1 9 9 3 – 1 9 9 4 (UK)
12 x 50 minute episodes
This Debbie Horsfield-created comedy-drama series moved the common-as-muck Belcher clan into the servants’ quarters of the aristo Tundish family for an offbeat comedy of the classes.
Ronald Pickup starred as the raffish patriarch Roger Tundish – a career diplomat between postings – who had three sons and a daughter-in-law, Joanna (played by Celia Imrie).
Sparks fly in the kitchen one day when her cook walks out, leaving Joanna scurrying down to the local Job Centre to find a replacement. Unfortunately, outrageous punk Pet Belcher (Mossie Smith) is who she ends up with.
The nose-pierced headbanger with black lipstick is the link between the two families. She raises eyebrows when she moves in but the riot really starts when the rest of her relations arrive too.
The Belchers, an unruly mob from a sleazy council estate, pick pockets and burgle houses on nearby posh estates to earn an “honest” living.
Batty old Granny Grogan (Brenda Bruce) and father figure Acky Belcher (Trevor Peacock) – who was invalided out of his job at the local abattoir when 16 tons of beef fell on him – head the clan
He and his three rough-diamond kids loathe the upper class. To them, the distinctly upper-middle-class Tundishes are “off their heads and up their own arses”. But they are just as snobby as their social opposites.
Adulterous pregnancy and murder were among the blackly funny consequences of some strange liaisons and allegiances at crumbling Tundish Hall.
The Riff Raff Element was critically acclaimed but went largely unwatched.
Ambassador Roger Tundish