1 9 7 9 (UK)
7 x 30 minute episodes
This 1979 Thames Television comedy series was written by Jimmy Perry without his usual writing partner David Croft. It’s probably kindest to say they obviously worked better together!
Charles Spooner (Bryan Pringle) was the put upon manager of the room service department of a swanky London hotel (whose resemblance to a well-known former dictator may or may not have been intentional).
His incompetent staff – some of them foreign – included urgent telephonist Marlene (Penelope Nice), dynamic and volatile head waiter Aldo (Freddie Earlle), sultry sandwich-maker Freda (Judi Maynard) and the splendidly ebullient Mrs McGregor (Jeillo Edwards).
The initiation of newcomer Dick Sedgewick (Matthew Kelly) provided a useful means of acquainting the audience with character and situation.
The script – relying heavily on standard double entendres – tried too hard to be funny (and failed), the situations were cliched and the over-enthusiastic cast just seemed embarrassing. There were too many characters and not enough jokes.
The critics dismissed it as one of the worst TV sitcoms ever made and the series was dropped after seven episodes.
Aldo de Vito