Home Television Comedy High Street Blues

High Street Blues

1 9 8 9 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes

A supermarket chain wants to expand one of its stores but four, long-established shops – a cobbler, a florist, a wool shop and a junk shop – are in the way of the expansion plan. The supermarket bosses try to buy up the shops to pull them down; the shopkeepers don’t necessarily want to sell.

To get the shopkeepers out, the tough non-nonsense managing director of Waverley’s the supermarket chain (Shirley Dixon) is prepared to use any means – fair or foul. Her Dirty Deeds Department – Valentine (Martin Turner) and Sharpe (Johnny Shannon) – would prefer they were foul.

Chesney Black (Ron Pember) runs a junk shop called the Safari Trading Post and would sell his grandmother if it offered the chance to make a quick profit.  He is keen to sell to the supermarket – at the right price. He talks big but his hot-blooded but scatty younger girlfriend. Sheila (Eve Bland) reckons there’s not enough action.

Rita Franks (Valerie Walsh) is a glamorous, well-dressed florist in her 40s. She’ll sell her business, which is thriving, but only if the price is right. She spends an awful lot of her time gossiping and giving advice to friends on the phone. She’s the stereotypical Jewish mother to her daughter and business partner, Paula (Georgia Mitchell – the TV debut of Warren Mitchell’s daughter).

Mavis Drinkwater (Elizabeth Stewart) owns the wool shop which has been in her family for as long as anyone can remember – and she has worked in it for as long as anyone can remember too. To some, she’s a nice old lady. To her niece, Susan (Victoria Hasted) she’s an annoying and infuriating old spinster who could quite easily ruin Susan’s life by refusing to sell her business.

Susan is a plain, dowdy girl in her 20s whose dream is to open a lively boutique in the new shopping centre. Her nightmare is that she will end up as dotty as her aunt if she doesn’t get out of the wool shop.

Charlie McFee (Phil McCall) is the dour old Scot who runs the cobblers which was run by his father before him. He refuses to sell because the shop really is a little goldmine. He’s the chairman of the Shopkeepers’ Association and most definitely set in his ways.

He’s also grumpy and strict with his 16-year-old assistant, Bob Farthing (Chris Pitt) – a likeable lad who is learning the shoe trade, works extremely hard and is very eager to learn, but disagrees with Charlie on most things.

This London Weekend Television series was written by Jimmy Perry (of Hi-De-Hi and Dad’s Army fame) and Robin Carr, who also directed.

Charlie McFee
Phil McCall
Chesney Black
Ron Pember
Eve Bland
Mavis Drinkwater
Elizabeth Stewart
Susan Drinkwater
Victoria Hasted
Rita Franks
Valerie Walsh
Paula Franks
Georgia Mitchell
Bob Farthing
Chris Pitt
Martin Turner
Johnny Shannon
Managing Director
Shirley Dixon