The Bill – Homes and Gardens


Yorkie Smith and Taffy Edwards arrest Mickey Cozens (Stephen Lee) after he causes a disturbance on the high street.  Yorkie quickly assesses that “he’s not the full shilling” and it later transpires that he has the mind of a seven-year old, albeit with the sort of powerful frame that could easily cause someone damage.

And he’s been in trouble before – cracking a bouncers head open a few years back – although his main problem is that he’s easily led (surrounded by so-called friends who manipulate him to create havoc).

Sun Hill is no place for him, as the cells are full of remand prisoners.  Penny suggests that Yorkie either lets him go or sections him – a stark choice.  Whilst Yorkie is uneasy with the thought of Mickey being restrained in hospital, Hollis takes the opposite view.  He believes it’s the best place for him, as sooner or later Mickey’s going to step way over the mark.  No surprises that it happens later in this episode.

Mickey’s father George Cozens (Brian Peck) arrives at the station and Yorkie drives them both home.  Although George maintains that Mickey is normally placid, we see how quickly that can change after he’s told he can no longer see his friends (or “yobbos” as George calls them).  Mickey lashes out in anger, accidentally knocking Yorkie out.  George panics, bundles Yorkie and Mickey into the police car and drives off …

Homes and Gardens has some nice character moments.  We see Alec Peters taking pride in his tomato plants, although he’s unsuccessful in interesting either Viv or Ken Melvin in taking one off his hands (Ken tells him that he has no room – his cannabis plants take up too much space!).  But Frazer is impressed with Alec’s plants and later nips out to buy some of her own.  Taffy is less than overjoyed when he hears that Yorkie’s been kidnapped, complaining that he did it on purpose as he knew Taffy wanted to finish a little early.  Meanwhile Hollis wafts around the building darkly muttering that he knew all along this was going to happen.  Tom Penny is in an uncompromising mood, running the charge room with an iron hand – a far cry from the previous episode when he was very flaky (possibly this was due to the episodes being recorded out of sequence?)

There’s a subplot centering around Jack and Edie Fairweather (Anthony Collin and Pamela Pitchford) return home from holiday to find that their garden’s been stolen.  Poor Jim is lumbered with this one.

Rather like Home Sweet Home, there’s something of a sense that the most vulnerable in society are being neglected.  Although few would agree with Reg Hollis’ opinion that it would be best to lock Mickey up in an institution for the rest of his life, he doesn’t seem to have received anything like the appropriate level of support.  It’s plain that his father is the rock in his life, but following the incident with Yorkie both father and son face an uncertain future.  We don’t know what will happen to them and never will, meaning we end on a troubling note.

One thought on “The Bill – Homes and Gardens

  1. Robert Hudson (Yorkie Smith) seemed to have a very busy schedule in the Bill during the early era of half hour episodes. He seemed to take centre stage in a lot of the goings on at Sun Hill in that first ‘half hour’ year (Robert would leave the series in 1989). Again this is a typical ‘Yorkie’ episode.

    The nature of ‘Homes & Gardens’ is a little comedic given what happens to Yorkie, but the character of Mickey Cousens is an interesting angle. Mental health in the community was dealt with differently in the late 1980s and this story highlights how much attitudes and procedures have improved in the last three decades in tackling ‘vulnerability’.


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