1 9 7 6 – 1 9 7 9 (UK)
38 x 25 minute episodes
Having just finished six series’ of Man About The House the ultra-prolific writers Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke created two concurrent spin-offs: Robin’s Nest (six more series’) and George And Mildred (five).
This latter one was the more acclaimed of the two, featuring the former landlord and landlady from Man About The House now moved up-market into a new home at 46 Peacock Crescent, Hampton Wick, suburbia.
For Mildred (Yootha Joyce) it is her long-awaited climb up the class structure – she calls it a ‘town house’. For George (Brian Murphy) – lazy, mostly unemployed (he does work for a short while as a traffic warden) and aggressively determined to preserve his working-classness – it is a terraced house.
The comedy centred on three main issues: the couple’s hopeless 25-year marriage in general, Mildred’s sexual frustrations in particular (George has given up on sex completely and contrives any excuse to avoid it) and the class struggle.
This last problem is exacerbated by the posh family next door, the Fourmiles – wife Ann (Sheila Fearn), husband Jeffrey (Norman Eshley) and their brat child, Tristram (Nicholas Bond-Owen) – who are befriended by Mildred but loathed by George.
Sheila Fearn commented at the time; “At long last, I’m middle class. I’ve been 12 years doing Northern sluts and kitchen sink drudges. It’s really progress – by the time I’m 40 I might get a few well-heeled, wealthy upper-crust parts!”
Also appearing occasionally were Mildred’s sister Ethel (Avril Elgar) and her husband, Humphrey (Reginald Marsh), and George’s partner-in-crime – and mastermind of several “get-poor-quick schemes – Jerry (Roy Kinnear).
Mortimer and Cooke also wrote a George And Mildred stage production, which played at the Pier Theatre in Bournemouth in the 1977 summer season, with both Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce appearing.
The TV programme ended only with Yootha Joyce’s sudden death of liver failure four days after her 53rd birthday in 1980. Brian Murphy was at her bedside.
Without question, George And Mildred was, for the most part, a funny sitcom, but once again a spin-off feature film (1980, same stars and director, written by Dick Sharples) was largely an embarrassment.
An American TV version of the series was called The Ropers (itself spun-off from Three’s Company – the US adaptation of Man About The House), in which Norman Fell and Audra Lindley starred as Stanley and Helen, living at 46 Peacock Drive, Chevia Hills.
This was produced by ABC and ran for 26 episodes in 1979-80.
Moving On | The Bad Penny | And Women Must Weep | Baby Talk | Your Money or Your Life | Where My Caravan Has Rested | The Little Dog Laughed | Best Foot Forward | My Husband Next Door | Family Planning | Jumble Pie | All Around the Clock | The Travelling Man | The Unkindest Cut of All | The Right Way to Travel | The Dorothy Letters | No Business Like Show Business | Opportunity Knocks | And So to Bed | I Believe in Yesterday | The Four Letter Word | The Delivery Man | Life with Father | Just the Job | Days of Beer and Rosie | You Must Have Showers | All Work and No Pay | Nappy Days | The Mating Game | On the Second Day of Christmas | Finders Keepers? | In Sickness and in Health | The Last Straw | A Driving Ambition | A Military Pickle | Fishy Business | I Gotta Horse | The Twenty Six Year Itch