1 9 8 7 – 1 9 8 8
13 x 30 minute episodes
A BBC sitcom with an intriguing premise, looking at the pressures put upon one spouse by the sudden financial success of the other.
Former Goodies star Tim Brooke-Taylor was cast as Tom Hammond, who has motored along nicely for 20 years with his wife Alice (Diane Keen). They have twin 18-year-old children and a moderate but comfortable lifestyle.
A budding writer, Alice suddenly achieves success when her sexy blockbuster novel becomes a best-seller.
In a moment, it seems, the Hammonds are very wealthy, but this financial influx has a pronounced downside – While Tom is thrilled for and proud of his wife and her new-found success, his role in the marriage changes; he is suddenly a bit-part player in her success story, a spectator on the sidelines as she rides the roller coaster to fame and fortune.
To exacerbate matters, Alice’s literary agent, Miranda (Sheila Steafel) is a hard-bitten husband-hater who regards Tom as a millstone around her protégé’s neck. She urges Alice to move on to ‘better things’.
Alice’s meteoric rise also pulls Tom’s career in bathroom fittings sharply into focus – it seemed fine beforehand, but now he realises that it is going nowhere and he is filled with a sense of hopelessness, unassuaged by his boss Gerald (Garfield Morgan) – a man obsessed with cisterns and s-bends.
All these factors sit alongside an even greater concern that dogs Tim’s consciousness: where did his wife get the inspiration for her steamy sex scenes? Did she do research? And if so, with whom?
You Must Be The Husband was a good idea that didn’t quite gel, despite the reliable casting.
The basic theme, although sharp, never quite developed over the episodes, with Tom caught in a trap of perpetually fearing that his wife was conducting an affair, despite evidence to the contrary and Alice’s attempts to convince him that she still loved him.