Painters arrive to decorate the ward and, as they are in white coats, Duncan mistakes them for new students. The painters do their work but go home at five, leaving a bare patch, which ... See full summary »




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Episode cast overview:
Robin Nedwell ...
George Layton ...
Zulema Dene ...
Roy Holder ...
Spud (as Michael Grady)
David Lloyd Jones ...
First Student
Robin Halstead ...
Second Student
Ernest Clark ...
Valerie Leon ...
Miss Wedderburn
Ian Gray ...
First Porter
Derek Deadman ...
Second Porter
May Warden ...
First Old Lady
Gladys Spencer ...
Second Old Lady
Betty Hare ...
Third Old Lady


Painters arrive to decorate the ward and, as they are in white coats, Duncan mistakes them for new students. The painters do their work but go home at five, leaving a bare patch, which Duncan paints in. Next day the irate painters down tools in protest at his non-union interference. The doctors put the furniture back in place, causing the porters to also down tools. Soon all the hospital's manual workers are on strike so Sir Geoffrey suspends Duncan to appease them. This causes the doctors to go on strike. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Release Date:

3 November 1973 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

St. Swithins' Winter Of Discontent!
13 May 2007 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

Decorators are at work in St.Swithins, causing predictable confusion, especially when Duncan mistakes them for medical students and allows them to fondle a woman patient's breasts.

Further problems ensue; disgusted at the painters' refusal to complete a minor job, he does it for them, thus bringing them out on strike. The dispute escalates, and soon the nurses - who belong to the same union - walk out in sympathy.

Duncan and Paul are forced to carry out the nurses' duties in addition to their own...

The classic Peter Sellers film 'I'm All Right Jack' portrayed union officials as regulation-obsessed idiots, and television followed suit. Almost every sitcom of the '70's had an episode where the leading characters fell afoul of mini-Hitlers, who often spoke as though they had sinus trouble, and were happy to see ordinary people suffer in the name of 'fairness' for their members. You only have to look at a 1972 episode of 'Sykes' in which Eric causes a factory strike because he is working too fast, and in 'The Good Life' episode 'The Windbreak War', workmen erect a windbreak in the wrong part of Margo's garden because they did not know that the initials 'N.B.' stood for 'nota bene' ( note well ).

This Bernard McKenna scripted episode is more of the same; the title takes its name from a 1960's Labour Government proposal for trade union reform. Note how incredibly thick the decorators are. Spotting a tall man painting a skirting board, and a short man struggling to paint the top part of the same wall, Duncan tells them to swap. What do they do? They exchange brushes!

'Spud' is played by Mike Grady, later to find comic fame in 'Citizen Smith' and 'Last Of The Summer Wine'. May Warden, one of the old ladies, was appearing as 'Grandma' in the L.W.T. sitcom 'Billy Liar', being broadcast at the same time. 'Miss Wedderburn', the sexy patient with the chest problem, is Valerie Leon, the 'Hi Karate' after-shave woman!

Funniest moment - Duncan and Paul trying to do the nurses' jobs, including changing the wet sheets on a patient's bed. The poor woman should have sued!

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