Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thoroughly Modern Mollie

Sorry about not getting the opportunity to post anything of substance today—as if this blog actually has substance—but has an announcement I thought I would pass along to the Britcom fans of TDOY’s readership (both of whom could fit in a phone booth and have room left over for Mo’nique).

VEI of Toronto is bringing the Mollie Sugden sitcom That’s My Boy (1981-87) to DVD in 2008, though a release date hasn’t been announced at this time. Sugden, as you well know, is an actress beloved by Britcom fans for her portrayal of Betty Slocombe in the Energizer Bunny of UK sitcoms (it just keeps going and going and going…), Are You Being Served? and its follow-up series, Grace and Favour. In Boy, Sugden plays a housekeeper named Ida Willis who enters the employ of young doctor Robert Price (Christopher Blake) and wife Angie (Jennifer Lonsdale)—and soon discovers that Price is the son she gave up for adoption so many years ago. (Let the wacky complications ensue!) Created and written by Pam Valentine and Michael Ashton, it was a highly successful ITV sitcom (produced for Yorkshire Television) which ran for five series (a total of thirty-seven episodes) that also crossed the pond to the U.S. in the wake of Served’s cult following among American audiences, and was even available at one time on VHS. (I know that West Virginia Public Television had Boy on their Saturday morning Britcom schedule some time back; I’ve only seen one episode—a Christmas outing entitled “Cold Turkey” that’s available on a Network DVD Region 2 release entitled Classic ITV Christmas Comedy.)

Scribes Valentine and Ashton were later responsible for another project with Sugden entitled My Husband and I (1987-88), a domestic comedy featuring Mollie and William Moore as a married couple employed at the same advertising firm. Husband, unfortunately, did not achieve the success of Boy—but again, with Sugden in the cast it didn’t much matter because the sitcom also played here in the States (and again, was featured on West Virginia Public Television for a brief time on Saturday mornings). A Christmas-themed Husband episode, “No Place Like Home,” is also available on the ITV Christmas Comedy box set.

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