Please Sir!

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Please Sir!
Starring John Alderton
Deryck Guyler
Noel Howlett
Joan Sanderson
Richard Davies
Erik Chitty
David Barry
Peter Cleall
Peter Denyer
Liz Gebhardt
Malcolm McFee
Penny Spencer
Carol Hawkins
Richard Warwick
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 55
Production
Running time 25-45 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel London Weekend Television
Original run 8 November 1968 (1968-11-08) – 12 February 1972 (1972-02-12)
Chronology
Related shows The Fenn Street Gang

Please Sir! is a London Weekend Television situation comedy, created by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey and featuring actors John Alderton, Deryck Guyler, Joan Sanderson, Noel Howlett, Erik Chitty and Richard Davies.[1] The series ran for 55 episodes between 1968 and 1972.[2]

Synopsis[edit]

The programme was set in the fictional Fenn Street School, and starred John Alderton as Bernard Hedges, a young teacher fresh out of training college. The supporting cast included Deryck Guyler, Joan Sanderson and Richard Davies. Character actors and actresses formed the supporting cast, including Mollie Sugden as a parent of a student, Barbara Mitchell as Frankie Abbott's mother, Ann Lancaster as Mrs Rhubarb in a 1968 episode.

Bernard Hedges and the 5C pupils were replaced by a new teacher and pupils for the final series in 1971–72, while the original pupils continued in a spin-off series, The Fenn Street Gang, which ran for 47 episodes between 1971 and 1972.[3] This was followed by Bowler (1973), following crime boss Stanley Bowler, played by George Baker for 13 episodes.[4]

Like many situation comedies of this era, a film version was released in 1971. This was set in an outdoor pursuit centre, but starred most of the TV cast.

Cast[edit]

The Staff:


The Pupils (1968–71):


The Pupils (1971–72):

  • Charles Bolton as Godber
  • Rosemary Faith as Daisy
  • Billy Hamon as Des
  • Barry McCarthy as Terry Stringer
  • Drina Pavlovic as Celia
  • Shirley Cheriton as Pat (1971)

Episodes[edit]

NOTE: All of these episode descriptions have been taken from the DVD sleeves of the Please Sir DVDs, released by Network (In Australia, Series One and Two are available as one set of DVDs, Series Three (along with the 1971 Please Sir movie) as another).

Note: The first series was in an experimental 40-minute format (to fit in a 45-minute slot). The remaining episodes were in the traditional 25-minute format (to fit in a 30-minute slot)

The transmission dates and times reflect the listings for the London ITV region. Listings for the alternative ITV regions are not indicated.

Series One[edit]

This series was recorded and transmitted in black and white on the VHF 405-line TV system.

# Episode Writer/s Director Original ITV Airdate
1 "The Welcome Mat" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Friday 8 November 1968 (1968-11-08) 8:30pm
When newly-qualified teacher Bernard Hedges arrives at Fenn Street Secondary Modern School to start his first job, even he hasn't bargained on what awaits him.
2 "A Picture of Innocence" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Friday 15 November 1968 (1968-11-15) 8:30pm
Bernard Hedges has to use all his tact when a member of the art club produces some stunning life studies of one of his unruly class - in the nude.
3 "Maureen Bullock Loves Sir" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Friday 22 November 1968 (1968-11-22) 8:30pm
Things start hotting up for Bernard Hedges when a pupil gets a crush on him. He thinks that he is settling into the district rather well, but when Maureen Bullock is seen leaving his new flat (after his class have helped him move into the flat), the rumours begin to fly.
4 "A Near Greek Tragedy" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Friday 29 November 1968 (1968-11-29) 9:15pm

This episode was shown later than usual as it contains swearing.

Apollon Abapellogopholis means more problems for Bernard Hedges. Pronouncing his name is trouble enough, but when Appollon rings the school fire alarm he decides to take firm measures with the boy.
5 "Barbarian Librarians" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Friday 6 December 1968 (1968-12-06) 9:15pm

This episode was shown later than usual as it contains swearing.

Bernard Hedges' touching faith in the virtues of 5C is often misplaced. The worst seems to have happened when he entrusts them with the library key in order to look after the library, outside school hours.
6 "Student Princess" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Friday 13 December 1968 (1968-12-13) 8:30pm
An old flame from Bernard's student days turns up as a trainee teacher. She disrupts not only his life but 5C's as well.
7 "It's the Thought that Counts" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Friday 20 December 1968 (1968-12-20) 8:30pm
End-of-term at Fenn Street, and the staff wait for their traditional presents from their forms. Bernard's anticipation at the thought of what he might get from 5C is tempered by the news that the injured Mr Wiggins will be fit to return as 5C's form master next term.

Series Two[edit]

All of these episodes were made in colour, although all the episodes up to The Generation Gap were transmitted in monochrome, as ITV began colour transmission on Saturday 15 November 1969. All were shown in colour in a repeat run, seen in some ITV regions in early 1970.

# Episode Writer/s Director Original ITV Airdate
1 "They're Off" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Saturday 20 September 1969 (1969-09-20) 7:30pm
Bernard's attempts to teach maths by using betting as an example earns him admiration from not only 5C but a man who just happens to be painting the classroom walls.
2 "Common Law" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Saturday 27 September 1969 (1969-09-27) 7:30pm
It's 5C to the rescue when Sharon is attacked on the common going home. Suspicion falls on Potter the Caretaker but how can he prove his innocence?
3 "Panalal Passes By" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Saturday 4 October 1969 (1969-10-04) 7:30pm
Bernard's efforts to stimulate interest in the Parent-teacher Association ends in chaos when Panalal, a young Indian boy, joins 5C.
4 "The Sporting Life" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Saturday 11 October 1969 (1969-10-11) 7:30pm
Bernard's new job as sports master gives him the chance to help Eric Duffy solve a problem. Then Eric decides that one good turn deserves another.
5 "Norman's Conquest" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Saturday 18 October 1969 (1969-10-18) 7:30pm
Potter the caretaker fought in the North Africa regiment during World War II - known as the "desert rats". So when Form 5C get the chance to adopt an animal, they decide on a Jerboa, otherwise known as a desert rat and decide to call him Norman.
6 "X Certificate" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Saturday 25 October 1969 (1969-10-25) 7:30pm
Fenn Street is having an open day and each class must contribute, even 5C. The only problem is that no-one told Bernard.
7 "The Decent Thing" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Saturday 1 November 1969 (1969-11-01) 7:30pm
After a particularly raucous night out, Bernard wakes up in a strange bed in a state of alcoholic confusion. Things get worse when he discovers the bed belongs to Sharon's mother.
8 "The Generation Gap" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Saturday 8 November 1969 (1969-11-08) 7:30pm
Potter's on the warpath as someone has painted his wellies but 5C claim innocence. Bernard tries to get them interested in caring for geriatrics but the enthusiasm is lacking.
9 "Life Without Doris" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Saturday 15 November 1969 (1969-11-15) 7:30pm
Miss Ewell entertains an offer of migrating to Australia and the staff and kids rejoice. But if she goes then her role as Deputy Headteacher needs filling and Mr Price (science teacher) has his eye on it.
10 "The School Captain" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Saturday 22 November 1969 (1969-11-22) 7:30pm
The Headmaster, Mr Cromwell, decides to divide the school into houses. But Bernard discovers that 5C's voting methods do not run along the normal lines.
11 "Out of the Frying Pan" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Saturday 29 November 1969 (1969-11-29) 7:30pm
Fenn Street School dinners are not very appetising, and teachers and pupils alike are avoiding them. Bernard does his best to remedy the situation, but he discovers Mr Potter is in league with the cook. Only the Headmaster considers the dinners to be tasty, but he doesn't realise that it isn't the school cook cooking them.
12 "Mixed Doubles" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Saturday 6 December 1969 (1969-12-06) 7:30pm
The Headmaster invites the staff out to dinner to celebrate his birthday - at their own expense. Abbott endeavours to copy Duffy's technique with the opposite sex, but after a night out with Maureen Bullock, he only lands himself in trouble with the police.
13 "Dress Circle" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Saturday 13 December 1969 (1969-12-13) 7:30pm
The staff arrange an outing to the theatre for the fifth form. But the redoubtable Miss Ewell dampens the enthusiasm of all concerned by disapproving of the choice of dress of some of the pupils. Annoyed at being sent home to change, Bernard and 5C plan - and get - their revenge later in the day.

Series Three[edit]

The final three episodes of this series were affected by the infamous ITV Colour Strike, which affected all ITV programmes recorded between November 1970 and March 1971. As a result of this industrial action, these affected episodes were recorded and transmitted in black and white.

# Episode Writer/s Director Original ITV Airdate
1 "Ag Bow Rumber" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Sunday 20 September 1970 (1970-09-20) 7:25pm
A new term starts at Fenn Street and this means even more trouble for Bernard Hedges. Apart from the day-to-day hazards of teaching 5C, he has to prepare his unruly bunch for their imminent launching on an unsuspecting world. As prospective school leavers, 5C have to consider their future prospects. Bernard is also considering his, in the shapely form of Penny Wheeler (whom he met in the 1971 Please Sir feature film, in which he took 5C on a two-week school trip to the Woodbridge Activity Centre).
2 "Stitches and Hitches" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart. Sunday 27 September 1970 (1970-09-27) 7:25pm
Bernard gets engaged - and Abbott gets appendicitis.
3 "Knick Knack Taffy Whack" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Sunday 4 October 1970 (1970-10-04) 7:25pm
Why does one set about weighing Fenn Street School? It seems that Bernard believes that acts like this will help prepare 5C for their entry into the great, wide world at the end of this term.
4 "Enter Mister Sibley" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Sunday 11 October 1970 (1970-10-11) 7:25pm
Duffy enters the embraces of the cold and harsh world outside school and finds it - cold and harsh.
5 "It's a Saint Bernard's Life" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Sunday 18 October 1970 (1970-10-18) 7:25pm
When Smithy (Mr Smith) falls ill in the country, Bernard sees Reigate in all its rustic glory. He is quite smitten and dreams of the idyllic married life there, but his fiance, Penny, dreams otherwise.
6 "Two and Two Make Nun" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Sunday 25 October 1970 (1970-10-25) 7:25pm
Maureen feels rejected - not only by Sir, but now by Monsignor Sopwith.
7 "The Honour of the School" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Sunday 1 November 1970 (1970-11-01) 7:25pm
Bernard has an annoying habit of being honourable - even when playing golf. But what of his pupils? When Duffy invites Sharon to a half-term Majorcan holiday, will the habit be catching?
8 "Cromwell's Last Stand" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Alan Wallis Sunday 8 November 1970 (1970-11-08) 7:25pm
When "Hank" Abbott, private detective, goes into action, he opens the cupboards the lets out the skeletons. One produces a rash of honesty from Potter. The other makes Cromwell feel that Miss Ewell might yet be won back from Mr Sibley (careers advisor).
9 "Catch a Falling Drop-Out" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Sunday 15 November 1970 (1970-11-15) 7:25pm
Bernard and 5C drop in at the Conservative Club and make new friends. Maureen also makes a new friend, but he is more interested in dropping out.
10 "A Star is Born" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Alan Wallis Sunday 22 November 1970 (1970-11-22) 7:25pm
It takes a face in a thousand to star in an advertising campaign, but Bernard and Potter make it a two-horse race.
11 "The Facts of Life" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Alan Wallis Sunday 29 November 1970 (1970-11-29) 7:25pm
When Bernard hears Abbott's version of the facts of life - which can only be described as high fiction - he feels that it is time to teach 5C the facts of life in an adult way. The only problem is, the Headmaster thinks that the rabbit reproductive system is good enough.
12 "Situations Vacant" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Alan Wallis Sunday 6 December 1970 (1970-12-06) 7:25pm
With the end of the school term approaching, most of Fenn Street's form 5C are already fixed up with jobs, but animal-loving Dennis Dunstable still has no apparent future. Then Bernard has a brainwave which looks like the solution - he suggests Dennis for a stable-lad's job down at the local brewery. But Dennis's bullying, alcoholic dad won't let him work there due to a dispute with the pub's landlord.
13 "Peace in Our Time" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Sunday 13 December 1970 (1970-12-13) 7:25pm
As 5C break up for the very last time, they prepare to take life by the throat, the shirt, the vest or anything else they can lay their hands on.
14 "Christmas Special: And Everyone Came Too" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Mark Stuart Sunday 27 December 1970 (1970-12-27) 7:25pm
Bernard and Penny dream of their wedding day: it should be the happiest day of their lives. However, Potter is chief usher, class 5C are guests, the meteorological department forecasts snow and there are those inevitable unforeseen problems. So their dream acquires all the elements of a nightmare.

Series Four[edit]

Unlike the previous series, episodes were initially broadcast on a Saturday. However there was a week's break in transmission between Episode 14 (Old Fennians Day) and Episode 15 (What Are You Incinerating). When it returned it was broadcast in a Sunday night slot. This was only in London. In the other ITV regions, it continued to be broadcast on Saturdays at 6:30pm, so the rest of the nation saw the last 7 episodes of this series one day before Londoners saw them.

# Episode Writer/s Director Original ITV Airdate
1 "Identitwit" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Philip Casson Saturday 18 September 1971 (1971-09-18) 6:30pm
Bernard has to say goodbye to his 5C class at Fenn Street School but his new class (4C) brings some unexpected problems.
2 "The Pruning of Hedges" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Howard Ross Saturday 25 September 1971 (1971-09-25) 6:30pm
Bernard has finally decided to leave Fenn Street School, but he finds that resigning is not as simple as he had imagined.
3 "Vive La Revolution" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker Philip Casson Saturday 2 October 1971 (1971-10-02) 6:30pm
All contributions are gratefully accepted when magazine time comes around at Fenn Street School. But headmaster Cromwell's efforts to muster his usual support are thwarted by an irate local shopkeeper and Fenn Street's alternative press - The Fenntasy.
4 "A Rather Nasty Outbreak" Tony Bilbow Howard Ross Saturday 9 October 1971 (1971-10-09) 6:30pm

Guest: Peter Cleall

Georgie Duffy is nervous. He is due to start his first term at Fenn Street School - three weeks late. But big brother Eric, a member of last year's 5C and an old hand at dealing with authority, explains that there is nothing to worry about. No-one, however, has taken into account the arrival of new master Gregory Dix on the scene.
5 "David and Goliath" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Philip Casson Saturday 16 October 1971 (1971-10-16) 6:30pm
Bernard Hedges has left Fenn Street School and the gap has been filled by Mr Dix, a living example of everything a teacher should be. The staff long for a new young champion to challenge this tyrant, but when David Ffitchett-Brown arrives wearing beads, they wonder just what sort of champion they have.
6 "AWOL" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker Howard Ross Saturday 23 October 1971 (1971-10-23) 6:30pm
Cromwell's yo-yo obsession helps distract him from David's request for new school supplies, including a new television set that Mr Price attacked with Nitric Acid after his horse had lost a horse race. But between themselves and Potter they work out a cunning plan.
7 "What's a Class Between Friends?" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker Philip Casson Saturday 30 October 1971 (1971-10-30) 6:30pm

Guest: Mollie Sugden

When Cromwell succumbs to an attack of administrative megalomania, the Charge of the Light Brigade is cancelled, a class is lost at the cinema and Mr Price is driven to drink.
8 "Our Mr Price" Tony Bilbow Howard Ross Saturday 6 November 1971 (1971-11-06) 6:30pm
It looks as though Fenn Street will lose yet another teacher when Price applies for a job in industry. But can he really make the break?
9 "Black Power" Tony Bilbow Philip Casson Saturday 13 November 1971 (1971-11-13) 6:30pm

Guest: Derek Griffiths

Potter's repeated demands for an assistant are finally heeded, and Sidney Noakes arrives at Fenn Street.
10 "False Alarm" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Howard Ross Saturday 20 November 1971 (1971-11-20) 6:30pm
The amalgamation with neighbouring Weaver Street and the possibility of Fenn Street going comprehensive is more than the Fenn Street staff can cope with. And even Potter has to decide where his loyalties lie.
11 "Sibley, Mumsie, Dodo and Georgie" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker Philip Casson Saturday 27 November 1971 (1971-11-27) 6:30pm
For Miss Ewell, life is not exactly a bowl of cherries at the moment. There is the school inspection to be organised, and the new Weaver Street kids to keep under control. But then, Doris can always turn to Mr Sibley for comfort - at least until mother's interferences.
12 "United we Sit" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Howard Ross Saturday 4 December 1971 (1971-12-04) 6:30pm
Headmaster Cromwell makes a new rule about haircuts and skirts at Fenn Street School. But the kids won't take this lying down - they decide on a sit-in to ask for student representation on staff meetings.
13 "Nemesis for Norman" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Philip Casson Saturday 11 December 1971 (1971-12-11) 6:30pm
Potter's boasting about his war career gets out of hand when he is chosen to carry the banner at his El Alamein reunion.
14 "Old Fennians Day" Tony Bilbow Howard Ross Saturday 18 December 1971 (1971-12-18) 6:30pm
Cromwell's latest idea is a school song for the first meeting of his newly-formed Old Fennians Association. With the staff bursting into a flurry of musical activity, and the return of the old Form 5C for the big event, it is a day to remember.
15 "What Are You Incinerating" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker Philip Casson Sunday 2 January 1972 (1972-01-02) 7:25pm
The headmaster's "Clean Up Fenn Street" campaign is in full swing. But when Potter takes on some temporary assistance, an explosive situation develops which threatens to clean up Fenn Street for good.
16 "The Ugly Ducklings" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Howard Ross Sunday 9 January 1972 (1972-01-09) 7:25pm
Miss Ewell gets her "mountie", Miss Petting her mandarin and Daisy her "prince".
17 "Cup Fever" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Philip Casson Sunday 16 January 1972 (1972-01-16) 7:25pm
Fenn Street School makes sporting history when its football team reaches the semi-final of the district cup. But Miss Ewell has a match of her own with the star of the team, and if she wins, the school loses.
18 "Please Give Generously" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker Howard Ross Sunday 23 January 1972 (1972-01-23) 7:25pm
When Fenn Street School holds a charity walk for the local "old and needy", the staff are confident of its success. But deciding just who the "needy" are can be a tricky business.
19 "Blodwyn All Over" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker Alan Wallis Sunday 30 January 1972 (1972-01-30) 7:25pm
When the chairman of the Fenn Street School governors makes rash promises to his "niece", the whole school is affected. Cromwell gets a secretary, the kids get a pin-up, and Pricey gets a whole new outlook on life.
20 "The Price War" Tony Bilbow Howard Ross Sunday 6 February 1972 (1972-02-06) 7:25pm
Headmaster Cromwell has a new toy to help him communicate with the whole school, but Price does not want to keep in touch, for an old enemy is out to get him.
21 "The Fixer" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Howard Ross Sunday 13 February 1972 (1972-02-13) 7:25pm
Wedding bells ring out for Miss Ewell and Mr Sibley. Meanwhile, Potter's ding-dong with his wife Ruby ends in a fly-away flourish.

Characters[edit]

Staff

Bernard Hedges (Portrayed by John Alderton). A teacher fresh out of training. He was allocated Class 5C, the most unruly form in the school, at the beginning of term. At first relation were frosty between Bernard and Class 5C, but gradually Bernard gained the respect of his class and the rest of the staff. As the series progressed, he is shown to be a caring and very fair teacher and would always defend his form, regardless of how much evidence is put towards them.

In the movie, he met Air stewardess Penny Wheeler. After misinterpreting a 'few white lies' made by a pupil accidentally left behind, she began to take shine to Bernard. After some time of dating, Bernard attempted to propose to Penny but she already said yes before he could complete his sentence and they got engaged and later married.

Shortly after Bernard got married, a new term started and was allocated Class 4C but it was not quite the same as 5C. He later resigned and left.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]