Meet the Wife

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Meet the Wife
Genre Sitcom
Created by Chesney and Wolfe
Starring Freddie Frinton
Thora Hird
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 5
No. of episodes 39
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC1
Original run 28 December 1963 – 19 December 1966

Meet the Wife is a 1960s BBC situation comedy written by Ronald Chesney and Ronald Wolfe, which featured Freddie Frinton as Freddie Blacklock with Thora Hird as his tyrannical wife, Thora. It ran to five series.

The series was based on a 1963 BBC television Comedy Playhouse production, "The Bed". The theme tune was by Russ Conway and incidental music by Norman Percival and later Dennis Wilson. The producers were John Paddy Carstairs and later Robin Nash.

The Beatles song "Good Morning, Good Morning" on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band includes the lyric "It's time for tea and Meet the Wife".

Outline[edit]

The series followed the various ups and downs of a middle-aged married couple. Of the two, Fred was the "straight man". He was a plumber who liked a bit of betting and a drink before coming home. His wife, Thora, was noted for her incessant talking while giving her husband a hard time. The couple had at least two children, one named Peter who is now 23 and married. The series has much in common with the later BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, except that the central couple were unmistakably working class.

The catchphrases of the series were both Thora's. The first occurred whenever the socially-aspiring Thora introduced her husband, when she would snobbishly pronounce his name "Frayed", remarking that he was "a Master plumber", with the emphasis on the word Master. The other was to throw an irate accusative tantrum at poor, downtrodden Fred, with the words, "Every time [such-and-such happens], you always go berserk" The word berserk was given great emphasis, as "Ber-Serk", and always had a successful comedic effect as Fred would wilt under the onslaught.

Fred also had a catchphrase; always uttering an affected, over-the-top, supposed-upper class "Yai-sss", accompanied by tilted head, sycophantic smile and rapid eye-blinking, in response to Thora's request for confirmation (e.g. "Isn't that right, Fred?") on some point she was making to any member of the group she was aspiring to equal socially.

Episodes[edit]

Pilot[edit]

The pilot episode, titled "The Bed", was first broadcast in series three of Comedy Playhouse on 28 December 1963.

Fred and Thora have been using the same bed for 25 years and it is lumpy and past its best. Thora decides it's time to get not just a new bed but two separate beds, because Fred keeps taking the bed clothes, etc. However two beds cost much more than one so she settles on a nice bed but that night makes Fred's life a nightmare as she tries to get settled, so Fred goes to the spare room to sleep on the old bed. While still nagging him though he's now in another room, Thora finds his present and card for their Silver Anniversary tomorrow, costing the £15 she thought he'd wasted. She grabs the bed clothes and goes to the other room and gets in bed with Fred. Brian Oulton was the bed salesman.

Series 1[edit]

No. Title Original air date
01 "Getting Away" 21 April 1964 (1964-04-21)
02 "Coming Home" 28 April 1964 (1964-04-28)
03 "The Back" 5 May 1964 (1964-05-05)
Fred wants a quiet lay-in on a Sunday morning but his wife keeps him nearly as busy as her nagging tongue. He's finally had enough and goes to the pub. She is worried because he is late coming back but he has been to the other side of town to get the pills for her bad back, which she has been moaning about all morning. Harold Goodwin was the milkman. 
04 "Night Out" 12 May 1964 (1964-05-12)
05 "Little Andrew" 19 May 1964 (1964-05-19)
06 "The Business Dinner" 26 May 1964 (1964-05-26)
A couple they knew from years back are coming to dinner and Thora wants to make a good impression on them as he builds houses and could put some plumbing work Fred's way. Her patience is sorely tried as the woman keeps on about how well off they are until one of Fred's mates drops by and tells her that the man's house business is near bankruptcy because his wife spends so much. 
07 "The Strain" 2 June 1964 (1964-06-02)
Plumber's helper Sid (Brian Rawlinson) has taken the day off to get himself a new bike. Fred hurts his arm and head getting a bath upstairs on his own and comes home early. Thora takes his temperature which is 103.F (she forgot to shake the thermometer so the temperature is of the boy next door who used it last) and the doctor is called. She panics to get everything tidy before he arrives which leads to a number of disasters. 

Series 2[edit]

No. Title Original air date
01 "Shopping" 12 November 1964 (1964-11-12)
02 "The Teenage Niece" 19 November 1964 (1964-11-19)
03 "The Shelf" 26 November 1964 (1964-11-26)
04 "The Invitation" 3 December 1964 (1964-12-03)
05 "The Lesson" 10 December 1964 (1964-12-10)
06 "The Wallpaper" 17 December 1964 (1964-12-17)

Series 3[edit]

No. Title Original air date
01 "The Ring" 18 April 1965 (1965-04-18)
02 "The Bathroom" 25 April 1965 (1965-04-25)
03 "Cousin Olive" 2 May 1965 (1965-05-02)
04 "The Loft" 9 May 1965 (1965-05-09)
05 "Doctor's Orders" 16 May 1965 (1965-05-16)
06 "The Picnic" 23 May 1965 (1965-05-23)

Series 4[edit]

No. Title Original air date
01 "The Pain" 22 November 1965 (1965-11-22)
02 "Her Birthday" 29 November 1965 (1965-11-29)
03 "Brother Tom" 6 December 1965 (1965-12-06)
Fred's brother Tom (Stanley Meadows) has been in town on business and now there is a heavy fog so rather than drive the 50 miles home, Fred says it is OK for him to stay with them. However Tom brings a lady friend, Josie (Ann Kennedy) with him and Thora is determined that there should be no hanky-panky between the two, even if she and Fred has to stay up all night to keep an eye on them, and her lecherous husband who has taken a fancy to Josie. 
04 "The Hotel" 13 December 1965 (1965-12-13)
05 "The Merry Widow" 20 December 1965 (1965-12-20)
Fred is too friendly with Mrs Jackson aka "Blossom" (Avis Bunnage) who moved in across the road last month and because of circumstances Thora thinks there is something going on between them. Arthur Howard as The Vicar. 
06 "Journey Home" 27 December 1965 (1965-12-27)
Fred and Thora have spent christmas with their son (not seen), his wife Peggy (Jean Marlow) and two children. They go home on Boxing Day but get in the wrong part of the train which means they travel 30 miles in the wrong direction and have to spend seven hours in a freezing cold waiting room. 

Series 5[edit]

No. Title Original air date
01 "The Holiday" 26 September 1966 (1966-09-26)
02 "Continental Tour" 3 October 1966 (1966-10-03)
03 "The Return" 10 October 1966 (1966-10-10)
04 "The Diet" 17 October 1966 (1966-10-17)
05 "My Husband's Brother" 24 October 1966 (1966-10-24)
06 "Tilly-Ann" 31 October 1966 (1966-10-31)
07 "Old Time Dancing" 7 November 1966 (1966-11-07)
Thora enrolls them both into a dancing contest then bullies Fred into joining her. There is a big fuss over them getting dressed on the night then Fred loses a shirt sleeve while dancing so it's all his fault they won't be there next week and on TV. Peter West appears as himself, as the compere. 
08 "The Schoolboy" 14 November 1966 (1966-11-14)
09 "The Homework" 21 November 1966 (1966-11-21)
10 "The Nasty Sleeper" 28 November 1966 (1966-11-28)
11 "Bless 'Em All" 5 December 1966 (1966-12-05)
12 "This Christmas, Shop Early!" 12 December 1966 (1966-12-12)
13 "Christmas Travel" 19 December 1966 (1966-12-19)

Surviving episodes[edit]

In common with many other British television series and sitcoms of this era, not all episodes have survived. Only 17 episodes exist in the BBC archives as of June 2013. The following are currently thought to still exist:

  • Pilot
  • Series 1: 1-7
  • Series 2: 1, 2
  • Series 4: 1-6
  • Series 5: 7

The first and the fourth series both exist in their entirety (as does the original pilot episode) but Series 2 (of which only the first two episodes remain) and Series 5 (of which only one episode exists) remain incomplete with the entire third series still missing from the TV archives as of 2013

External links[edit]