George and Mildred
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|George and Mildred|
George and Mildred title screen
|Created by||Brian Cooke
|Theme music composer||Series 1: Johnny Hawksworth
Series 2–5: Roger Webb
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||5|
|No. of episodes||38|
|Running time||30 minutes
|Production company(s)||Thames Television|
|Original release||6 September 1976– 25 December 1979|
|Preceded by||Man About the House|
|Related shows||Robin's Nest
George and Mildred is a British sitcom that was produced by Thames Television that aired from 1976 to 1979. It was a spin-off from Man About the House and starred Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce as constantly sparring married couple, George and Mildred Roper. The premise of the series had George and Mildred leaving their flat as depicted in Man About the House and moving to a modern, upmarket housing estate. Their arrival horrifies their snobbish neighbour Jeffrey Fourmile, a middle-class estate agent who fears that the Ropers' presence will devalue his home.
It was written by Brian Cooke and Johnnie Mortimer. Like many British sitcoms of the time, George and Mildred was also made into a film, which was dedicated to actress Yootha Joyce who died suddenly in August 1980, just as the cast were about to record a sixth series.
- 1 Cast
- 2 Premise
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Props
- 5 Stage show
- 6 Film version
- 7 The end
- 8 Adaptations
- 9 Book
- 10 DVD releases
- 11 References
- 12 External links
- Yootha Joyce - Mildred Roper
- Brian Murphy - George Roper
- Norman Eshley - Jeffrey Fourmile
- Sheila Fearn - Ann Fourmile
- Nicholas Bond-Owen - Tristram Fourmile
Recurring guest cast
- Avril Elgar - Ethel Pumphrey
- Reginald Marsh - Humphrey Pumphrey
- Gretchen Franklin - Mildred's Mother
- Roy Kinnear - Jerry
- Simon Lloyd - Tarquin Fourmile (from series 3)
George and Mildred Roper have left their old house after receiving a compulsory purchase order from the Council and move to 46 Peacock Crescent in upmarket Hampton Wick. While Mildred enjoys the chance to better herself in her new surroundings, she is always being thwarted - usually by the lazy, inept and generally unemployed George, who has no interest in climbing the social ladder, and also continues to show a lack of interest in sexual relations with Mildred.
George and Mildred's next-door neighbours are Jeffrey Fourmile, a snobbish estate agent, and his wife Ann. Ann and Mildred become good friends, but Jeffrey is frequently irritated by George, with their spats providing much of the show's humour. The Fourmiles have a young son, Tristram, who gets on well with George, much to the chagrin of Jeffrey (particularly because Jeffrey supports the Conservative Party, while George puts socialist ideas into Tristram's head). In series three Ann gives birth to a second child, Tarquin.
Mildred's snobbish sister Ethel and her rich husband Humphrey occasionally visit, as does Mildred's elderly mother. Having married wealth, Ethel enjoys trying to make Mildred feel inferior by showing off her latest car or fur coat, at which point Mildred often makes subtle digs at Ethel's age, or social status and pretensions. George, however, is far less subtle. George's nefarious friend Jerry, a jack-of-all-trades and common swindler, also visits occasionally, much to Mildred's annoyance. Jerry is fond of referring to Mildred as "Mildew". Jerry is the only other character from Man About the House to reappear in this series.
In the first series, George buys Mildred a Yorkshire Terrier called Truffles after the Ropers are unable to adopt a child (Mildred later registers her with the kennel club as "Truffles duBorbon Fitzwilliam III).
Series 1 (1976)
|1||"Moving On"||6 September 1976|
|Having to move, George and Mildred view a property in Hampton Wick on "a small rather exclusive development". They are shown around by the snobbish estate agent Jeffrey Fourmile, who could also be their new neighbour, if Mildred has her way. (Fourmile himself denies he is a snob, as he tells Ann "I am not a snob. You ask anyone. Well, anyone who matters.") When George and Mildred go to see the house a second time, they discover it has been sold. But has it?|
|2||"The Bad Penny"||13 September 1976|
|George and Mildred move into their new home. They're invited for a welcoming drink by the Fourmiles, but Jeffrey doesn't want them around by the time the Fourmiles' dinner guests arrive - the local Conservative MP (played by Diana King), and her husband.|
|3||"And Women Must Weep"||20 September 1976|
|George applies for a position as a filing clerk in an estate agency - Jeffrey Fourmile's estate agency. But Fourmile is more interested in Mildred having the job.|
|4||"Baby Talk"||27 September 1976|
|Mildred is asked to babysit Tristram. The middle class Fourmiles are going out to see Tom Stoppard's play Jumpers. "I hope you like them.", says Mildred considerately. Mildred enjoys babysitting - she wonders if she and George might try and adopt a child themselves. Anthony Sharp appears in this episode, and Truffles, the Ropers' Yorkshire terrier, for the first time.|
|5||"Your Money or Your Life?"||4 October 1976|
|Mildred wants George to get life insurance, and wants to know, for example, how much an average, run-of-the-mill funeral will cost. "Is it for a loved one?" the funeral director asks, to which Mildred replies "No, it's for my husband." But George is not too happy when he realises he's worth more dead than alive. Michael Ripper, Stella Moray, and Arthur Howard appear in this episode.|
|6||"Where My Caravan Has Rested"||11 October 1976|
|George trades in his broken down car, a Reliant Regal, for a broken down caravan - and the local Residents Association are keen to get rid of the eyesore. Mildred's sister Ethel and her husband Humphrey visit from Oxshott. They've had electronic gates fitted for their drive that open to the sound of Ethel's voice. "Haven't seen 'em shut yet.", Humphrey says. (Mildred shows off her Lava lamp in this episode - a very popular item of home decoration in 1970s Britain.) Fourmile meanwhile, runs out of patience and sends the caravan to the scrapyard to be crushed, not knowing that George is sleeping inside it.|
|7||"The Little Dog Laughed"||18 October 1976|
|George is not too happy about Truffles seeming to get better treatment from Mildred than he does. And then, having taken Truffles to the pub with him, and left her outside, she wanders off. Meanwhile, Tristram wants a dog too. Paul Angelis appears in this episode.|
|8||"Best Foot Forward"||25 October 1976|
|George and Mildred visit the posh local pub The Genevieve. "I want to create a good impression George, so stay in the background.", Mildred tells him. When the Ropers' television goes wrong, George takes Fourmile's ladder to climb up to the aerial to fix it. Fourmile takes the ladder away, George falls off the roof, sprains his wrist and breaks his leg. In hospital, a fellow patient (played by Kenneth Watson), tells George he can sue Fourmile for the injury.|
|9||"My Husband Next Door"||1 November 1976|
|After 20 years, the Ropers' TV set has finally perished and has to be carted away. It's bad news for George, who had a whole "itininerary" of viewing planned for his week off, as opposed to redecorating the lounge. With the Fourmiles going on holiday, Ann offers Mildred the use of their set. When George hears this he ends up spending all his time next door - which causes a huge problem when the decorators Mildred has hired come calling.|
|10||"Family Planning"||8 November 1976|
|Ethel arrives in her "new bottle green automatic Jaguar XJ6", to have a chat with Mildred about their mother who is getting on and too old to be left on her own. George doesn't want her to live with them, and Ethel and Humphrey are planning to convert their spare room into "a billiard room and sauna bath.". A family conference is called to decide the issue of who should look after her. And Tristram gets a black eye from a girl at school so Jeffrey teaches him boxing.|
Series 2 (1977)
|1||"Jumble Pie"||14 November 1977|
|George is bereaved when Oscar, his budgerigar, dies. Mildred offers to help out at a jumble sale at the church so Revd. Stopes (Trevor Baxter), calls to collect items for sale. Amongst other things, Mildred donates a box of George's old gardening magazines because he never does any gardening. However, she is mortified when George tells her that the box was mostly girly magazines.|
|2||"All Around the Clock"||21 November 1977|
|It's the Ropers' 24th wedding anniversary and Mildred gives George a pipe and tobacco. George has got her a carriage clock, which he bought for ten pounds from a man in the pub. Meanwhile Jeffrey, Anne and Tristram get back from a golfing holiday to find they have been burgled, and one of the missing items is a carriage clock. Robert Gillespie and Richard Coleman also appear in this episode.|
|3||"The Travelling Man"||28 November 1977|
|George thinks he and Mildred could improve their finances by taking in lodgers. Mildred is opposed to the idea but changes her mind when Mr. Rogers (Derek Waring), a charming sales rep, knocks at their door looking for a room. Meanwhile, Tristram wants a skateboard which his father disapproves of as the latest 'fad'. Harry Littlewood appears in this episode.|
|4||"The Unkindest Cut of All"||5 December 1977|
|Mildred's sister Ethel and her husband are coming to dinner, so Mildred wants to cook something special - poulet rôti. ("That looks finger lickin' 'orrible.", says George unkindly, a subversion of the famous KFC slogan.). But then the Ropers' electricity supply is cut off because George failed to pay the bills. With the Fourmiles away, George decides to run an extension cable from their home into his own. Norman Mitchell appears in this episode.|
|5||"The Right Way to Travel"||12 December 1977|
|Mildred wants to go to Majorca on holiday, but George wants to go back to Blackpool. Anyway, "we don't speak a word of Majorcan.", he points out to Mildred. And what's worse for George, - Mildred wants them to travel with the Conservative Association to get a 40% discount. George, a supporter of the Labour Party isn't happy with that idea either.|
|6||"The Dorothy Letters"||19 December 1977|
|Mildred is having a spring clean and finds an old case which contains some love letters written by George to somebody called Dorothy. She takes George off for some relationship counseling. Meanwhile, since the world is over-populated, Jeffrey Fourmile considers having a vasectomy. (James Cosmo appears in this episode.)|
|7||"No Business Like Show Business"||26 December 1977|
|Jeffrey Fourmile is producing and directing the Hampton Wick Players Christmas pantomime, Cinderella. A problem arises however, which leaves the production short of a second ugly sister. Mildred, who has been eager to take part, is offered the role, and accepts. Ethel and Humphrey arrive for the evening of the performance, but by then, Mildred has fallen ill and lost her voice leaving George to take her place. (Roy Barraclough, playing an ugly sister, Sue Bond, and Derek Deadman also appear in this episode.)|
Series 3 (1978)
|1||"Opportunity Knocks"||31 August 1978|
|After Jerry tells him about his latest scheme, George thinks it would be a good idea to sell the house to raise the capital to back it; meanwhile Ann Fourmile meanwhile is heavily pregnant. (Patricia Kneale and Robert Raglan appear in this episode.)|
|2||"And so to Bed"||7 September 1978|
|After George breaks their old bed Mildred is determined they should buy a new one, but George is on a Hire purchase blacklist. Can his horse race predictions save the day, and his accumulator provide the necessary cash? (Jimmy Thompson, John Lyons and Harry Littlewood appear in this episode.)|
|3||"I Believe in Yesterday"||14 September 1978|
|George blows the dust off his little black book while an old flame from Mildred's past turns up. (Lionel Murton, George Malpas and Claire Davenport appear in this episode.)|
|4||"The Four Letter Word"||21 September 1978|
|Mildred's brother-in-law Humphrey offers George a job, but the notoriously lazy George doesn't want it, despite Mildred's insistence. After learning that Humphrey is planning a weekend away with his secretary Maggie, George manages to wangle a way out of it. Jennifer Guy appears in this episode.|
|5||"The Delivery Man"||28 September 1978|
|Ann goes into labour whilst Jeffrey is away at work in Birmingham, so it is up to George to get her to the hospital in time (in his motorbike and sidecar of course). (Gail Lidstone, Cass Allen, Michael Redfern and Paul Meier appear in this episode.)|
|6||"Life with Father"||5 October 1978|
|George's father turns up on the doorstep after getting thrown out of his old folks' home. (Reg Lye, Beatrix Mackey, and Tim Barrett appear in this episode.)|
Series 4 (1978)
|1||"Just the Job"||9 November 1978|
|George is called to a job interview - the position vacant is that of traffic warden. George has no love for the "little Hitlers" as he sees them, but perhaps, he will find his niche in life? Meanwhile, George (reluctantly) and Mildred (happily) agree to attend Tristram's School Prize Giving.|
|2||"Days of Beer and Rosie"||16 November 1978|
|A young man turns up and tells George that he's his son, conceived on VE Night in 1945 when George had a brief fling with the man's mother. Jeremy Bullock and Tony Melody appear in this episode.|
|3||"You Must Have Showers!"||23 November 1978|
|Mildred wants to have a shower installed in the bathroom, but George insists they cannot afford the prices being asked so he calls in Jerry (Roy Kinnear) to install it on the cheap.|
|4||"All Work and No Pay"||30 November 1978|
|George resigns from his job as a traffic warden, but tries to figure a way around not telling Mildred and incurring her wrath. (Blake Butler appears in this episode.)|
|5||"Nappy Days"||7 December 1978|
|Ann and Jeffrey Fourmile have to attend a funeral and ask George and Mildred to look after baby Tarquin for the day. This is fine until George is left alone in sole charge of the baby, the Fourmiles are late getting back from the funeral, and George wants to go to a darts match at the British Legion. (Norman Mitchell appears in this episode and also Billy Burden.)|
|6||"The Mating Game"||14 December 1978|
|Mildred wants Truffles, George and Mildred's Yorkshire terrier, to have puppies. George is happy with that, since he thinks there might be money in it. They decide to try and pair Truffles with Mildreds sister Ethel's Yorkie, Pomeroy. But Ethel, (Avril Elgar), isn't sure; "I don't think Pomeroy has ever seen a bitch. I keep him with me all the time.".|
|7||"On the Second Day of Christmas"||21 December 1978|
|George and Mildred reflect on their uneventful Christmas - even Mildred's mother, (Gretchen Franklin), has a more exciting time. Ann invites them over for a post-Christmas drink and George loses a stack of money to Jeffrey playing a video game. And then Ethel and Humphrey arrive.|
Series 5 (1979)
|1||"Finders Keepers?"||24 October 1979|
|George finds a credit card and Mildred suspects he has used it to buy her a fur coat from Oxfam as an anniversary present. Tristram meanwhile, has made friends with a boy from the local council estate which displeases his father who comments "Is it snobbish to think their sort should have a separate playground?" (Trevor Baxter, Roy Herrick, Ivor Roberts and Hal Dyer appear in this episode.)|
|2||"In Sickness and in Health"||30 October 1979|
|When Mildred goes into hospital for suspected appendicitis, George's shifty friend Jerry invites himself to stay along with his 'niece' Gloria. Sue Bond, Nina Baden-Semper, Aimée Delamain, and Royston Tickner appear in this episode.|
|3||"The Last Straw"||6 November 1979|
|Mildred is disenchanted by her failure to be included in the social life on her middle class estate. She and George return to George's old neighbourhood, with an eye to moving back, and visit his old neighbours (Queenie Watts and Michael Robbins), but they find the terraced streets are gone, replaced by tower blocks. But back in Hampton Wick, Mildred's spirits rise when she gets invited to join a local committee.|
|4||"A Driving Ambition"||13 November 1979|
|When George discovers that Mildred has not been attending keep-fit classes as she told him she had, he begins to wonder if she's having an affair. (Robert Raglan and Harry Fowler appear in this episode.)|
|5||"A Military Pickle"||27 November 1979|
|George's brother Charlie (Peter Birrel), turns up, and brings a letter for G. Roper that arrived in 1949, just after George had left home. It turns out the letter contains call-up papers and Mildred is married to an Army deserter. (David Neville, Michael Maynard, Richard Shaw, and Harry Littlewood appear in this episode.)|
|6||"Fishy Business"||4 December 1979|
|Mildred accidentally flushes George's pet goldfish, Moby, down the drain. After George searches the pipes under the garden for his beloved fish, Mildred buys him a new pet. Perhaps homing pigeons can fill the gap left in George's life, but getting them to come back is a different matter! (Norman Mitchell and Ted Burnett appear in this episode.)|
|7||"I Gotta Horse!"||18 December 1979|
|Mildred's mother (Gretchen Franklin), reveals to Mildreds sister Ethel that Mildred may be in possession of a valuable antique pot horse when one just like it appears in the Country Life magazine and is valued at £10,000. (John Carlin and Mimi De Braie appear in this episode.)|
|8||"The Twenty-Six Year Itch"||25 December 1979|
|George takes a shine to a barmaid (Patsy Rowlands) at the local pub when Mildred attends The Young Conservatives Christmas Dinner and Dance with Jeffrey after Ann insists on visiting her mother.|
George Roper's 1933 Brough motorcycle combination shown to regular comic effect in the opening titles of series 2, 3 and 5 is now exhibited at the London Motorcycle Museum. It was also featured in the BBC sitcom Dad's Army.
During 1977, Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce, joined at one point by Reginald Marsh, toured in a successful stage version of the programme. In 1976 & 1977, Murphy and Joyce appeared as the ugly sisters, Georgina and Mildred, in the London Palladium pantomime, Cinderella.
Following the fifth series, a feature film version of the series was produced in 1980. The film was not written by Cooke and Mortimer but by Dick Sharples. The Fourmiles only played a small role in the film, which focused on George and Mildred celebrating their wedding anniversary, at Mildred's insistence, at an upmarket London hotel. It featured several guest stars including Stratford Johns, Kenneth Cope and Vicki Michelle. The film was neither a critical nor box office success. It was shown on ITV on Christmas Day 1980.
The final caption of the George and Mildred film read "The End - or is it the beginning?" It was to prove to be the former as Yootha Joyce died from portal cirrhosis of the liver due to chronic alcoholism on 24 August 1980, before the film was released. Friends and colleagues were unaware that Joyce had been habitually consuming half a bottle of brandy every day for over 10 years.
In 2004, on an audio commentary on the Australian Umbrella DVD release of George and Mildred: the Complete Series 2, Brian Murphy revealed that there had been plans for a sixth series of eight episodes of the show. These were to have been recorded in late 1980. Murphy also revealed that this was due to have been the final series of George and Mildred, as he and Yootha Joyce were afraid of being typecast after playing the characters since 1973 on television and in two films. However, despite scripts being written, Joyce's hospitalisation and subsequent death brought a premature end to the show. Her funeral took place on the day the cast were due to begin rehearsals for the new series. Speaking of their relationship in a 2001 ITV programme, The Unforgettable Yootha Joyce, Murphy said that when they had first met at Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop he had, "always regarded Yootha as very stylish and very confident. I was rather over-awed by her at first, full of admiration for her. "At her death, "People said, 'You've lost a working partner' and I said, 'No, I've lost a chum'... and then I realised I've lost my working partnership as well...".
Thames Television did consider producing a spin-off for the character of George, looking at him cope with life as a widower. However, this project did not materialise, though Brian Murphy did reunite with George and Mildred co-star Roy Kinnear and writers Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke for The Incredible Mr. Tanner, a comedy produced by Thames Television in 1981.
"Man About the House - George and Mildred: The Definitive Companion" by Tex Fisher was published on 1 July 2010. The book includes contributions from many of the original cast, including Brian Murphy, Paula Wilcox, Sally Thomsett and Nicholas Bond-Owen. It explains the background and history of both programmes, together with an episode and film guide, full cast biographies, details of the stage play, full catalogue of support cast, and a 1970s Phrase Dictionary. ISBN 978-0-9565634-0-8. The book is published by Deck Chair Publishing.
The first DVD of George and Mildred was released by Clear Vision in the UK in 2001, featuring six episodes of series one (four episodes of the first series were omitted). The DVD was criticised for poor image quality and changes to the original captions.
The George and Mildred movie was released on DVD in 2003.
The entire first series was released by Network DVD in Region 2 (UK) in 2005 with superior image quality and unedited captions. The second, third and fourth series were released in 2006. The fifth and final series was released in 2007.
In 2009, Fremantle Media re-released DVDs of each of the five series. In 2011, Fremantle once again re-released all five series, and a complete box set is available.
In Australia, the first series was released by Umbrella in May 2003. Unlike the Clear Vision release of Series 1, all ten episodes were included, as were the original advertising captions, the Thames TV idents at the start and original end boards. A DVD of Series 2 was released in March 2004. A DVD of the movie was released in the same year. Unlike the UK Network release of Series 2, the Australian version contained some audio commentaries with series star Brian Murphy. Series 3, 4 and 5 were released in Australia on DVD in 2008.
- Julian Upton, "Carry on Sitcom: The British Sitcom Spin-off Film 1968-1980", Bright Lights Film Journal, no. 35, January 2002.