The Gaffer (TV series)

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The Gaffer
Created by Graham White
Directed by Alan Tarrant
Starring Bill Maynard
Russell Hunter
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 20
Running time 30mins
Original network ITV
Original release 9 January 1981 (1981-01-09) – 5 July 1983 (1983-07-05)

The Gaffer is an ITV situation comedy series of the early 1980s starring Bill Maynard and written by businessman Graham White. 20 episodes were shown between 1981 and 1983. It was made for the ITV network by Yorkshire Television



After the lack of success of the sitcom Selwyn (sequel to Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggitt!), Maynard's next character could not have been more different from the bumbling Selwyn Froggitt. Fred Moffatt is a survivor - just. Bearded, wearing a battered hat and a crumpled suit, his car a rusting wreck, he runs a struggling engineering firm and is constantly trying to avoid his creditors, the tax man, the bank manager, and indeed anyone who might want him to pay for something. The series' background accurately reflected the precarious condition of many small businesses of the era and added a dark undercurrent to the comedy. Unlike the physical comedy of Froggitt, the scripts for The Gaffer were wordy and sardonic and the plots relatively complex, with Moffatt usually managing to outwit at least some of the people who were chasing him for money.

The cast included Russell Hunter as the radical union shop steward whose interest was in parting Moffatt from as much money as possible to better pay his members, and Pat Ashton as his ineffectual secretary Betty.

Abrupt End[edit]

The third and final series (broadcast 1983) saw Moffatt elected to the local council, extending his struggles to local politics. But, disgruntled with the losing battle he was fighting, in the final episode ("Goodbye") at the end of the season Moffatt upped sticks, sold off the business to his employees and emigrated to Australia to make a new start, only to return and take back the business after having attended his son Spencer's wedding. The show thus ended abruptly, despite its success, after a two year run.

In later years, it was suggested that during the production of series 3, White (the creator of the show) protested that Maynard kept changing his scripts too much, thus embittering the relationship between the two and so a planned fourth series (for 1984) was cancelled. White revealed details of the dispute which ended the series in a 2014 newspaper interview [1]. Graham White published a sequel novel entitled "The Gaffer's Guerillas" which takes the story into the present day [2].

DVD release[edit]

All three series of The Gaffer have been released on DVD by Network, A 3-disc set of the complete series has also been released.

DVD Year(s) Release date
The Complete Series 1 1981 17 August 2009
The Complete Series 2 1982 5 July 2010
The Complete Series 3 1983 13 September 2010
The Complete Series 1 to 3 Box Set 1981-
11 October 2010

See also[edit]

External links[edit]