Man About the House

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This article is about the British sitcom. For other uses, see A Man About the House (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Man of the House (disambiguation).
Man About the House
Man about the house.jpg
From left to right: Thomsett, Wilcox and O'Sullivan.
Created by Brian Cooke
Johnnie Mortimer
Starring Richard O'Sullivan
Paula Wilcox
Sally Thomsett
Yootha Joyce
Brian Murphy
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 6
No. of episodes 39 + 1 short (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Peter Frazer-Jones
Running time 30 minutes
(including commercials)
Production company(s) Thames Television
Distributor FremantleMedia
Release
Original network ITV
Picture format 4:3
Original release 15 August 1973 (1973-08-15) – 7 April 1976 (1976-04-07)
Chronology
Followed by George and Mildred
Robin's nest
Related shows Three's Company (US)
Sam sam (NL)
En fyra för tre (SWE)
Tre på toppen (NOR)
Lokatorzy (POL)
Troe sverhy (RUS)
El hombre de la casa (ECU)
Tres son multitud (CHI)

Man About the House is a British sitcom starring Richard O'Sullivan, Paula Wilcox and Sally Thomsett, with Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy, that was broadcast for six series on ITV from 15 August 1973 to 7 April 1976. It was created and written by Brian Cooke and Johnnie Mortimer. The series was considered daring at the time due to its subject matter of a man sharing a flat with two single women. It was made by Thames Television and recorded at their Teddington studio in Greater London.

Two spin-off series were later made: George and Mildred and Robin's Nest. In 2004, it came 69th in a poll to find Britain's Best Sitcom. The series was remade in the United States as Three's Company in 1977. A film version was released in 1974.

Cast[edit]

Main stars[edit]

Co-stars[edit]

Recurring cast[edit]

Plot[edit]

Young flatmates Chrissy and Jo find a stranger, student chef Robin Tripp, asleep in their bath the morning after the farewell party for their departed flatmate Eleanor. They are taken with Robin when they realise his culinary skills are far superior to their own. Apparently, "Eleanor didn't leave the recipe for toast."

Chrissy and Jo moved out on their own to live in London. They both work for the same firm. When he meets the two girls, Robin has been in London two days, having moved from Southampton to attend college. The girls are unimpressed with Gabrielle (Helen Fraser), a pushy girl who arrives hoping to move in to Eleanor's room. Learning that Robin has been staying at the YMCA they easily convince him to move in.

Robin moves in on a platonic basis, and Chrissy tells the landlord George Roper that Robin is gay to pre-empt objections to the mixed-sex living arrangement. George, in truth a sub-letting landlord placed by the council, is a miserly, spiteful and unkempt man under the thumb of his domineering and sexually-frustrated wife Mildred.

In the second episode, Robin's true sexuality becomes known to Mildred. She takes out her frustrations with George's lack of class and sexual inadequacy by making suggestive remarks to Robin and frequently siding with the tenants against George. Mildred openly flirts with Robin at every opportunity. Robin frequently acts in a flirtatious manner toward Chrissy and Jo. The girls generally have no romantic interest and spurn his mild advances, and adapt to his presence in the flat. Chrissy occasionally shows attraction to Robin but they never pursue any romantic interaction.

Robin's friend Larry, a lovable rogue, appears on a recurring basis through the series. In the third series, he moves into the loft apartment above the trio's apartment and is a frequent source of trouble. Another occasional cast member is George's friend, dim schemer Jerry (Roy Kinnear). Jerry is the only supporting character to reappear in the spin-off George and Mildred.

Robin's brother Norman Tripp (Norman Eshley) appears in the final two episodes of the sixth and final series, and starts a romance with Chrissy. Norman Eshley had a previous guest role in the series two years earlier playing a different character, and was also a member of the main cast of George and Mildred in which he played the Ropers' snobbish neighbour Jeffrey Fourmile.

Throughout Series 5 Thomsett's advancing pregnancy became harder to hide on screen. She was absent from episode 1 of Series 6 as she recovered from the birth of her child.

Episodes[edit]

First airing on 15 August 1973, Man About the House ran until 7 April 1976, after 39 episodes in six series. In addition, on Christmas Day, 25 December 1973, a short special aired as part of All-star Comedy Carnival.

Theme music[edit]

Written by Johnny Hawksworth and entitled "Up To Date", it was not specially commissioned for the show, rather provided via the Production music company De Wolfe Music and most recently, made available in 1996 by independent record company Studio2Stereo on their CD "The sound gallery – Volume two". (Matrix number 7243 8 52990 2 5).

Film[edit]

Man About the House
"Man About the House" (1974 film).jpg
Uk theatrical poster
Directed by John Robins
Produced by Roy Skeggs
Written by Johnnie Mortimer
Brian Cooke
Starring Richard O'Sullivan
Paula Wilcox
Sally Thomsett
Music by Christopher Gunning
Cinematography James Allen
Edited by Archie Ludski
Production
company
Distributed by EMI Films
Release dates
22 December 1974
Running time
90 mins
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office £90,000 (London area)[1]

In 1974, a film version was made, starring all of the main cast of the series. It was the last in a series of big screen adaptations of popular TV shows made by Hammer Films[1] though a George & Mildred film (featuring Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy) would be made in 1980 by another studio.

Plot[edit]

The Ropers learn that Mr Pluthero a real estate developer, wants to buy their building. The roommates circulate a petition to stop the development which attracts the interest of MP Sir Edmund, who keeps a mistress in the building.

Production[edit]

The film started shooting in March 1974 at Elstree Studios in London, finishing on 12 April.[2]

Reception[edit]

The film was a hit, taking £90,000 in London alone.[1]

The critics were less impressed, with David Parkinson writing in the Radio Times, "great cast, shame about the script...The material is thinner than a bedsit wall."[3]

Cast[edit]

Spin-offs and remakes[edit]

After the series ended in 1976, two successful spin-off series followed:

The format of Man About the House was sold internationally, and it was remade in the United States as Three's Company in 1976; in the Netherlands as Sam Sam in 1994; in Sweden as En fyra för tre in 1996; in Norway as Tre på toppen in 1997; in Portugal as Não Há Duas Sem Três in 1997;[4] in Poland as Lokatorzy in 2000; in Russia as Troe sverhy in 2006; in Ecuador as El hombre de la casa and in Chile as Tres son multitud, both in 2007.

The American Three's Company also spawned the same spin-offs as Man About the House had: Three's a Crowd and The Ropers, based upon Robin's Nest and George and Mildred, respectively.

DVD releases[edit]

All six series have been released on DVD in the UK by Network DVD, as have George and Mildred and Robin's nest.

Series 1 and 2 have had a US release as part of a 2-disc set by FremantleMedia.

Series 1 and 2 were released in Australia in 2004, but then suffered a delay in releasing further series due to contract re-negotiations (the same problem affected releases of George and Mildred and Bless This House). Series 3 was finally released on 16 July 2008, and Series 4 on 5 November 2008; however, it is no longer available. Series 5 and 6 are yet to be released. Series 1 was re-released on 2 April 2009, now with the same cover art as the UK edition. Fremantle Media re-released series 1 on 3 March 2011 with new cover art.[5] Re-releases have continued with Series 2[6] on 3 October 2012, Series 3[7] on 1 May 2013, and Series 4[8] on 1 May 2013. Series 5[9] and Series 6[10] finally receive a release on 7 August 2013.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Tom Johnson and Deborah Del Vecchio, Hammer films: An exhaustive filmography, McFarland, 1996. p375.
  2. ^ Alan Barnes & Marcus Hearn, The hammer story: The authorised history of Hammer films, Titan books, 2007. p 151.
  3. ^ "Man about the House | Film review and movie reviews". Radio Times. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  4. ^ http://www.rtp.pt/programa/tv/p13286 Não Há Duas Sem Três on RTP website
  5. ^ Man about the house – series 1
  6. ^ "Buy Man About the House: Series 2 on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  7. ^ "Buy Man About The House: Series 3 on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  8. ^ "Buy Man About The House: Series 4 on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  9. ^ "Buy Man About The House: Series 5 on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  10. ^ "Buy Man About The House: Series 6 on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 

External links[edit]