Windsor Davies found time to venture out of the jungles of Deolali, India for this guest appearance in the hit I.T.V. sitcom 'Billy Liar'. Bored with working as a clerk at Shadrack & Duxbury's funeral parlour, Billy ( Jeff Rawle ) decides to go after a job he has seen advertised in his local paper. Apparently, a publishing company is looking for new talent. Billy sets his hopes on becoming one of the great literary editors. Alas, the reality is different. He meets 'Mr.Purley and finds out too late the job is basically that of a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman...
Not bad, but Billy seems a bit too clever to allow himself to be conned by the likes of Purley. He tries selling the books to his family, including his Gran ( May Warden ), only to get zero response. Just as his new career looks doomed, there is a further complication - the books have been stolen, and 'D.I. Charlesworth' ( Harry Littlewood ) is on Billy's trail. The gag where Billy flees from a savage dog and it jumps clean over the garden gate was swiped from Season 2 of 'Romany Jones'. Harry Littlewood was a familiar face in numerous sitcoms down the years, and even wrote one of his own - 'Ours Is A Nice House' starring Thora Hird, made in 1970. Olive Mercer - the woman in the funeral parlour - was 'Mrs.Yeatman', the verger's wife, in various 'Dad's Army' episodes.
Funniest moment - in a running gag, each time someone says the word 'publishing', Billy imagines his dad ( George A.Cooper ) giving that person a kick up the backside to the accompaniment of the theme to 'The Big Match'!
Finally, after what seems like an eternity, I.T.V. has gone back to making sitcoms again. Two debut tomorrow night - 'Vicious' starring Derek Jacobi and Ian McKellen, and 'The Job Lot'. It remains to be seen if they will take off or not, but I'm pleased I.T.V. has admitted there is more to television than just soaps and reality shows. The last I.T.V. sitcom was, I think, 'Barbara' starring Gwen Taylor. The only drawback is that these shows annoyingly clash with a B.B.C.-2 documentary about Dave Allen!
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