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, which premiered in London's West End on 3 June 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), totalling 6,761 performances. 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 in a flat 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 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.
- No Sex Please, We're British, Samuel French, Inc., ISBN 0-573-61309-5
- Emily Langer "Anthony Marriott, writer of ‘No Sex Please, We’re British,’ dies at 83", Washington Post, 29 April 2014
- 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