1 9 9 0 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
Thames Television dug deep into their comedy budget to obtain the services of Hollywood screen actress Anne Bancroft. At £2m Freddie & Max remained Britain’s most expensive TV sitcom until the BBC revived Only Fools and Horses in 2001 at a cost of £3m for three hour-long episodes.
The cynical among us could consider it courageous of Bancroft to fly to London for television and to play a fading screen star.
Spoiled, selfish, and theatrical American star Max Chandler (Bancroft) has lived at the Savoy Hotel for five years while trying to keep up the appearance of being a big name, although her best days are long gone. Despite a discount, though, she is still short of the readies.
Meanwhile, no-hoper street-wise cockney girl Freddie Latham (Charlotte Coleman) – with her ski-jump nose and vulnerable brown eyes – has lost her flat and her lover, and is about to lose her job as a television researcher.
So she cons her way into becoming the star’s secretary and gofer. It is the contrast between the two characters which throws up the comedy.
Bancroft, with a surprising but distinguishing touch of silver to her hair, turned in the kind of performance that her reputation and asking price would expect. But the revelation and mainspring of the comedy came from the lesser-known funny face of London actress Charlotte Coleman, who as Freddie was a little cracker and presumably worked closer to union rates.