind The Quality, Feel The Width) and Carla Lane (The Liver Birds and Bread).
The theme tune was written by Geoff Love, and a feature film version was released in 1972, made by the Carry On producer Gerald Thomas and scripted by Dave Freeman.
The weaker film version starred all of the Abbott family except Robin Stewart, who was replaced by Robin Askwith from the Confessions Of… movies.