The Bounder (1982–1983)
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He's Not Heavy: He's My Brother-in-Law 

Plausible fraudster Howard Booth is released from a two year prison sentence and,feigning a limp, calls on gullible sister Mary,who is married to estate agent Trevor Mountjoy. Mary is keen ... See full summary »

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Episode credited cast:
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George Cole ...
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Laura Miles
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Rosalind Ayres ...
Mary Mountjoy
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Plausible fraudster Howard Booth is released from a two year prison sentence and,feigning a limp, calls on gullible sister Mary,who is married to estate agent Trevor Mountjoy. Mary is keen for Howard to stay but Trevor will only consent - and then reluctantly - if Howard pretends he has spent the last two years in Zimbabwe. Howard falls for Laura,a widow from next door,but dares not tell her that he is responsible for her losing her savings. He does however suddenly get the full use of his leg back,apparently through acupuncture. Written by don @ minifie-1

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16 April 1982 (UK)  »

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Bounder Bowles At Large
17 January 2009 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

Trevor Mountjoy ( George Cole ), successful estate agent, is happily married to the lovely Mary ( Rosalind Ayres ). He goes home one day to find a drink waiting for him, and senses something is wrong. The couple's idyllic lifestyle has been shattered. Mary's freeloading brother Howard ( Peter Bowles ) has been released from prison after serving a two-year sentence for fraud. Worse, he has moved in with them.

Howard plays for sympathy by leaning heavily on a stick and claiming to be a changed man, but Trevor is not too sure. He still calls him 'Trev' for one thing. Finding the stick left round the house, he dashes round to the local pub, hoping to catch Howard out in a lie. But the wily bounder is prepared, telling Trevor the stick is a spare...

Comedy writers are lucky to get one hit sitcom in their lifetimes. In the mid-'70's, Eric Chappell had two running concurrently on I.T.V. - 'Rising Damp' and 'The Squirrels'. If you think that is impressive, consider this - he pulled off the same trick a few years later with 'Duty Free' and 'The Bounder'.

Peter Bowles had finished a long stint as rich hypochondriac 'Archie Glover' in 'Only When I Laugh', and was keen to get his own show. Eric Chappell wrote this specially for him, in which he played suave confidence trickster 'Howard Booth', a sort of upmarket 'Mike Upchat' from 'The Upchat Line/Connection'. Like that other character, the show got much of its humour from Howard's spinning of elaborate lies, and then having to spin yet more to get out of trouble.

'Minder' was running around this time, giving George Cole fans ( of whom I am one ) an extra chance to see their hero in action. 'Trevor Mountjoy' is essentially a supporting role, but Cole made more of it than was there on the printed page. His looks of exasperation at Howard's behaviour are wonderful. Rosalind Ayres ( wife of Martin Jarvis ) played 'Mary' in the first season, while Isla Blair was cast as lovely 'Laura Miles', a rich widow whom Howard has set his sights on. His pursuit of her became a running theme through the series ( speaking of Isla, I recall her going on the phone-in show 'Open Air' in the '80's and cringing in embarrassment when a caller addressed her as 'Isla St.Clair'! ). Ironically, Laura lost money by investing in Howard's company.

The truth be known, there are not that many laughs in the first episode but it served a purpose in establishing the characters and premise. It improved sharply with the next episode. The opening violin theme was 'Winter' from Vivaldi's 'The Four Seasons' combined with an original composition by the late, talented Peter Knight ( also wrote the 'Duty Free' signature ).

Funniest moment - Howard dancing gaily with Laura, unaware that Trevor and Mary are behind him, glowering.


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