1 9 8 5 – 1 9 8 6 (UK)
13 x 30 minute episodes
A group of young church wives develop a crush on the new dishy vicar at St Anselm’s in this ITV sitcom. Steven Pacey played the unsuspecting Reverend Clifford James whose every glance turns the group of virtuous young wives to jelly.
Annette Badland starred as the fat and frumpy Christine; Carol MacReady was snooty chairman Margaret; her rival, Mary the Treasurer was played by Maureen Beattie; Patricia Brake was intelligent young Cherry; Liz Gebhardt (from Please Sir! and The Fenn Street Gang) was the deeply religious Annette, and Diana Weston played the ever-flirting Fiona.
The randy choirmaster Harry Price was played by Robert Blythe.
Charitable though the St Anselm’s Young Wives Group are, there is one person to whom their charity does not extend – the Church Hall caretaker, Rosita Pearman (Anna Karen from On The Buses), a fearsome woman whose only claim to spiritual knowledge comes out of a bottle.
The series was filmed on location in the Nottingham area (St Anselm’s was actually St Helen’s Parish Church in Stapleford) and at the Central Television studios. Writer Joan Greening based Troubles and Strife on her own experiences as a member of a Church Young WIves’ Group.
Although reactions to the initial six episodes were mixed at best (The Guardian called it “insufferable” and church groups and women’s libbers slammed it for being sexist and insulting), a second set of seven episodes was produced in 1986, adding the new regular characters of the vicar’s glamorous new housekeeper, Sophie (Victoria Williams), and her fella, Christopher (Mike Grady).
Rev. Clifford James
Unlocking the Door | Loving and Giving | Rooms to Let | Floral Dismay | Chills and Thrills | Incendiary Devices || A Change of Heart | Tax Invasion | A Lot of Bottle | The Horse’s Tale | Seeing Is Believing | Pilgrim’s Progress | Joined Together