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A Bit of a Do: Wonderful British Comedy

Updated on June 12, 2015
A Bit of a Do. British comedy
A Bit of a Do. British comedy | Source

A delightfully naughty comedy

This British television programme - a complete series - was first shown in 1989 and even though so much time has passed, I can still quote from it. It's incredibly funny and features a selection of top actors playing a bunch of amazingly well-crafted characters.

Just story of two Yorkshire families

Ostensibly. The young couple you see in the image are Paul Simcock and Jenny Rodenhurst. Their parents disapprove but the couple marry and the first episode takes place at their wedding with all their families and friends in attendance.

Romps, revelations and rivalry

Just that first episode gives us an idea of what sort of thing to expect in future programmes.The Rodenhursts are a relatively well-to-do family and are somewhat snooty. The Simcocks, on the other hand are making their way in the world - the father, Ted, owns a small foundry. He is the 'king of the coal scuttles'.

Weddings are like that

Or so I find. Whilst Ted's wife Rita is bemoaning the fact that the posher in-laws are looking down at her and her family, Ted is being propositioned by the posh mother-of-the-bride, the attractive Liz. Whilst the wedding reception is in full flow,the pair make full use of one of the reception venue hotel's bedrooms.

Where's that shotgun?

Jenny, the bride, is an idealistic girl. Throughout her wedding and reception, she feels guilty - and rather sick. She doesn't like deception and she is feeling that they are starting married life on the wrong foot by not admitting to the assembled crowd that there will be another happy event in few months time. So she decided to announce it to all. The trouble was that shortly, due to her dalliances, her mother would soon be in the same state...

Dos

Every episode of this fabulous comedy takes place at a 'do'. There is the dentists' dinner dance, the fishing club's annual party, the crowning of Miss Frozen Chicken and more. These wonderful characters attend them all as the stories of their lives develop.

And that's just the first episode!

The couple of videos I could find of this programme were really bad quality so I haven't included them here.

But I do have a well-thumbed copy of the book. See the images below to get a flavour.

A typical tale of the time

This television programme hit home with so many people because we all know someone who is exactly like at least one of the characters.

In addition to the happy couple above and their parents, there's a whole wealth of finely created characters who tend to ring bells with most of us.

Jenny has a brother Simon. He is an upper class twit who is an estate agent. Paul's brother Elvis, is an unemployed philosophy graduate.

For the sake of their siblings they try to get on but it's not easy.

Then we have the Simcock's best friends, Betty and Rodney, who take it in turns to get drunk at functions.

But I'm not going to describe all the characters .. you can see for yourself from the DVD. But you'll love the story.

We progress through the maelstrom of the affair between the mother of the bride and the father of the groom. We learn about the ups and downs of the newly married couple. Babies are born (yes,plural) and people die.

The dark horse in all this is the unlovely Rita Simcock. Abandoned by her husband for the attractions of the mother of the groom, she is left to stand on her own two feet - something she has never done before. How will she cope?

Meanwhile, her husband is finding that life with his glamorous mistress isn't all it appeared to be. And neither is his business. In fact, as Ted's perfect life is beginning to flounder and split at the seams, his abandoned wife is just coming into her own.

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Roy Clarke's Open All Hours: The Complete Series
Roy Clarke's Open All Hours: The Complete Series

Ted Simcock is played - totally brilliantly - by David Jason. Here's another television series that was incredibly successful back in those days - also set in Yorkshire.

 

© 2014 Jackie Jackson

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