This forgotten Thames sitcom grew out of a single pilot shown on 2/10/69, in which Anna Quayle starred as 'Rosemary Pilgrim' and future 'Coronation Street' star Barbara Knox ( credited as 'Mullaney' ) as her friend 'Sylvia Liversedge', a pair of housewives bored with their lives of drudgery who want to be a part of the then-new Women's Lib movement. The trouble was they loved their husbands too much to be able to strike a defiant blow for the female sex, and anyway, they were no good at burning their bras - they only burnt their fingers instead. It was like 'Citizen Smith' in that the main characters also dreamt of changing the world for the better, only to be continually frustrated at every turn.
In March 1970, a series appeared, but neither Quayle nor Mullaney came back. Two former stars of children's television - Julie Stevens ( from 'Play School' ) as 'Rosemary', and Denise Coffey ( from 'Do Not Adjust Your Set' and 'Two D's And A Dog' ) as the renamed 'Brenda Liversedge' replaced them. Stevens and Coffey came across almost as female versions of Laurel and Hardy. Brenda was daft and knew it, while Rosemary was daft and did not. The husbands - 'George Pilgrim' and 'Harold Liversedge' - were played by Robin Parkinson and Peter Baldwin ( another future 'Street' star. He was 'Derek Wilton', wimpy husband of dithering Mavis ).
The show was by Adele Rose, a staff writer on 'Coronation Street' who also dipped her toe in the world of comedy from time to time, penning episodes of 'The Dustbinmen' among other things. As a spoof of Women's Lib, it caught the mood of its time perfectly. It is a pity it is incomplete ( only two of its twenty-two episodes survive ) as I think it would be interesting to view now from a historical perspective. Feminists could not have been too offended as it ran to three series in all, plus two short sketches on I.T.V.'s 'All-Star Comedy Carnival' on Christmas Day 1970 and 1971.
I wonder what Rosemary and Brenda would have said had known that the feminism they so eagerly espoused forty years ago would eventually lead to ( shudder ) 'Sex & The City'? Before I sign off, I must mention the show's memorable title sequence. Each episode opened with a sports car speeding along a deserted road. It screeches to a halt, a chauffeur steps out, and hands a bottle of champagne to Rosemary, looking elegant in furs and jewellery. Butterfingers that she is, she drops it - but the bottle that shatters on the road contains nothing more exciting than milk. Rosemary had been buying from the milkman and gotten caught up in a daydream. The jump was fantasy to reality was beautifully executed. If this opening smacked slightly of 'The Avengers' it may have been meant to - Julie Stevens played John Steed's sidekick 'Venus Smith' in the second season of the world-famous adventure series.
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