Full House – First Time Buyers (7th January 1985)

Full House has done the rounds a few times on Forces TV (Sky 181, Freeview 96, Freesat 165, Virgin 274) but this time I’m hopping on board. It’s not available on DVD which raises the interest level a little for me, as does the cast list.

Running for three series (20 episodes) between 1985 and 1986, Full House features actors familiar from previous sitcoms, such as Christopher Strauli (Only When I Laugh) and Sabina Franklyn (Keep It In The Family), who presumably were recruited in the hope that comedy lightning would strike twice.

Paul and Marsha Hatfield (Strauli and Franklyn) are a young married couple, desperate to escape from the clutches of Paul’s ever-complaining mother. They find a house that seems ideal, but the asking price of £70.000 (this was a long time ago, remember) is too much for them.

But Marsha’s old friend, Diana (Natalie Forbes), and her partner Murray (Brian Capron) are also looking for somewhere to live. So the four decide to jointly buy the house and share it. With, it’s hoped, hilarious consequences ….

Strauli, best known for playing the rather wet Norman Binns in Only When I Laugh, has to tackle a very similar role here. Paul is pernickety to the nth degree, which makes you wonder exactly what the lovely Marsha ever saw in him.

Murray, a freewheeling artist, is completely the opposite and it’s their clash of personalities which dominate this opening episode (Franklyn and Forbes take something of a back seat).

Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke had plenty of sitcom hits on their cv (Man About The House, George and Mildred, Robin’s Nest) but you get the sense that their careers were winding down by this point. This debut episode of Full House was competent enough to make me return for the next one, but I’m not expecting anything especially innovative.

But that no doubt would also have been the case for the audience back when the series was originally broadcast. It can be accepted for what it is (an undemanding 25 minutes enlivened by the regular cast and the occasional guest – today it was Milton Johns as a pushy estate agent).


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