After quitting her role as Angie Watts in 'Eastenders', the stunningly beautiful Anita Dobson ( wife of Brian May, the rock guitarist from Queen ) moved into sitcom territory. In 'Split Ends', she played Cath Gordon, owner of the thriving hair styling salon Teasers. The first episode sees her becoming engaged to American businessman Clint but also has feelings for the salon's senior stylist, the noticeably better looking David.
Cath also has trouble keeping her staff in line who include the lovelorn Aretha ( Nimmy March ), effeminate Herbie ( the underrated Robin Davies ) and vulgar YTS trainee Lee ( Lee Whitlock ). As well as problems with her staff, Cath also comes under pressure from her interfering mother Ruth ( the late Barbara New ) who does not hesitate to give her daughter her advice or opinions regarding her choices in life, whether she wants them or not.
'Split Ends' I thought was a great little series, but sadly viewers found it hard to accept the lovely Anita in a role other than Angie Watts. The series was mostly written by Len Richmond although one episode was written by Jan Etherington and Gavin Petrie and another by Bernard Dempsey and Kevin Sperrin. The episodes boasted some wonderful one-liners, such as Ruth wondering why Cath never came to ask her about reproduction, to which Cath responds: ''Because if you had your way, the birds and the bees would be wearing underwear!''. Also funny was an elderly customer barking orders at Aretha to make her look like Margaret Thatcher. Aretha responds: ''I'm a hair stylist, not a stone mason!''. Anita Dobson sang the show's lovely theme tune, 'Second Thoughts'.
Whilst Dobson was indeed the stand-out in the cast, Peter Blake impressed much as the handsome David, as did Robin Davies as Herbie. Barbara New specialised in playing domineering matriarchs. Many may remember her as Mrs. Olthwaite from the 'Ripping Yarns' edition 'The Testing Of Eric Olthwaite'. Harry Ditson irritated me as the smarmy Clint though. No wonder Cath wanted to ditch him for David.
'Split Ends' unfortunately never found an audience and so Granada Television canned it after only one series. It was repeated once in the late '90's on Granada Plus but has not seen the light of day since and at present is not available on DVD. Perhaps one day Network may rescue the show from the archives and let it reach a new audience.
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