Bless This House (UK TV series)

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Bless This House
Bless This House Titles (Series 1-3).jpg
Bless this House titles as used in the first three series.
Genre Sitcom
Starring Sidney James
Diana Coupland
Robin Stewart
Sally Geeson
Anthony Jackson
Patsy Rowlands
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 6
No. of episodes 65
Production
Producer(s) William G. Stewart
Running time 30 minutes
(including commercials)
Production company(s) Thames Television
Distributor Fremantle Media
Broadcast
Original channel ITV
Picture format 4:3
Original run 2 February 1971 (1971-02-02) – 22 April 1976 (1976-04-22)

Bless This House is a British sitcom that aired on ITV from 2 February 1971 to 22 April 1976. Starring Sid James and Diana Coupland, it was created by Vince Powell and Harry Driver, but mainly written by other hands including Dave Freeman and Carla Lane. It was made for the ITV network by Thames Television. In 2004, Bless This House came 67th in Britain's best sitcom.

Production[edit]

The show was produced by William G. Stewart, later host of the 15 to 1 gameshow, and featured theme music written by Geoff Love. A comic strip version was also produced, written by Angus Allan and printed in TV comic Look-in. The first seven episodes were made in black-and-white due to industrial action.

Cast[edit]

Sid Abbott is Jean Abbott's husband and a Chelsea fan. He likes to believe he is in control of his household. But finds he has to sneak out behind Jean's back whenever wanting to go to the Football or the Pub. He often tries to avoid occasions he doesn't want to attend. However, they often backfire on him.

Jean Abbott is Sid's wife. She believes she can talk Sid into or out of anything. And she is always aware of what he is up to, seeing through his schemes.

Mike Abbott is the elder child and only son of Sid and Jean Abbott. He is always avoiding employment, that work is such a "drag", because he is an artist.

Sally Abbott is the younger child and only daughter of Sid and Jean Abbott. Sid and Jean constantly worry about her relationships with "boys". She always refers to Sid as "Daddy", and Jean as "Mummy".

Trevor Lewis is Sid's next door neighbour and best friend.

Betty is Trevor's wife and best friend of Jean Abbott. They usually gang up on their husbands together if they don't do the right thing by them.

Plot[edit]

Bless This House centres on life in Birch Avenue, Putney, where travelling stationery salesman Sid Abbott (note: the spelling of their surname varies; the opening credits of early series one episodes spell it "Abbot" while in the closing credits it is spelt "Abbott") and his wife Jean live with their teenage children, Mike, who is fresh from art college and more pre-occupied with protests than finding a job, and Sally, a trendy schoolgirl. The children are 16 and 18 years old at the start of the series. Sid and Jean constantly battle to comprehend the permissive ways of the new generation and are usually out of touch. Their neighbours and best friends are Trevor and his wife Betty.

Episodes[edit]

Series one (1971)[edit]

1. The generation gap (2 February 1971)

Sid Abbott is a family man but he won't find it easy, especially with two teenage children growing up in a world whose values and attitudes, he doesn't really understand.

Written by Harry Driver and Vince Powell

2. Mum's the word! (9 February 1971)

It wasn't that Sid was eavesdropping - the trouble was that he only heard half the conversation and put two and two together to make five...

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

3. Father's Day (16 February 1971)

The best laid plans of mice and men (and women) sometimes go astray, and Jean should have known that when she planned a surprise for Sid!

Written by Harry Driver and Vince Powell

4. Be it ever so humble! (23 February 1971)

Sid gets more than he bargained for when he tells Mike to 'get a job' and 'spread his wings'.

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

5. Another fine mess (2 March 1971)

Sally and Mike try to persuade Sid to be honest to Jean, but Sid decides there's a time and a place to be honest - and now's not the time or the place!

Writer (s) not credited.

6. For whom the bells toll (9 March 1971)

When a young couple marry, the groom's family have a 'do' on the house. But if the youngsters go off, then, Sid misses out - something he's not happy about!

Written by Harry Driver and Vince Powell

7. A woman's place (16 March 1971)

Sid is convinced that a woman's place is in the home - or more precisely, "in the kitchen, facing the sink", Jean feels otherwise.

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

8. The day of rest (23 March 1971)

Young Mike Abbott's latest piece of modern sculpture causes trouble when new neighbours move in next door...

Written by Dave Freeman

9. Make love, not war! (30 March 1971)

It all started with Sid trying to listen to Tchaikovsky. That is soon interrupted by a visitor from next door...

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

10. Charity begins at home! (6 April 1971)

Sid's Saturday lie-in, and lazy weekend "with a big Sunday lunch and lots of telly" is doomed from the start with a myriad of interruptions.

Written by Derek Collyer and David Commimg

11. If the dog collar fits, wear it! (13 April 1971)

When Sally, in do-gooder mode, provides Fred with shelter, Sid thinks it is time to ignore big pleading eyes - Sally's and Fred's - and be master in his own home.

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

12. The morning after the night before (20 April 1971)

It may well have been 30 years since Sid left the boy scouts but the annual get-together is always a night to remember!

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

Series two (1972)[edit]

1. Two heads are better than one! (21 February 1972)

Something is missing from Sid’s garden, and he'll have suspicions as to who is responsible...

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

2. Love me, love my tree! (28 February 1972)

Sid’s problems start when the family returns from holiday. Apart from having nothing to wear, everything seems as it was before they left - or is it?

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

3. It's all in the mind! (6 March 1972)

It doesn’t often happen that Sid is able to get home from work early, but when he can, he does - and this time, if doesn’t do him much good!

Written by Harry Driver and Vince Powell

4. Another lost weekend (13 March 1972)

Of course, Sid doesn’t have to ask Jean if he can go fishing for the weekend. But Jean expects Sid to be home - after all, Sid never plans anything without consulting her.

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

5. Parents should be seen and not heard (20 March 1972)

When Sid gets home after a hard day’s work, he’s perfectly right in expecting his dinner to be waiting for him - but circumstances dictate otherwise...

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

6. Strangers in the night (27 March 1972)

Sid and Jean’s reminiscences of what happened fast after the war make "The naked flesh" seem like the epilogue...

Written by Harry Driver and Vince Powell

7. Get me to the match on time! (10 April 1972)

Sid’s plans for Saturday afternoon do not include Jean’s sister; and if she can’t make arrangements to fit in then, the only course for Sid is to take to his bed - dangerously ill.

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

8. Wives and lovers (17 April 1972)

If Jean hadn’t started checking up on Sid, because he was late home for supper, then, she wouldn’t have discovered that he had a date the following evening...

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

9. Never again on Sunday (24 April 1972)

It’s not often that Sid agrees with Jean about anything, and when he does, it'll usually take her by surprise and ends in disaster...

Written by Harry Driver and Vince Powell

10. People in glass houses (1 May 1972)

It'll come as quite a surprise to Sid to discover that Mike would rather not have a gold watch for his birthday - but what he wants instead comes as an even bigger surprise!

Written by Carla Lane

11. A rolls by any other name (8 May 1972)

Sid waits in trepidation when he finds out that Mr. Marshall, his boss, is coming round as Saturday morning. Of course, nothing goes to plan...

Written by Harry Driver and Vince Powell

12. A touch of the unknown (15 May 1972)

Sid’s problems start when Betty brings something into the house. Mike also brings something into the house and things get worse!

Written by Dave Freeman

Series three (1973)[edit]

1. It comes to us all in the end! (22 January 1973)

The Abbotts have to cope with a death in the family...

Written by Harry Driver and Vince Powell

2. Tea for two and four for tea (5 February 1973)

Mike goes off his food, takes to wearing a collar and tie, and is reluctant to say where he disappears to every evening...

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

3. To tell or not to tell? (12 February 1973)

It is not that Sid and Jean are actually spying, but when they do happen to notice something going on next door, they can’t ignore it, can they?

Written by Carla Lane

4. Blood is thicker than water! (19 February 1973)

Most families have a skeleton in the cupboard, sad Sid’s skeleton has been hidden away for forty years...

Written by Dave Freeman

5. One good turn deserves a bother! (26 February 1973)

When Sid’s boss goes on holiday. Sid takes it upon himself to guard the ‘goodies’, and the family are not too happy to stand guard on rota!

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

6. The loneliness of the short distance walker (5 March 1973)

It’s not that Sid is out of condition, it’s just that fridges are getting heavier these days...

Written by Carla Lane

7. Watch the birdie! (12 March 1973)

When Mike has a brilliant idea it usually costs Sid money. But when it only involves the grotty old garage, then, Sid can be persuaded.

Written by Dave Freeman

8. Atishoo! atishoo! we all fall down! (30 April 1973)

Jean going down with flu one thing, Sally is another, and Mike is another - but Sid can still cope. Then, Betty gets pregnant twinges...

Written by Carla Lane

9. Entente not so cordiale? (7 May 1973)

Most soldiers left their hearts in Parts, but not Sid. But when Sid and Jean spend a weekend in Paris, they'll discover that the entente is not so cordiale!

Written by Harry Driver and Vince Powell

10. Will the real Sid Abbott please stand up? (14 May 1973)

Jean finds out that Sexy Sandra is what makes a shriveled-up old prune with a wire brush on top turn into Putney’s oldest teeny bopper!

Written by Harry Driver and Vince Powell

11. I'm not jealous, I'll kill him! (21 May 1973)

When an old flame rekindles warmth in Jean’s heart, Sid begins to burn. It really is not as though he in jealous. Then, Betty opens her mouth...

Written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor

12. A girl's worst friend is her father (28 May 1973)

If Sid had not interfered in the first place, then, Sally would not believe that there are times when a girl’s worst friend is her father.

Written by Harry Driver and Vince Powell

Series four (1974)[edit]

1. Money is the root of... (20 February 1974)

Someone is trying to track down Sid from an incident in 1942. Whatever he did, someone obviously enjoyed it enough to remember him in her will...

Written by Carla Lane

2. And they will come home! (27 February 1974)

The trouble starts when Sally sad Mike go into business buying and selling old junk. Sid puts up with it until one big thing arrives in his garden...

Written by Carla Lane

3. Who's minding the baby? (20 March 1974)

When Betty from next door pops in to ask a little favour, Sid is not at all keen - but Jean insists that they are friends and encourages her.

Written by Carla Lane

4. A beef in his bonnet (27 March 1974)

When Mike and Sally bring home something that has ‘fallen off the back of a lorry’, Sid warns them about mixing with villains like ‘Fingers’ Toplock.

Written by Dave Freeman

5. The bells are ringing! (3 April 1974)

Sid’s overjoyed at Mike marrying into a wealthy family but when another close tie between the two families is announced, Sid takes a different view...

Written by Harry Driver and Vince Powell

6. The first 25 years are the worst (10 April 1974)

Sid discovers the phone is ‘missing’, but in the Abbott home, there is a simple explanation - Sally and Mike have ‘borrowed it’!

Written by Dave Freeman

Series five (1974)[edit]

1. They don't write songs like that anymore! (14 October 1974)

Sid finds that the generation gap gets wider and his attempts to get into the pop scene lead hint to all sorts of problems...

Written by Bernie Sharp

2. The gipsy's warning (21 October 1974)

The trouble studs with Sid’s morning paper - Jean wants to read her horoscope. Not that she really believes it - unless it turns out right..

Written by Jon Watkins

3. The biggest woodworm in the world (28 October 1974)

Sid doesn’t really mind Mike’s dancer girlfriend staying for a few days. The trouble is that Mike doesn’t explain what sort of a dancer she is...

Written by Dave Freeman

4. Home tweet home (4 November 1974)

Mike and Sally have a scheme for raising holiday money. Things might have gone smoothly hadn't Trevor seen the chance of earning same too!

Written by Brian Platt

5. You're never too old to be young (11 November 1974)

Most marriages have their tricky period but Sid is shocked when Jean announces that she wants a lover!

Written by Carla Lane

6. The policeman, the paint and the pirates (18 November 1974)

Sid’s efforts to avoid ‘The pirates of Penzance’ lead him into trouble with a pot of paint and a policeman. Then, Trevor brings in the Japanese...

Written by Carla Lane

7.'Happy birthday, Sid! (25 November 1974)

What should a husband do if his family give him a birthday present that he can’t use..?

Written by George Evans and Lawrie Wyman

8. Freedom is... (2 December 1974)

Sid doesn’t like the idea of Sally and Mike befriending a tramp. He likes it even less when Sally brings him home and everyone takes the tramp’s side.

Written by Carla Lane

9. Mr. Chairman... (9 December 1974)

Disenchanted with the local residents association, Sid leads a revolt against the Chairman. Then, Trevor takes things one step too far…

Written by Adele Rose

10. And afterwards at... (16 December 1974)

Like most men who can’t stand family weddings, Sid puts up with them us long us there’s a booze-up. Surely, nothing can go wrong..?

Written by B.C. Cummins and Mike Sharland

Series six (1976)[edit]

1. The frozen limit (29 January 1976)

Sid gets into situations with a second-hand deep freeze and Betty’s fox fur.

Written by Dave Freeman

2. Beautiful dreamer (5 February 1976)

Sid’s dreams come back to haunt him when he has a vision of a "frozen lady shivering in the snow".

Written by Jon Watkins

3. Fish with everything (12 February 1976)

Sid has been feeling a bit off colour and the doctor suggests that he needs.

Written by Jon Watkins

4. The naked paperhanger (19 February 1976)

When Mike moves into a flat of his own, Jean decides that his room needs decorating.

Written by Dave Freeman

5. Remember me? (26 February 1976)

Sid’s sponging family are anxious to share in his bonus and commission.

Written by Jon Watkins

6. Something of value (4 March 1976)

When Sid’s Uncle Percy dies, he leaves Sid two large packing cases and a small brown parcel...

Written by Bernie Sharp

7. Men of consequence (11 March 1976)

Sid’s beauty sleep is interrupted by a midnight intruder!

Written by Carla Lane

8. Skin deep (18 March 1976)

Sid’s temporary promotion involves him going to Birmingham for a few days. Jean begins to have doubts.

Written by Jon Watkins

9. Friends and neighbours (25 March 1976)

Sid arrives home to find Jean worried about noises from next door. Jean sends him to investigate.

Written by Jon Watkins

10. Well, well, well... (1 April 1976)

A damp patch on the living-room carpet doesn’t bother Sid - until he takes the skirting board off.

Written by Bernie Sharp

11. The phantom pools winner (8 April 1976)

Sid wins a large export order, but Jean’s plan for Mike to take a photograph of him for the local paper goes wrong.

Written by Dave Freeman

12. A matter of principle (15 April 1976)

Sid discovers where the money for his birthday party has came from, and he won’t like it!

Written by Jon Watkins

13. Some enchanted evening! (22 April 1976)

When Sid discovers why Jean is sulking and Sally and Mike won’t talk to him, he goes to the pub.

Written by Jon Watkins

DVD releases[edit]

Cover of complete third series DVD

All six series of Bless This House have been released in the UK including a Box Set containing all six series plus the feature film through Network. In Australia, Series 1[1] was released on 2 April 2009, Series 2[2] on 3 October 2012 and Series 3[3] on 6 March 2013. A Complete Series 1-6 Box Set[4] is due for release 6 November 2013.

DVD Release date
The complete series 1
24 October 2005
The complete series 2
30 January 2006
The complete series 3
17 April 2006
The complete series 4
10 July 2006
The complete series 5
22 January 2007
The complete series 6
30 April 2007
The complete series 1 to 6 box set
2 February 2009

End of production[edit]

The series came to an end in 1976, when just four days after broadcast of the final episode of the sixth series, Sid James died. He collapsed on stage at the Sunderland Empire during a performance of The Mating Season after failing to respond to a cue. James had suffered a heart attack. He later died on the way to the hospital.

Plans were in place for a 7th and 8th series and a second feature film at time of Sid's death. In an ironic twist of fate, Sid James told Co-Star Diana Coupland "We'll keep making this until one of us kicks the bucket". Little did he know it was his own fate he was referring to.

Film[edit]

A film version of the TV series was made in 1972. While it still starred Diana Coupland and Sid James as the Abbotts, Robin Askwith, who had previously appeared in the TV series, played Mike instead of TV series regular Robin Stewart. In addition, it featured "new" neighbours played by Terry Scott and June Whitfield. The part of Trevor was also recast with Peter Butterworth replacing Jackson. All the original actors returned for series three. Additionally, Mike gets married at the end of the film; this had no effect on the storylines in the television series.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "Buy Bless This House: Series 2 on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  3. ^ "Buy Bless This House: Series 3 on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  4. ^ "Buy Bless This House: Series 1-6 on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2014-03-12. 

External links[edit]