1 9 8 6 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
A comedy about rival landladies on the ‘Yorkshire Riviera’ with a starring role for Pat Phoenix as battling Bridlington guest house landlady Phyllis Nugent.
Even though Pat joked about possessing a pensioner’s bus pass, she looked her usual glamorous self as the busybody landlady.
Phyllis takes strong objection to the arrival next door of a widow, Miranda Thorpe (Prunella Gee), who has moved to the seaside and opens up her house as a rival B&B.
Every man in the vicinity fancies Miranda, but Phyllis (who runs a “respectable residential private hotel” she has grandly named the ‘Portofino’) considers Miranda a “loose woman” and fears for the area’s refined quality.
This does not stop her noseying around, interfering and gossiping to her heart’s content, especially to her completely hen-pecked hubby, Norman.
Forever associated in viewers’ minds as Elsie Tanner, the scarlet woman from Coronation Street, this was Pat Phoenix’s first major TV role after she quit the street in January 1984.
It was also her penultimate job, for after recording Hidden Talents, a Lynda La Plante TV play, a few months later (screened posthumously), she died of lung cancer on 18 September 1986.
Recording at a real boarding house in Bridlington brought back bitter-sweet memories of days in digs as a struggling actress. “I remember creeping downstairs starving one night and raiding the larder,” she said. “I had a feast of rice, Ovaltine, mustard, gravy browning and a scrape of Cherry Blossom boot polish for good measure”.