1 9 8 4 – 1 9 9 4 (Australia)
42 x 30 minute episodes
An Australian sitcom in which the elderly Maggie Beare (Ruth Cracknell) may be showing signs of vagueness (she forgets that she stores her life savings in a tea pot and tries to defrost the freezer with an iron) but is still sharp enough when it comes to getting what she wants, usually at the expense of her devoted younger son Arthur (Garry McDonald).
Her other son Robert (Henri Szeps) is usually scheming to deceive his wife Liz (Judy Morris) with another woman.
Manipulative Maggie adores Robert although self-centred Robert will stop at nothing to avoid assisting the long-suffering Arthur to look after Maggie.
Loosely based on the cult Carl Reiner comedy feature Where’s Poppa?, Mother and Son became an instant success when it was first shown in 1984, continuing through six series for nine years to become the most successful situation comedy ever produced in Australia. The programme won many awards and was sold around the world.
Until her death in 2002, Ruth Cracknell who plays the devious and manipulating Maggie Beare, was one of Australia’s best-loved performers, with a huge acting career that spanned more than 50 years and included radio, theatre, films and television.
Garry McDonald, who plays Arthur, took many years to throw off the association with his Norman Gunston character – ‘the little Aussie bleeder’ – from the ABC cult comedy show of the mid-1970s. Playing the long-suffering Arthur Beare in Mother and Son allowed him to finally leave Gunston behind.
The interior set of the Beare family home was at the ABC Studios at Gore Hill in Sydney. Exteriors of the house were filmed at 16 Rickard Street, Rodd Point.
A British version of Mother and Son was produced by the BBC in 1997, starring Stephanie Cole in the lead role. Despite running for two seasons, Keeping Mum was not particularly successful.