Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width

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Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width
Genre Sitcom
Created by Vince Powell
Harry Driver
Starring John Bluthal
Joe Lynch
Bernard Spear
Cyril Shaps
Eamon Kelly
Country of origin UK
No. of series 6 (+ pilot)
No. of episodes 41 (including mini Christmas special)
Production
Producer(s) Leonard White
Ronnie Baxter
Stuart Allen
Alan Tarrant
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel ABC Television
(pilot + series 1–2)
Thames Television
(series 3–6)
ITV
Original run 18 February 1967 (1967-02-18) – 14 September 1971 (1971-09-14)

Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width is a British television sitcom first broadcast in 1967 as a single play in the Armchair Theatre anthology series, later becoming a series of half-hour episodes, which ran until 1971. A total of 40 episodes were made, all but one of them being believed to have aired.

It was originally made by ABC Television for the ITV network, with its production being continued by Thames Television.

Plot[edit]

The plots revolved around two tailors in business together. Manny Cohen, played by John Bluthal, was Jewish, and Patrick Kelly, played by Joe Lynch, was Irish. Above their shop worked Lewtas (Bernard Spear) who was also Jewish and imported cloth. Two further prominent characters were Rabbi Levy (Christopher Benjamin in the pilot (he later reappeared as Dr Shapiro in a later episode), Cyril Shaps in series 1 to 4, David Nettheim and Jonathan Burn as Rabbi Stone in series 5) from the local synagogue, and Father Ryan (Denis Carey in the pilot, Eamon Kelly in series 1 to 4) from the local Catholic church. The Romanian-born Meier Tzelniker also made several appearances as Israel Bloom.

The production company ABC had the ITV weekend franchise for the Midlands and the North of England, the show was also seen in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland and Australia.

TV listings for Saturday 25 November 1967, from the Times Archive[1] (accessible by subscription), show that Never Mind The Quality... was broadcast at 7.00 pm across the majority of ITV regions. These include (in order as listed) ATV London, ABC (Midland and Northern), Southern Television, Westward, Anglia, Channel, Grampian, Border, Tyne Tees, and Ulster. At the same time West of England and South Wales broadcast Garrison's Gorillas, and Scottish Television broadcast The Desperate Hours. As the regional broadcasters were largely independent of each other, it was not unusual for even the most popular programmes to be scheduled at different times and on different dates.

One episode featured Manny and Patrick trading the rights to display their pictures around the shop. When Patrick had two pictures of the Pope on the wall while Manny had one of Moshe Dayan, Manny's comment was "It's the going rate. Two Popes to one Moshe."

Another episode had Patrick, a singer, filling in at the synagogue for a sick cantor, on the occasion of a visit by the Chief Rabbi. Coached to sing phonetically in Hebrew, Patrick performs, every moment milked for comedic value. Finally the Chief Rabbi congratulates Patrick but reveals he knows something is up. When asked how he knows, he replies, "Simple. At the end of the service you genuflected and crossed yourself!" The episode title was "The Not-So-Kosher Cantor".

Notable guest artistes included film actors Dennis Price as a Savile Row tailor and Rupert Davies as a Roman Catholic Bishop, Fred Emney, Harold Bennett, David Kossoff (playing himself), Jack Smethurst, Dad's Army stars Frank Williams (playing another clergyman) and Bill Pertwee, comedian Dick Bentley, Roy Marsden, Victor Maddern, future Coronation Street stars Barbara Knox (as Barbara Mullaney) and Roy Barraclough, George A Cooper, Rita Webb, On the Buses star Michael Robbins, and Ellen Pollock as Manny's mother Ruby.

Film adaptation[edit]

In 1973 Bluthal and Lynch reprised their roles in a film spin off.

Episodes[edit]

Episodes marked with an * are, according to Kaleidoscope Publishing, currently missing from the archives.

Pilot (1967)[edit]

  • Never Mind The Quality, Feel The Width (18 February 1967)*

Series One (1967)[edit]

  • 1.1. Cohen & Kelly (25 November 1967)*
  • 1.2. Not So Much A Sanctuary, More A Penance (2 December 1967)*
  • 1.3. Remember That Thou Keep Holy (9 December 1967)*
  • 1.4. Man Shall Not Live By Bread Alone (16 December 1967)
  • 1.5. Leopards Can Change Their Spots (23 December 1967)*
  • 1.6. A Flower Of Israel (30 December 1967)*

Series Two (1968)[edit]

  • 2.1. And A Yamulka To Match (13 August 1968)*
  • 2.2. A Madonna for Manny (20 August 1968)*
  • 2.3. And Leave The Rest Of The World Behind (3 September 1968)*
  • 2.4. A Suit Fit For A Prince (10 September 1968)*
  • 2.5. Hello Mother, Hello Father (17 September 1968)
  • 2.6. All That Glitters Is Not Gelt (24 September 1968)

Christmas Special (1968)[edit]

  • I'm Dreaming Of A Kosher Christmas (26 December 1968)

Series Three (1969)[edit]

  • 3.1. Old Soldiers Never Die (21 August 1969)
  • 3.2. Situations Vacant – Apply Saville Row (28 August 1969)
  • 3.3. David Kossoff? He's A Friend Of Mine (4 September 1969)
  • 3.4. Arrividerci Roma (11 September 1969)
  • 3.5. It's The Thought That Counts (18 September 1969)
  • 3.6. And A Brother A Priest (25 September 1969)

Christmas Special (1969)[edit]

  • All Star Comedy Carnival (mini episode) (25 December 1969)*

Series Four (1970)[edit]

  • 4.1. Blood Is Thinner Than Water (25 June 1970)
  • 4.2. Without Prejudice (2 July 1970)
  • 4.3. New Worlds For Old (9 July 1970)
  • 4.4. What You've Never Had, You Never Miss (16 July 1970)
  • 4.5. Miracles To Measure (23 July 1970)
  • 4.6. Only Four Can Play (30 July 1970)

Series Five (1970–71)[edit]

  • 5.1. And Ecumenicals To You (15 December 1970)
  • 5.2. I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen (22 December 1970)
  • 5.3. Twenty Years On (29 December 1970)
  • 5.4. A Question Of Policy (5 January 1971)
  • 5.5. The Not So Kosher Cantor (12 January 1971)
  • 5.6. And Nobody Knew They Were There (19 January 1971)
  • 5.7. You Will Go To The Ball, Manny Cohen (26 January 1971)

Series Six (1971)[edit]

  • 6.1. Manny Cohen R.I.P. (3 August 1971)
  • 6.2. Romeo Cohen And Juliet Weinberg (10 August 1971)
  • 6.3. Holiday With Kosher Strings (17 August 1971)
  • 6.4. There's No Smoke Without Fire (24 August 1971)
  • 6.5. Weavers To Wearers (31 August 1971)
  • 6.6. Daylight Robbery (7 September 1971)
  • 6.7. Mix Me A Marriage (14 September 1971)

Trivia[edit]

The pilot and the first two series were produced by ABC; however, the second series (of 6 episodes) did not air until just after Thames launched, who initially aired the six series 2 episodes over August and September 1968.

Archival status[edit]

Out of the 40 episodes which were made, 11 episodes no longer exist. These are the pilot, five of the six episodes from Series 1, and five of the six episodes from Series 2.

DVD release[edit]

A 4-Disc set of the show, containing the Thames TV series was released on DVD in June 2010, by Network.

Sadly, the sole-surviving ABC episodes have not been included and are not released onto DVD as of 2013.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Mark Lewisohn, BBC Online Comedy Guide/Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy
  • British TV Online Resources

External links[edit]