Home Television Comedy Bounder, The

Bounder, The

1 9 8 2 – 1 9 8 3 (UK)
14 x 30 min episodes

Howard Booth (Peter Bowles) is a Raffles-like cultured cad, newly released from open prison after serving two years for fraud. Sadly, jail has not altered him one jot, a fact that does not go unnoticed by his much put-upon brother-in-law Trevor Mountjoy (George Cole), local estate agent and dour pillar of the business community.

Howard moves in as the Mountjoys’ lodger, a stay encouraged by his sister Mary (Trevor’s wife), whom he manages to wrap around his finger.

As the title suggests, Howard is a bounder through and through, pathologically compelled to lie, cheat and deceive, suckering men and women alike, all of whom fall for his suave manner and Savile Row suits.

One person not so easily conquered, however, is Laura, an attractive widow who lives next door to the Mountjoys and whom Howard pursues because she’s wealthy.

The Bounder began while its star, Peter Bowles, was still appearing in another Eric Chappell creation, Only When I Laugh (indeed, Bowles told Yorkshire TV he’d only commit to another run of OWIL if he was also given his own series), and it returned George Cole to sitcoms, otherwise best known at this time for his wonderful portrayal of Arthur Daley in Thames’ light-drama series Minder.

An American adaptation of The Bounder was made and screened but failed to develop into a full series. CBS aired the pilot – also called The Bounder – on 7 July 1984, with Michael McKeown as Howard, Jeannette Arnette as his sister Bonnie, Richard Masur as her husband Charles and Francine Tacker as Laura, the next-door lovely.

Howard Booth
Peter Bowles
Trevor Mountjoy

George Cole
Mary Mountjoy

Rosalind Ayres
Laura Miles

Isla Blair