1 9 7 7 – 1 9 8 1 (UK)
48 x 25 minute episodes (including Christmas specials)
With George And Mildred successfully spun off from Man About The House, writers Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke turned their attention to Robin Tripp (Richard O’Sullivan), the principal figure in that original series.
There, Robin had been a catering student, living – without sin, to his chagrin – with two girls. In Robin’s Nest, he was a newly qualified chef, living very much in sin with his air hostess girlfriend Vicky Nicholls (Tessa Wyatt, ex-wife of radio DJ Tony Blackburn) in a flat above a Chinese restaurant in Notting Hill.
Keen to open up their own bistro, Robin and Vicky enter into a business partnership with her irascible father James.
Being the co-owner and a very protective parent who – initially, at least – disapproves of his daughter’s choice of boyfriend, James is on the scene all the time as a not-so-silent Silent Partner.
Occasional episodes also featured Vicky’s mother, divorced from James, played first by Honor Blackman and then by Barbara Murray.
Bestowing the series its title, the bistro – situated in the Fulham area of London – is called ‘Robin’s Nest’. Robin and Vicky work there full-time, as does Albert Riddle (David Kelly), a one-armed Irishman with a criminal record, who does the washing-up with more blarney than bubbles.
To play the part of the one-armed dishwasher, Kelly filmed each episode with his left arm bound tightly behind him, and his hand stuffed down the seat of his trousers.
Robin and Vicky were almost married at the end of the first series, and they finally tied the knot at the conclusion of the second.
Vicky gave birth to twins in the fifth series, by which time Mortimer and Cooke had long abdicated the writing role – in the series’ final three years, the pair scripted just one episode.
All the same, by making it clear that Robin and Vicky were unwed yet living and indeed sleeping together, they had scored a first, the ‘common-law marriage’ situation having never been depicted before in a British sitcom.
Special permission had to be sought from the Independent Broadcasting Authority (the commercial TV watchdog in Britain) before the writers were given the go-ahead.
Honor Blackman (1)
Barbara Murray (2)