Saturday, 22 January 2011


I've just caught the end of 'Terry and June' on some obscure Sky channel whilst doing my usual channel hopping during advert breaks. The conclusion now as it was when I was very young and watching it for when it was first broadcast, remains the same. The word 'horseshit' doesn't seem to do Terry and June justice. Appallingly contrived and utter bollocks seems perhaps more appropriate. It was part of that 1970's English sitcom genre which always left me cold. It just wasn't funny and watching it now many years after it was first broadcast, it still doesn't make me laugh. Embarrassed yes, amused - no. The world of suburban Home Counties sitcom living seemed a million miles away from a young kid brought up in Lancashire. I couldn't get my head around 'housewives' like June Whitfield being fully made-up all day and twittering on about souffles and coffee mornings. Exposure to bumbling golf-playing, Rotary Club husbands wearing beige Farah Pants / cardigans and calling his wife 'darling' just didn't register in my upbringing. I had never seen anyone come home from work and reach for a decanter before mixing a for gin and tonic before settling on the patio. Not only that, the lines always seemed to be delivered in that 50's style 'oops, more tea vicar?' farce-like way which you could see coming like a runaway no.15 bus slamming on the brakes on a patch of black ice. Other sitcoms in this genre and of this time which also left me cold (but were surprisingly popular and gained huge ratings) were:- 

The Good Life 
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin 
George and Mildred
Robin's Nest 
To The Manor Born 
Bless This House 
Bless Me Father 
Never The Twain 



  1. The Good Life and Reggie Perrin were definitely great shows, FFB. I suspect you didn't like them because of the cultural divide between north and south. Middle-class people from London and the Home Counties are probably just irritating to folk in your neck of the woods. I'm surprised you didn't think Margo Leadbetter was funny in a "posh cow" way, though.

  2. Hi GB,
    It's true that Margo Leadbetter's character probably stole the show but the rest of it seemed to me a little.. erm.. twee? I agree that there was undoubtedly a cross cultural divide although some of the 'Northern-based' sitcoms weren't that good either (Bread, Liver Birds, Last of the Summer Wine?). However, from that era, I did find Rising Damp, Porridge, Steptoe and Son and 'Til Death Us Do Part funny.
    Best Sitcoms blog to follow shortly...

  3. Oooh, I love a good list and since I am a working class East Anglian I feel uniquely qualified to butt in at this point. Although I didn't grow up in the 70's, endless BBC re-runs mean that I know many of the series on the list.

    To the Manner Born - funny. Reg Perrin - I appreciate it more every time I see it. The Good Life had its moments and the rest are utter shite. On the other hand, I did used to rather like Bread, so perhaps I'm weird. And I used to love Porridge (although now, I simply cannot think why!) What about Open All Hours, anyone? And Please Sir? Ahhh... this is turning into quite the nostalgic day!

  4. Open All Hours was quite good and I loved Please Sir at time despite the fact all the fifth formers looked about 28! I remember the mousey girl (Maureen?) who had a huge crush on the nervous teacher played by John Alderton. Other reasonably funny sitcoms from the 80's - Duty Free and Just Good Friends? I'd better not mention Love Thy Neighbour and Mind Your Language as they were just wrong on every level.