1 9 8 8 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
This six-part BBC comedy series was set in the Happy Families leafy lanes of the Home Counties where everyone was either incompetent, inclined to stupidity, snobby, well-intentioned, or candidates for the Brian Rix world of farce.
Brian Wilde (ex-Foggy of Last of the Summer Wine) was pompous Major John Wyatt (retired) who looked like a combination of Harry Carpenter and the late Captain Mainwaring. But instead of raising a Home Guard platoon, he launched a Neighbourhood Watch group.
The weakness in the series, written by Miles Tredinnick, was immediately apparent once the Major’s sister Edwina (Anne Ridler) returned home to find she had been burgled and the house completely cleared out.
In the midst of what should be a frightening disaster, she and the Major exchanged laugh lines as they took stock of the situation.
Never mind any semblance of reality – just get the jokes in regardless.
The poor old Major even got arrested while looking for criminals and accused of being a flasher.
Brian Wilde, playing himself, as usual, was a retired insurance man and former soldier living in the once safe village of Bradley Bush (the series was actually filmed on location in Claygate, Surrey).
He boasted that during his Army career he was known as ‘Warrior Wyatt’ – which gave his sister the chance to reply “Worrier Wyatt, always worrying in case he was sent to where the action was.”
Trevor Bannister – once of Are You Being Served? – was the first volunteer for the anti-crime team because he could see a way of selling his company’s burglar alarms and scoring with the ladies. April Walker played a man-hunter keen to be wherever men might be found.
It was a sad and sorry effort all round. Wilde returned to Summer Wine and remained with the series as Foggy Dewhurst for seven more years.
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