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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Middle-class, middle-aged 'Terry Fletcher' ( Terry Scott ) and wife
'June ( June Whitfield ) look forward to a life of domestic bliss now
that the last of their children has gotten married and moved out. But
they have not counted on dotty 'Aunt Lucy' ( Beryl Cooke ) and her
annoying mynah bird 'Gunga Din' moving in.
Possibly because it was the target of a hate campaign in the '80's by the alternative comedy crowd, 'Terry & June' is the better remembered of Scott and Whitfield's sitcoms. Yet 'Happy Ever After', which preceded it, is superior, mainly thanks to Eric Merriman and John Chapman's scripts. Other writers who worked on the show included John Kane, Jon Watkins and Christopher Bond. The Scott character was like an overgrown schoolboy in that he would come up with daft ideas and try - unsuccessfully - to implement them. He was also a bit of a snob - when he got a phone call from a member of the aristocracy, for instance, he got of bed and stood smartly to attention. June was the more level-headed of the two. The disruptive presence of Lucy and her bird in the Fletcher household added to the comedy. Daughters 'Debbie' and 'Susan' were played respectively by Caroline Whitaker and Pippa Page ( Lena Clemo in the pilot ). One episode landed the B.B.C. in hot water; it featured Terry having a nightmare in which he imagined himself in a health farm run like a World War 2 P.O.W. camp. On the night it went out, B.B.C.-1 screened the latest instalment of the American mini-series 'Holocaust'. Viewers complained the sitcom was in bad taste.
'Happy Ever After' ran to five series, and would have run longer had not the writers decided they had had enough. As it was pulling in phenomenal audiences, the B.B.C. refused to let it go, and after a brief legal skirmish, the show was retitled 'Terry & June'. The Fletchers became the Medfords, and poor Aunt Lucy was dropped ( Scott went on 'Multi-Coloured Swap Shop' in the early '80's and, during a phone-in, had to explain to a girl caller why Aunt Lucy was no longer in the show ).
It was the second time this had happened to Merriman; on quitting the writing team of the radio show 'Beyond Our Ken', the wily B.B.C. kept it on air by calling it 'Round The Horne'. John Chapman later went to Thames where he created the equally popular ( and not dissimilar ) 'Fresh Fields' starring Julia McKenzie and Anton Rodgers. 'Happy Ever After' is not available on D.V.D. at the present time.
The superb and gifted Damaris Hayman was in at least two of these episodes. One particular show had her as a fifties 'teddy girl' complete with huge swirling skirt and pony tail! It was fabulously funny! If only the Beeb would release these great shows.. Damaris a great character actress who had a affinity for upper middle class parts like prim neighbours/lady magistrate type parts, but her comical delivery was priceless. She was in countless cameo roles in 60's/70's UK comedy television shows. One very memorable TV part was as Miss Hawthorne in 'Doctor Who' (1971) during Jon Pertwee's era, "The Daemons". I would be happy to hear from fans who think likewise.
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