'Never A Cross Word' holds the distinction of being the first sitcom produced by London Weekend Television. Nyree Dawn Porter plays 'Deirdre', scatterbrained wife of 'Ronald Baldock', portrayed by Paul Daneman. They have been married for ten years, and he regards himself as 'the boss'. Every time she tries to do anything on her own, she gets into trouble. The episode opens with the pair of them at a garden centre. On their way out, she demolishes a shed with her Mini ( her driving is not good ) and sends plant pots flying. He decrees that she does not get a new car nor the money to repair the old one, so, taking the initiative, she advertises for a lodger to help pay the garage bills. Turning up on her doorstep is 'Anthony' ( John Alderton ), a nerdy Welsh medical student...
Written by Donald Churchill ( also an actor ), later responsible for the wonderful 'Moody & Pegg' ( starring Judy Cornwell and Derek Waring ), this is very much in the same vein as Wendy Craig's 'Not In Front Of The Children', only without the kids. Porter's 'Deirdre' evokes not only Craig but Lucille Ball, with Daneman as her 'straight man'. She is very funny but did not appear in the second run a year later - the role went to Barbara Murray.
The early L.W.T. sitcoms broke the mold by being 45 minutes ( including adverts ) in length. However, the idea was dropped, and the old 30 minute length reinstated. In addition to Alderton ( using the same Welsh accent he employed later on 'Upstairs, Downstairs' ) we have the ubiquitous Sam Kydd, a garage owner with a most unusual payment request
he wants Deirdre to do a striptease in front of him! Porter's strip
made the show much talked about on its debut. The director was Mark Stuart, later to helm 'Please Sir!', and he cast Alderton as 'Hedges' on the strength of his performance here.
The lecturer was Peter Bathurst, who was 'Michael Upton's' father in 'Doctor In The House'.
Sadly the rest of Season 1 has been wiped, leaving only this as an example. I would not describe it as hilarious but it kept me smiling broadly for 45 minutes, and that's not to be sneered at.
Funniest moment - Anthony receiving a phone call from Deirdre in the middle of a medical lecture. "A striptease at 6.30?", he mindlessly repeats, causing the other students to gape at him.
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