No Sex Please, We're British
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No Sex Please, We're British is a British farce written by Alistair Foot and Anthony Marriott, first staged in London's West End in 1971. It was unanimously panned by critics, but played to full houses until 1987 at three different theatres (the Strand, the Garrick and the Duchess). It did not share the same success with American audiences, running for only 16 performances on Broadway in early 1973.
The farce surrounds an assistant bank manager, Peter Hunter, who lives above his bank with his new bride Frances. When Frances innocently sends a mail order off for some Scandinavian glassware, what comes back is Scandinavian pornography. The two, along with the bank's frantic chief cashier Brian Runnicles, must decide what to do with the veritable floods of pornography, photographs, books, films and eventually girls that threaten to engulf this happy couple. The matter is considerably complicated by the presence of Eleanor (Peter's mother), Mr. Bromhead (his boss), Mr. Needham (a visiting bank inspector), and Vernon Paul (a police superintendent).
The part of Brian Runnicles was first played on the London stage by Michael Crawford. He later adopted a similar persona in his TV performances as Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. David Jason later took over the role of Brian Runnicles. Frances Hunter was played initially by Belinda Carroll.
A film version starring Ronnie Corbett as Brian was made in 1973. There were many alterations to the script, including significant changes in dialogue, plot elements and, most notably, to names: "Eleanor" was changed to "Bertha", "Mr. Bromhead" was changed to "Mr. Bromley", and "Peter" and "Frances" became "David" and "Penny", respectively. Michael Crawford, who originated the role of Brian Runnicles on stage, turned down the movie version.
References in Popular Culture
The title of the play is a snowclone with numerous parodies in popular culture. This includes a BBC Radio 4 production of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy which mentions that Zaphod Beeblebrox appeared in No Sex Please, We're Amoeboid Zingatularians at the Brantisvogan Starhouse. In television, an episode of the TV series Frasier is titled "No Sex Please, We're Skittish", as a parody on the title of this play, the first episode of the Cosgrove Hall cartoon Count Duckula is titled "No Sax Please, We're Egyptian." and an episode of the TV series Auf Wiedersehen Pet is titled "No Sex Please, We're Brickies".
Countless newspaper headlines have played on the play's title.
- No Sex Please, We're British, Samuel French, Inc., ISBN 0-573-61309-5
- ""no * please, we're" Google News Archive Search". Google News.
- Benedict Nightingale, "Fifth row center: a critic's year on and off Broadway", Deutsch, 1987, ISBN 0-233-98108-X, pp.73-3
- Michael Thornton, "Jessie Matthews: a biography", Mayflower, 1975, ISBN 0-583-12671-5