1 9 7 4 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
This Friday afternoon series from Thames Television presented six standalone half-hour situation comedies for children, with each episode considered as the pilot for a possible new comedy series.
Commander Badman (Friday 24 May) was written by Monty Python man Eric Idle and featured the misdeeds and misfortunes of the titular Commander (Aubrey Woods) who travelled around in his Badmobile (Reg no. EVIL 1) and lived with his partners in crime at 34 Evil Gardens in Twickenham.
Co-stars included David Battley as Boy Wonder (who was nearly 30), Bridget Armstrong as the Commander’s girl, Anthea (“Miss Suburban Sprawl”), and Roland MacLeod as Sgt Henderson, with narration by Idle himself. The director was Darrol Blake.
Football Crazy (31 May) was written by Bob Larbey and John Esmonde, and starred Bob Todd as Arnold Smedley, the manager of an amateur football team who haven’t won a match for three years. When the club decides to dispense with Arnold, he is so upset that his doctor prescribes tranquilisers which leads to complicated situations. The cast also included Liz Gebhardt as Carol, Madge Hindle as Daphne, Joe Dunlop as Spadger, Mike Lucas as Terry and Johnny Vyvyan as Edmeades. The director was Vic Hughes.
Don’t Blame Us (7 June) starred David Wood. Elaine Stritch, Roddy Maude-Roxby, Nigel Pegram, Anne Cunningham and Barry Stanton improvising live theatre from suggestions by a young studio audience. Darrol Blake directed.
Who’s Afraid of The Big Bad Bear? (14 June) was written by Adele Rose and starred Peter Daly as Joe, Lynne Miller as Tess Carter, Barbara Mitchell as Kate Carter, Jane West as Carrie Carter and Harry Towb as Geoff Carter. The director was Leon Thau.
The Molly Wopsy (21 June) starred Tony Maiden as Dinky Dunkley, Aubrey Morris as PC Berry, Jane Powell as Linda Musgrove, Walter Gottell as Sgt Needler, Claire Davenport as Mrs Thompson, Julia Nelson as Mrs Bonnie, Ken Watson as Mr Bonnie and Josie Brady as Mrs James. The show was the first effort by Ron Smith (a man in his fifties who worked on the assembly line at one of the big car factories) and was directed by Stan Woodward.
The episode was developed into a TV series – The Molly Wopsies – which aired in 1976.
Me ‘N Meep (28 June) was written by Shakespearean actor John Kane who starred as “Meep”, a visitor from outer space who befriends two children living with their father in a disused railway station. The cast included Anthony McCaffery as Barney, Leslie Goddard as Cilla, Roy Barraclough as Mr Tomlin, Jack Haig as Grandad, and Alec Bregonzi as Mr Trench. Leon Thau directed.