1 9 8 7 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
The only real reason to watch BBC1’s Divided We Stand – a comedy about warring cockney Bert (Shaun Curry) and his Brummie wife Maisie (Anna Keaveney) living in separate parts of the house divided by a wall – was to spot the lapses in the accents.
Originally the series was to have been set in Liverpool, but what with the Bread family, Cilla Black and other invaders from outer Mersey seeming to take over our screens it was changed to Birmingham. Between the ‘Yow’s and the ‘ectually’s there were a lorra gaffs.
The couple had been married for 17 years but it was a marriage made in hell and slobbish Bert – who operated a mobile greengrocer van – annoyed Maisie with his Oxfam clothes, lack of personal hygiene and penny-pinching ways (he timed her phone calls). He was a CB nut (his handle was “the Lone Ranger”) and he teased Maisie by “eyeballing” a Mancunian lass called “Bird of Paradise”.
The last straw came when he munched crisps through Dynasty – the only bright spot in her life of drudgery and neglect.
Instead of walking out, Maisie built a wall in their through-lounge and drew up a timetable for using other sections of the house. The series followed Bert’s attempts to cross the divide.
A spanner was thrown in the works when their daughter Susan (Michelle Holmes) announced she was pregnant and had to move back in. There was also outrageous next-door neighbour, Rita (Maggie McCarthy), who had a crop of kids and a string of men.
Divided We Stand was written by Myra Taylor, who worked with Carla Lane in the early days of The Liver Birds.