1 9 7 7 – 1 9 7 8 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
A sci-fi sitcom from the BBC featuring many of the actors who had appeared, or would later appear, in other productions from the Jeremy Lloyd/Jimmy Perry/David Croft theatre of comedy.
These included Mollie Sugden (Are You Being Served?), Ian Lavender (Dad’s Army), Donald Hewlett and Michael Knowles (whose characters were based on their It Ain’t Half Hot Mum personae) and Gorden Kaye (‘Allo ‘Allo!).
Like Dad’s Army and It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, Come Back Mrs Noah was another period piece, but this time the period was the future – the year 2050.
Mollie Sugden played Mrs Gertrude Noah, a housewife who won a cookery competition where the prize was to be shown around Britain’s new Space Exploration Vehicle, the space station Britannia Seven.
In the pilot episode, a series of mishaps result in the craft accidentally blasting off, with Mrs Noah and the station’s skeleton crew catapulted into outer space. The full series followed the attempts to bring Mrs Noah and the errant craft back to Earth.
Not without good reason, Come Back Mrs Noah has been cited in some quarters as one of the worst British sitcoms of all time, but there were some funny lines.
Especially good were the Earth news bulletins read by Gorden Kaye (pictured below left) which reported on a future where Britain’s North Sea oil revenues had re-established it as the most prosperous and successful nation on the planet, with once-powerful economies like Germany and the USA struggling to survive and turning to the UK for assistance.
Overall though, the series fared pretty badly, failing to take off with an audience who found the quantum leap of fantasy required to accept Mollie Sugden as an astronaut light-years beyond their capabilities. The show survived only one short season.
Released in the US as Operation Noah.
Mrs Gertrude Noah