Citizen James

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Citizen James
Genre Comedy
Starring Sid James
Sydney Tafler
Alec Bregonzi
Bill Kerr
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 32
Broadcast
Original channel BBC TV
Original run 24 November 1960 (1960-11-24) – 23 November 1962 (1962-11-23)

Citizen James is a BBC sitcom that ran for three series between 24 November 1960 and 23 November 1962. The show featured comedian and actor Sid James and Sydney Tafler with Bill Kerr and Liz Fraser appearing in early episodes. It was initially written by the comedy writing team of Galton and Simpson, who based the characters very much on the "Sidney Balmoral James" and "Bill Kerr, the dim-witted Australian" roles that they had played in Hancock's Half Hour.

The first series was set around 'Charlie's Nosh Bar', a cafe in Soho, and centred on Sid's get-rich-quick schemes. He is helped by "Billy the Kerr" and quite often frustrated by the local bookmaker Albert Welshman (Tafler). Liz Fraser played Sid's long-suffering girlfriend who has been waiting for seven years for Sid to set the date.

Changes were made to the format after the first series. Sid James' character was changed to be something of a people's champion, campaigning for social justice. Bill Kerr and Liz Fraser departed and Sidney Tafler played a different character: Charlie Davenport. The location switched from Soho to Sid and Charlie sharing a house.

Later episodes were written by then Morecambe & Wise writers Sid Green and Dick Hills.[1]

Despite not being written by Galton and Simpson, the sets and familiar supporting cast gave these last two series a recognizable Hancock feeling to the proceedings.

Episodes[edit]

Like many BBC series of this time, episodes were not necessarily retained (see Wiping). Only eight episodes from the three series are known to still exist.

Series 1
E01 - The Race
Out of money, Sid hits on an idea to fix a "waiter's race" by use of a ringer.

E02 - The Elixir
Sid and Bill try their hand in the snake-oil business, selling "Dr." Sidney James' Magical Elixir.

E03 - The Money
Liz entrusts £300 to Sid to take to the Bank, but Sid and Bill soon find themselves parted from the money by Albert

E04 - The Rivals
Albert has a wager with Sid that he can get a date with Sid's fiancée. And at 10-1, Sid can't resist the odds

E05 - The Raffle
Sid and Bill have to organise a raffle to replace the 'Nosh Bar' Christmas money which went on Sid's gambling debts

E06 - The Brand Image
Sid and Bill try their hand at selling cigarettes but need an actor to help launch their new brand

Series Two
E11 - Elope
Sid and Charlie rushing across the country to stop a young couple on their way to Gretna Green.

Series Three
E10 - The Watchdog
Finding a burglar in their house the boys take security for the street into their own hands.

DVD[edit]

The surviving episodes, comprising the complete Series One, and two episodes each from Series Two and Series Three, were released as a collection by Acorn Media UK in February 2012.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (2005). "bbc.co.uk Guide to Comedy - Citizen James". BBC. Archived from the original on 7 April 2005. Retrieved 2007. 

External links[edit]