1 9 8 0 – 1 9 8 3 (UK)
31 x 25 minute episodes
This ITV (Thames TV) production had Robert Gillespie starring as professional cartoonist Dudley Rush.
Eccentric and childlike, Dudley insisted, among other things, on wearing his large-sized lion ventriloquist glove puppet on his hand whenever he was drawing his comic strip – “Barney – Adventures of a Bionic Bulldog”.
Dudley was not at all happy having to spend what he considered valuable time working, and so was always procrastinating, often leading to his being late in meeting his deadline for the comic strip – to the continuing frustration of his long-suffering agent, Duncan Thomas (Glyn Houston).
Duncan frequently visited the Rush family home (in Highgate Avenue, Highgate) to collect Dudley’s latest drawings, and, as it was quite obvious that he was strongly attracted to Dudley’s attractive wife Muriel (Pauline Yates), this often solicited bouts of excessive jealousy on Dudley’s part.
This was fuelled even further by the fact that Duncan also delightedly consumed an excessive number of Muriel’s delicious cakes whenever he visited the Rush family home.
Dudley also had two daughters – 17-year-old Susan (former Black Beauty star Stacy Dorning) and 21-year-old Jacqui (Jenny Quayle at first, and then Sabina Franklyn) – who were the apples of their father’s eye.
When the girls decided to move out, Dudley was understanding, but finding a flat in London is not easy and soon the girls came up with a better alternative – the vacant flat in the basement of their father’s house.
The girls had the best of both worlds with freedom in the security of home, but Dudley, on the other hand, seemed to inherit the worst of both worlds, with the girls constantly tapping him for cash, bringing home unsuitable boyfriends and indulging in reckless pursuits.
Life in the Rush family home was certainly never dull.
The show was later remade in the USA as the ABC television series, Too Close For Comfort – the last regular television appearance by Ted Knight (of Mary Tyler Moore Show fame) who lost his battle with cancer and passed away in 1986.
Jenny Quayle (1)
Sabina Franklyn (2)