A superb third episode of Season 2 of Douglas Livingstone's hilarious show about two warring London families, the Tonsleys and the Benges.
In the final edition of Season 1, the naive Stephen Benge ( Richard O'Callaghan ) was supposed to have married man-hungry Iris Tonsley ( Susan Tracy ), but bottled out during the ceremony. Since that day, the memory has haunted him. He has wasted one week of a fortnights' holiday entitlement doing nothing more thrilling than reading bedtime stories to Pam's ( his sister's ) children. Frank ( James Grout ), his dad, notices this, and banishes him from the house for seven days, ordering him to find a 'new world of adventure'. Checking up on Iris' whereabouts ( she is on a cruise ship ), he flies to Venice to try and salvage their relationship.
Also in Venice is cousin Dennis Tonsley ( Trevor Peacock ), on a business trip. He has brought along Cynthia ( Joanna Dunham ), known in the office as 'Knickers Down Any Time'. When wife Shirley ( Helen Cotterill ) finds out, she is livid. Dennis assures her that Cynthia will be visiting friends most of the time, but he is secretly planning to seduce her the first chance he gets. Disaster strikes - he gets a bad stomach and has to stay in bed.
Cynthia is alone sightseeing when she bumps into Stephen. They strike up a conversation, and have dinner together. She is charmed by his naivety, touched by his love for Iris, and they wind up in bed...
This reminded me in part of a very funny play by David Nobbs called 'Dogfood Dan & The Carmarthen Cowboy' in which two long distance lorry drivers plan adulterous liaisons, neither realising its with each other's wives. Great performances by O'Callaghan and Peacock, the latter saying contemptuously of the former: "He still calls it a willy I expect!". James Grout is marvellous too; Frank is excited at the thought of his son living like 'Bulldog Drummond' until he realises he's gone to Venice in search of Iris, or 'that nymphomaniac' as he calls her.
Good news for lovers of overseas location filming, this programme has some. As it was only for one episode I suppose they could afford it. Venice has never looked lovelier. The sexy Joanna Dunham was 'Miss Blakeney' in the second season of 'The Other One', and 'Arlette' in the 1977/78 run of I.T.V.'s detective drama 'Van Der Valk'.
A brief flashback to the wedding-that-never-was in Season 1 affords us a welcome glimpse of the equally sexy Susan Tracy, who played 'Iris'.
Funniest moment - Stephen hiding under the bed while Dennis makes love to Cynthia!
Overlook the incredible coincidence of Stephen and Dennis finding themselves in Venice at exactly the same time, and enjoy yourself.
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