Saturday, 6 August 2011

Yus My Dear (1976)

Yus, My Dear was a British situation comedy which ran for nineteen episodes over two series in 1976 featuring, Arthur Mullard and Queenie Watts in the lead roles, it was written by Ronald Chesney and Ronald Wolfe. Produced and directed by Stuart Allen for London Weekend Television, it was screened by the ITV network during 1976, and marked an early regular TV appearance of the comedian Mike Reid..
After four series of 'Romany Jones' ( which starred the late James Back as good-for-nothing caravan dweller 'Bert Jones' ), writers Ronnie Wolfe & Ronnie Chesney took its two supporting characters, 'Lil & Wally Briggs' ( played by Queenie Watts and Arthur Mullard ), her, a gossipy old rat bag and him, an incompetent, under-the-thumb, drunken layabout, and gave them a sitcom of their own called 'Yus, My Dear'.
Here, the pair have moved on. They now reside in a council house in London as the caravan site they lived on for many years is closed for redevelopment. Wally has a new job working on a building site and seems to be earning a healthy wage ( which he is usually relieved of by Lil when he comes back home on pay day ). Making himself an unwelcome permanent guest in the house is Wally's conniving younger brother 'Benny', played by future 'EastEnders' star Mike Reid ( he played wily con merchant 'Frank Butcher' ) in what was his first acting role. Benny's hobbies include signing on at the Labour Exchange ( now known as The Job Centre ), tapping his 'fick bruvver' for every penny he has and squandering it at the bookies. Benny has a girlfriend called 'Molly' ( the lovely Valerie Walsh ) a leggy redhead who works as a stripper at a seedy nightclub.

The plots were pretty much the same each week (Benny finding a new way to relieve Wally of his 'hard' earned cash ), but it was frequently hilarious. Mullard is on good form here. Mike Reid was hilarious as Benny and his scenes with Wally were undeniably the best part of the show. There was a memorable scene in one episode in which Benny was berating Wally for his lack of culinary skills. ''When you were a nipper, I used to cook your breakfast!'', says Wally. Benny's response: ''Oh yeah, I remember when you used to make Welsh Rarebit. Me and my mates used to sole our shoes with them!''
. .

During both series of 'Yus, My Dear', there were some impressive cameo appearances. Pat Nye appeared in the second show as Lil's fire breathing sister 'Beatrice', of whom Benny and Wally were terrified of ( who can blame them? ). Tommy Godfrey appeared in a series two episode as as a dodgy salesman who sold Wally a faulty deep-freeze. Pat Ashton appeared in two episodes as Molly's friend and fellow stripper 'Phyllis'. The show's catchy theme song was written by Denis King & Myles Rudge and sung by Arthur Mullard.

"Thank goodness for EastEnders' Frank Butcher. Without him, Mike Reid's TV acting legacy may have been this absolutely dire 1976 sitcom. Arthur Mullard, hugely popular in the 1970s, plays an old geezer lumbered with a nagging wife who moves into a council house. However, his layabout brother (Reid) insists on living off him too. Stepping in dog poo is funnier..."

Lorna Cooper, MSN TV, 12th August 2008


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