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Bless This House centres on life in Birch Avenue, Putney, where travelling stationery salesman Sid Abbott (Sidney James) and his wife Jean (Diana Coupland) live with their teenagers: Mike (Robin Stewart) is fresh from art college and more pre-occupied with protests than finding a job; and trendy schoolgirl Sally (Sally Geeson). Sally is 16 and Mike is 18. Sid and Jean constantly battle to comprehend the new generation's permissive ways and are usually out-of-touch. Their neighbours and best friends are Trevor (Anthony Jackson) and his wife Betty (Patsy Rowlands). Written by
1970s generation gap sitcom starring the indomitable (should be Sir)Sidney James
ITV can't make sitcoms, apparently; which is why they rely on bog-standard reality shows like "Celebrity" Love Island (who hell he?) and copious episodes of soap operas. However ITV need to look at its glorious past and the folks at Thames who produced some of the classic comedies of the 1970s- "The Benny Hill Show", "Man About the House", "The Kenny Everett Video Show", and "Bless this House" (we'll forget about the tawdry efforts of "Love thy Neighbour, thank you).
In "Bless this House", we have typical British sitcom fayre; middle-class family in a domestic setting, grumpy dad, stay-at-home mum, and two "teenagers" who, like most TV teens seem a bit long in the tooth. What raises bar in BTH is, undoubtedly, the casting of Sid James as, er, Sid, a middle-aged sales rep who is continually bewildered by the behaviours of his kids- the groovy Mike (Robin Stewart) and the sweetly sexy Sally Geeson, who plays, er, Sally. Diana Coupland completes the complement in her solid portrayal of Sid's long-suffering wife Jean.
Typically, the "sit" for each episode revolves around misunderstandings, Sid trying to negotiate the generation gap, worrying about Mike's sexuality, and trying to shield Sally from an evermore permissive world. Fan's of Sid's "Blimey" and "Oh my Gawd" skills honed in the "Carry on..." films are not disappointed here;James delivers such lines in each episode with his usual aplomb.
Yes, the programme was made on the cheap; and, yes, it does contained some outmoded opinions regarding the "place" of women and sexuality, but hey, I'd rather watch half an hour of the master at work than some non-entities griping on about nothing particularly interesting in an over-hyped non-shag-fest.
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