I liked the late Leslie Crowther very much, whether it was as one of the cast of 'Hi! Summer', partnering Peter Glaze in 'Crackerjack!' or co-star of 'My Good Woman' ( he and Sylvia Syms played husband and wife ). But the A.T.V. sitcom 'Big Boy Now!' did him absolutely no favours, playing like a middle-class version of 'Steptoe & Son', only with the gender of the parent reversed. Leslie had worked with writer Ronnie Taylor before on the aforementioned 'My Good Woman'. 'Big' cast him as 'Tony Marchant', a middle-aged estate agent still living at home with his mother, the domineering Heather ( Fabia Drake ), who thinks he is still her 'little boy'. To break her hold on him, he tries to forge a relationship between her and Captain Edgar Merchant ( Derek Farr ) in the hope he will marry her. Ronald Lewis played Tony's brother 'Roy' in the first year.
Each week, Tony met an attractive woman ( such as say Hilary Pritchard ) and begin courtship, only for Mummy to scupper his chances of marital bliss. Crowther was hopelessly miscast, and was not helped by the joke-free scripts or the obvious ( and annoying ) canned laughter. You wondered why Tony didn't push the old girl down the stairs, and plead justifiable homicide.
Another problem the show had was that it was going out around the same time as 'My Brother's Keeper', a George Layton/Jonathan Lynn sitcom which also cast them as men too embarrassed to tell their mothers they have grown up. The Ronnie Corbett show 'Sorry!' later reused the basic idea to considerably better effect. Critics tore 'Now!' to shreds, but the ratings were good. A.T.V. finally saw the light, however, axing it after two seasons. The series no longer resides in the archives, having been wiped shortly after transmission.
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