Wednesday, 27 June 2012

It's Awfully Bad For Your Eyes, Darling

The documentary Sex and the Sitcom that aired on the BBC at the weekend was a fun retrospective look at how sex was depicted in sitcom from the buttoned up 1950s and right the way through to the more censor free present day taking in of course the double entendre and dollybird phase of the 60s and 70s.  It also gave the chance for the BBC to give, briefly, a rare outing for the near forgotten and almost completely wiped 1971 sitcom It's Awfully Bad For Your Eyes, Darling written by novelist Jilly Cooper and Christopher Bond, and starring a young Joanna Lumley.

Here are some of the screencaps from the documentary, taken from the show's one remaining episode 'New Lease' in which the girls mistake an encyclopaedia salesman for their new landlord!

It's a terrible shame, though nothing unusual alas, that out of the seven episodes made, only one remains and, apart from the brief clips discussed here, languishes in the BBC archives. The premise sounds utterly delightful, almost like a sitcom version of Take Three Girls in that four young girls share a flat in Swinging London. Each were wealthy and from well to do backgrounds but they still encountered universal problems such as paying the rent and avoiding the landlord, a dearth of dates and interference from parents.

The cast consisted of Lumley playing Samantha Ryder-Ross, ostensibly 'the sexy one' who had a habit of unselfconsciously wandering around the flat semi clothed (as the above caps show!), Jane Carr (famous for playing tragic Mary McGregor in The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie) as Gillian Page Wood, known as 'Pudding' because of her love of food who was 'the sensible one', Elizabeth Knight as Clover Mason 'the scatty one' and lastly the character of Virginia Walker who was played by Anna Palk in the Comedy Playhouse pilot and replaced by Jennifer Croxton for the series. Also appearing regularly was the character of Bobby Dutton, played by Jeremy Lloyd, who was briefly married to Joanna Lumley for a few months the year before. They remained good friends and Lloyd would later cast her several times when he co-wrote Are You Being Served?

Cast photo from l to r; seated 
Jane Carr, Elizabeth Knight, Joanna Lumley and guest star Jonathan Cecil,
 behind the sofa is Jeremy Lloyd.

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