Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em()
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Basil Fawlty and Frank Spencer are proof-positive that sitcom characters can attain a place in the public psyche immaterial to the few times they were actually seen on television - there were only 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers and just 22 of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.
Of course, repeat airings have helped embed Frank Spencer deeply in the collective consciousness, but the fact that he is there at all is down to the startling work of Michael Crawford, whose performances as the well-intentioned but appallingly accident-prone, ineffectual, underachieving wimp, clad in a mac and beret, was one of genius.
Born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on 19 January 1942, Crawford had been steadily working as an actor since he was a boy, appearing in films, on radio and in dozens of TV roles - usually dramatic - as a youth (in 1959 he was one of the schoolboys in Billy Bunter Of Greyfriars School before rising to starring roles in a number of British black-comedy movies in the 1960s, such as The Knack and How I Won The War and in the TV show Not So Much A Programme More A Way Of Life But the character of Frank Spencer propelled Crawford from the middle ranks to superstardom.
This was undeniably a worthy success - few people have ever worked harder than Crawford at perfecting their art, and it is arguable that no one else has ever taken so many personal risks to life and limb while so doing, not even Charlie Drake. Raymond Allen, the writer of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, was generous in his praise of Crawford and the actor's interpretation of the character - indeed, many of Spencer's most effective (and affected) mannerisms and examples of his verbal ineptitude were created by Crawford. His nervous, effete movements and tremulous voice gave Frank Spencer a childlike quality that might have become tedious if it wasn't for the fact that these affectations were combined with some of the most amazing and hilarious physical comedy ever seen on TV. To be truthful, the storylines themselves were never up to much (few viewers can remember them), but Spencer's penchant for landing himself in spectacular situations caused Crawford to perform some dazzling and downright dangerous stunts in the name of comedy (some of which were unforgettable). From dangling over a cliff-edge from the exhaust pipe of a Morris Minor, to roller-skating underneath a moving articulated lorry, the seemingly fearless Crawford appeared to deem no stunt too risky. It is no exaggeration - and a huge compliment to Crawford, and the production as a whole - to say that these stunts compare with some of the classic work in the field by Buster Keaton.
But it wasn't all carefully contrived stunts. Crawford also invented a panicky, quivering, manic aspect to Spencer's personality, best seen in the episode where his sweet, loving, super-patient and now heavily pregnant wife Betty went into labour and Frank, with the best intentions in the world, created a maelstrom of chaos around her. As Betty, Michele Dotrice provided sympathetic support for Crawford, content to let him explode in all directions while she, the sensible one, concentrated on being the calm eye at the centre of the storm. (Frank duly became father to a daughter, Jessica, at the end of the second series. Naturally, he doted upon her, one child recognising another.)
Crawford went on to massive success in the West End of London and on Broadway, notably in Barnum and Phantom Of The Opera, but in Frank Spencer he left behind a larger-than-life TV comedy icon who brought pleasure to millions, especially younger viewers, and provided material for a host of TV impressionists many years after he himself had locked the mac and beret in the closet.
Michael Crawford - Frank Spencer
Michele Dotrice - Betty Spencer
Jane Hylton - Mrs Fisher (series 1)
Glynn Edwards - Mr Lewis (series 3)
Raymond Allen - Writer (series 3 storylines by Michael Crawford)
Michael Mills - Producer (1973-75
Sydney Lotterby - Producer (1978)
Number of episodes: 22 Length: 13 x 30 mins · 6 x 35 mins · 2 x 45 mins · 1 x 50 mins
Series One (7 x 30 mins) 15 Feb-29 Mar 1973 · BBC1 Thu 8pm
Series Two (6 x 30 mins) 22 Nov-27 Dec 1973 · BBC1 Thu 8.30pm
Special (50 mins) 25 Dec 1974 · BBC1 Wed 7.15pm
Special (45 mins) 25 Dec 1975 · BBC1 Thu 6.55pm
Series Three (6 x 35 mins) 11 Nov-16 Dec 1978 · BBC1 Sat 8.30pm
Special (45 mins) 25 Dec 1978 BBC1 Mon 7.15pm
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|Some.Mothers.Do.Ave.Em.Complete.Series.Plus.Christmas.Specials.DVDRip.H264(BINGOWINGZ-UKB-RG)||8.61 GB||8||4||3 months||4 weeks|
|Some.Mothers.Do.Ave.Em.1978.Christmas.Special.DVDRip.XviD-RUNNER||358.57 MB||3||0||4 years||1 year|
|BBC Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em Christmas Special 1974||526.3 MB||3||1||2 years||1 year|
|BBC Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em Christmas Special 1975||350.65 MB||3||3||2 years||1 year|
|Some.Mothers.Do.Ave.Em.1975.Christmas.Special.DVDRip.XviD-RUNNER||356.82 MB||1||0||4 years||2 years|
|Some Mothers Do Ave Em Season 1 (BINGOWINGZ-UKB-RG)||1.9 GB||0||1||3 years||1 year|
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