Tonight I’ll be catching To The Manor Born and Dallas on BBC1. To The Manor Born was incredibly popular at the time (the final episode in 1981 pulled in a staggering 27 million viewers) but it hasn’t retained the same profile today. The fact it doesn’t get re-run has something to do with this, of course. The performances are the thing which still engage the interest – especially Penelope Keith as the horrendous and self-centered Audrey fforbes-Hamilton. It’s Keith’s skill (not to mention the more sympathetic characters played by Peter Bowles and Angela Thorne) which ensures that Audrey is more than a one-dimensional snob. Although there are times when I have to confess I find her very irritating ….
I’ve been meaning to make a real dent in my Dallas boxset for some time, so maybe dipping into this episode will provide the spark to get me going. Possibly yet another programme to add to the 2023 pending rewatch pile.
I’ll set the VHS to record M*A*S*H on BBC2 whilst I switch over to ITV for The Morecambe & Wise Show and Minder. It’s noticeable how peak time repeats (today it’s To The Manor Born and Minder) are quite common in this era. Patricia Brake and Ruth Madoc are Eric and Ernie’s guests today. As I’ve said before, I think the Thames era deserves a little more love than it generally receives – yes, the rehashes of old scripts do become very noticeable at times (as in this episode) but the BBC series also did this from time to time (hello, Greig’s piano concerto).
All Mod Cons (S02E08, original tx 30th October 1980) is today’s Minder repeat. Toyah Wilcox guests as Kate, with Michael Robbins, Simon Cadell, Tony Osoba and Harry Towb also featuring. My thoughts on this one can be found here.