4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A lovable rogue trying to stay ahead
Enoch Sneed from United Kingdom
19 March 2013
Although it is undeniably a sitcom, 'The Gaffer' has a kernel of truth
which is worth remembering while you laugh.
Fred Moffat runs his own small engineering company somewhere in West
Yorkshire. He lives in an ordinary terraced house, and drives a
clapped-out car full of unpaid parking tickets. His overdrafts have
overdrafts and he is usually just one step ahead of the tax man, the
factory inspector, or the bank manager, or all three at once. His
workforce is work shy and usually wondering if they will be paid this
week. Fortunately, Fred has quick wits and an unending reserve of low
cunning to get out of scrapes, much to the amazement and reluctant
admiration of his buxom secretary, Betty.
Bill Maynard plays Fred to perfection. He may be a rogue and a bit of a
conman but he will do anything to keep his little world afloat, even
getting his hands dirty on the factory floor. He may the gaffer (i.e.,
the boss) but he does actually know about engineering. This is what
gives the show its heart. We know what a struggle it is to keep a small
business going when you're faced with bureaucracy, banks and Bolshie
workers (and a shaky economy - has there been a time since about 1973
when the UK economy wasn't shaky?). You laugh at Fred's scheming while
recognising he is really just trying to survive as well as he can.
This was a good series, if not quite a classic. There were some upsets
during production, and eventually the series came to an end, because
the writer increasingly resented Bill Maynard's tendency to ad-lib
around his scripts (resulting in some slightly flubbed lines and quite
a bit of 'corpsing' by Pat Ashton's Betty). As Bill Maynard is one of
the UK's best-loved and most experienced comedy actors, he might have
been more grateful for the input.
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