Friday, 28 August 2020

Queenie's Castle: Just Good Friends


How do I even start to write about this show? It has so much good stuff in it and so much that interests me.

For a start it stars Diana Dors, one of my great favourites. She is unusual among actresses in that you can find her in straight acting and (ahem) apparently she can also be found in sex comedies and risqué modelling. I always feel her role in this show may have been an inspiration for Lily Savage, who often referred to herself as a blonde bombsite. As with most of my favourites you either like her or really don't take to her - rumours abound of sexy parties and her secretly filming guests at her house having sex.

In this show she plays the matriarch of a family, but her husband is 'working away'. She shares a flat with her three grown up sons and her brother in law, and they're all dodgy in one way or another.

There is another star in this show, although it's never named, externals of the flats are filmed at Quarry Hill Flats in Leeds - despite my bizarre interests in failed public housing sadly they had been demolished long before I lived there briefly in the nineties. They were a significant development at the time they were built and continue to inspire fondness among former residents. They also had one of the Garchey waste disposal systems which then heated the building by burning the rubbish. The setting of this show places it firmly in the working class and firmly in the North.

This episode has Queenie being bothered by her family because they think she is seeing another man (hilariously played by Roy Barroclough - I hope you have all seen his Cissy and Adam sketches with Les Dawson). 

I'm trying to think of anything it would be reasonable to dislike about this show but there isn't anything, so there. 

Friday, 14 August 2020

Life with Cooper


I am delighted finally to be writing about this show which has been on my shopping list for ages, and I finally found a reasonably priced copy on eBay.

I love that Tommy Cooper started his life ship building, did magic tricks in his spare time and then realised one day that it was funny if he fluffed the tricks. Thus was his profession as a very good magician who mainly got it wrong on purpose, born. I have just realised that the Goes Wrong Show in the last post is a direct historical descendant of the type of humour in Cooper's act. In between we have Les Dawson, who as my father used to say, must have been a very good pianist to play the piano that badly.

This show is rather atypical for Cooper's act, because while his usual shows were his act plain and simple, this show has an element of each episode also having a story, within which he is his normal bumbling self. I really like that aspect of the show, and it is used to bring other people in. I particularly like Sheila Hancock with her head stuck in park railings. Warren Mitchell is another guest, so this show functions like a sitcom as well as a comedy show with guests.

I also love that it is so much of its time (the sixties) and the sets are perfect examples of the time. Externals show the London of the time with wonderful cars. 

You could criticise this show - you can see the punch lines coming miles off, for example. There is a biography out about Cooper - apparently he and his wife threw furniture at each other and he never, ever bought a round, which is a no no as we know. 

Highly recommended.