George And Mildred (ITV, 1976-1979)
Following the end of the successful ITV sitcom Man About The House in 1976, there were two spin-off series. One was Robin’s Nest, which I haven’t seen so much of, but I do know that some indie band in the 90s recorded a version of the theme, and it was the B-side to one of their singles, which seemed a rather unusual move, and incredibly this didn’t turn them into chart stars.
The other one was George And Mildred. They have been married for about 25 years, when they move house to somewhere rather fancy in London. Mildred is pleased about this, but George doesn’t seem to be that impressed by the upmarket change though, not planning on changing his ways, and he does little work, beyond occasionally being a traffic warden.
The other regular cast members are their new neighbours, the Fourmiles. They seem to be the perfect family, happily married with a son, and unsurprisingly it’s Mildred who becomes fond of them, especially when compared to George’s indifference. There were 38 episodes of George And Mildred in five series, and they have all been released on DVD. There was also a brief stage show.
After the final series, this became another sitcom that kept up the two traditions that many others had during this era. Firstly, there was a film version, and secondly, this was considered to be far inferior to the TV version. Although this does seem to be shown every other day on the London Live channel in the afternoon lately, but this never seems to get any better.
There’s little doubt that this was one of the better sitcoms of the era though. There were plans to make a sixth series, but after the death of Yootha Joyce in 1980, this guaranteed that the film was the end, and brought things to a rather disappointing close. But there were several repeat runs on ITV, with some episodes still being shown a decade later in a primetime slot.
The American equivalent of this was The Ropers, which ran for one series, and has not been shown in the UK. Brian Murphy has continued to remain a familiar face in comedy, going on to appear in several other sitcoms, including One Foot In The Grave and Last Of The Summer Wine, but the peak of his career has got to be CITV’s Wizadora. The repeats continue to this day on ITV3.