1 9 7 1 – 1 9 7 3 (UK)
47 x 30 minute episodes
2 x short specials
This LWT spin-off series from Please, Sir! (1968 – 1972) followed the lives and loves of the ex-students of class 5C from Fenn Street Secondary Modern School.
Having so resolutely avoided any school work, the rowdy youths were now cast into the harsh world, forced to make ends meet.
So here they were all again, engaging in dole-signing, brushes with the law, birds, booze, strippers, shoplifting and, yes, some honest toil too.
Boutique worker Sharon (now played by the delicious Carol Hawkins, who had appeared in the role in the Please, Sir! movie) and Duffy – who was working for a building firm – continued the very bumpy relationship they had started in the third year at school, becoming engaged at the end of the second series, and marrying in the third.
Frankie Abbott – now calling himself ‘Hank’ Abbott – continued to live out his comic book fantasies, fashioning himself as a clumsy, over-disguised amateur detective and having a relationship with Maureen, a trainee nurse.
Craven became a wide boy, working for a cockney crook called Bowler, who had fingers in all manner of nefarious pies and was definitely lord of the local manor. Dennis (Peter Denyer) got a job as a groom at the local brewery.
Without the constant presence of teachers (although John Alderton did make occasional guest appearances as their former teacher, Bernard Hedges) The Fenn Street Gang didn’t amount to much. There were some good lines and ideas but the total was often crass, and the exaggerated, poorly acted cockney swagger of the ‘kids’ swiftly palled.
George Baker was cast as Craven’s boss and the role was so successful that it led to a spin-off series, Bowler. There were plans too for a spin-off for detective Frankie ‘Hank’ Abbott and his mum, but this failed to materialise.
Liz Gebhardt was diagnosed with cancer and admitted to hospital in the summer of 1996. She died in August, aged just 51. During her cancer treatment, she sustained injuries from radiotherapy.
Malcolm McFee died on 18 November 2001 at the age of 52. He had been suffering from cancer.
Leon Vitali (1)
Malcolm McFee (2)