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Episode complete credited cast:
Hylda Baker ...
Madge Hindle ...
Edward Malin ...
Freddie Rayner ...


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christmas | See All (1) »





Release Date:

26 December 1969 (UK)  »

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A very low-slung boom mic drops into shot as Nellie writes down her charade. See more »


References Secret Agent (1964) See more »

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"Is anybody there?"
27 November 2009 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

A Boxing Day special from 1969.

Those freeloaders, Lily and Walter, the latter fascinated by a kaleidoscope, are at the Pledge's as usual. As she eloquently puts it: "As soon as he wakes up in the morning, he reaches for it!". The workforce is on holiday, save for Stan and Grenville, who are busily knocking down a wall in the factory. Behind it they find a skeleton. Stan thinks it must be of Billy 'Beetroot', who disappeared mysteriously years before trying to fix the boiler. Eli, ever the practical joker, sees an opportunity to have some fun with Billy's skull...

Though created originally by Vince Powell and Harry Powell, much of 'Nearest & Dearest' was in fact written by others, such as John Stevenson ( co-creator of Granada's spoof soap 'Brass' ). George Layton and Jonathan Lynn ( from L.W.T.'s 'Doctor' series ), and, the writers of this edition, Tom Brennand and Roy Bottomley. 'Past' is corny and predictable, of course ( and a bit morbid at times ), with Nellie and Lily sharing a bed Laurel & Hardy-style, terrified that the dead ( Old Joshua Pledge ) have returned to life, and senile Walter fluttering about in long johns only adds to their fear. It is enjoyable though, and a clean-shaven Windsor Davies ( four years before 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum' ) is seen as the Vicar.

Funniest moment - the séance. Nellie's constant requests for the dead to get in touch with the living are answered seemingly by a pair of bare feet emerging horizontally from under the living room table. It is, of course, only Eli playing about.

Second funniest moment - Stan, holding the skull, says to Grenville: "I gave it the kiss of life, but its a goner!".

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