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After years of working with David Croft writing shows such as 'Dad's Army' and 'It Ain't Half Hot, Mum!', Jimmy Perry tried to go it alone. His first solo creation was 'Room Service', which starred Bryan Pringle as the conceited head of the room service department in a five-star hotel. 'Room Service' was panned widely by the critics and after a short run of seven episodes was swiftly dropped. It is hardly surprising as it was a fairly boring show. It was like 'Fawlty Towers' gone wrong! Charles Spooner is the put upon manager of the room service department of a swanky hotel where the staff are so incompetent as to defy description. That's about all there really is to tell. Each of the episode's sees the characters caught up in a plethora of less than hilarious comic misunderstandings.
In the pilot, Spooner is played by Derek Newark ( who coincidentally played a character named 'Spooner' in 'Rising Damp' ), though he did not hang around for the series ( perhaps sensing that the show was a wasted effort ). Instead, Bryan Pringle ( who had avoided doing sitcom since 'The Growing Pains of P.C Penrose' in 1975 ) was given the job. Spooner was similar in style to Basil Fawlty in that he was pompous, hot-heated and even cowardly, though Pringle lacked in spades the likability that John Cleese brought to his role.
Jimmy Perry's scripts featured far too few genuinely funny gags. Also, Perry thoughtlessly included far too many characters, one of which looked like a rip-off of Andrew Sachs' Manuel. The main problem however was the use of annoying canned laughter, appearing in the most inappropriate of places.
I have no idea how 'Room Service' ended as I very quickly lost interest after the first few episodes. The same year this went out, 'Fawlty Towers' was given its second series. I'll let you work out for yourself which was the more successful.
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