My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

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fatcat
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My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by fatcat »

Talking of short-run sitcoms does anyone remember and have opinions of My Wife Next Door

It appeared to have been only a few episodes that were quickly repeated and never heard of again IIRC.

It starred John Alderton and Hannah Gordon as a separated couple who find themselves living in the two ends
of a semi-detached cottage in the country....usual cozy middle class BBC fayre of that time IIRC.

I do Remember liking it

But what was unusual about it was it was written by Brian "I can do it all me" Clemens, who was also probably hacking away on
ATV's Thriller series as well at the time

.

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Billy Smart
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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Billy Smart »

fatcat wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:56 pm
It appeared to have been only a few episodes that were quickly repeated and never heard of again IIRC.
Someone at the BBC must have remembered the 1972 series as a success, because all 13 episodes were given a repeat run on BBC1 in 1979/80.

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Brock »

Billy Smart wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:38 am
fatcat wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:56 pm
It appeared to have been only a few episodes that were quickly repeated and never heard of again IIRC.
Someone at the BBC must have remembered the 1972 series as a success, because all 13 episodes were given a repeat run on BBC1 in 1979/80.
Indeed. I remember it as having been rather successful.

Wikipedia says "One episode of the series won a British Academy Television Award for Best Situation Comedy in 1973. When the series was repeated in 1979 it gained more viewers than during its original run, and topped the BBC1 weekly ratings several times. This was in part due to the ITV strike that limited British viewing to BBC1 and BBC2 for several weeks.[*] As a result, the BBC considered producing a second series, to be shown in 1980. However it never appeared, due to Alderton at that time returning to focus in stage work and accepting little TV roles."

[*]This can't be right - the 1979 run began on 23 November, a month after the strike was over.

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by stearn »

Obviously thought of as sufficiently successful to be released on DVD 5 years ago. I remember watching some episodes then and it must have been 'OK, but nothing special' as I have no real recollections of it.

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by voyager »

I remember it fondly as I had a crush on Hannah Gordon, it must have made an impact as Hannah was a guest on the Morecambe and Wise 1973 Christmas show

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Mark »

Hannah Gordon probably was thought of, on the back of "My Wife Next Door", although as she admitted, she was asked to do "M&W" after someone else declined to appear.

I thought it was a great series, the two leads were really good, obviously a somewhat far fetched idea, but hugely entertaining.

According to a Time Screen interview with Clemens, he created the series, and came up with the storylines, and Richard Waring wrote the scripts, he mentions two seasons were done, although they were all shown together ( it may have been done in two batches because of John Alderton's commitments to "Upstairs Downstairs").

He also mentions there were plans for more episodes and a film, but partly blames John Alderton for being a 'Typical Actor', He 'Didn't want this, and he didn't want that and so it didn't happen'.
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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by fatcat »

An interesting history from contributors, and perhaps no reason why it is not included in the BBC perennial basket of repeats. Unless of course perhaps somebody is blocking it?

I don't recall the later final repeats at all

But in the end It must have been because of Hannah Gordon why I remembered it as she must of been a member of the Sheila Fearn Society of Yummy Mummys
LOL.

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Simon Coward »

Brock wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:06 am
Indeed. I remember it as having been rather successful.

Wikipedia says "One episode of the series won a British Academy Television Award for Best Situation Comedy in 1973. When the series was repeated in 1979 it gained more viewers than during its original run, and topped the BBC1 weekly ratings several times. This was in part due to the ITV strike that limited British viewing to BBC1 and BBC2 for several weeks.[*] As a result, the BBC considered producing a second series, to be shown in 1980. However it never appeared, due to Alderton at that time returning to focus in stage work and accepting little TV roles."

[*]This can't be right - the 1979 run began on 23 November, a month after the strike was over.
Wikipedia is right about the award, it did indeed win the 1972 SFTA Award for Best Situation Comedy (which was awarded in early 1973, so it's not inaccurate there). But I don't think the series topped the ratings at any point in its life, in 1972's original broadcast, or with a one-off repeat to celebrate the award in early 1973, in a full repeat later in 1973 or in the final BBC re-run in 1979-80.

Six of the first-run episodes did make the JICTAR Network Top 20, as did one of the 1973 repeats, but only on two of those occasions did it scrape into the lower reaches of the Top 10, it was otherwise in the lower reaches of the Top 20 or out of it altogether.
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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Brock »

Oh well, usual inaccurate Wikipedia stuff then. I'll edit the entry when I get round to it.

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Simon Coward »

Brock wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:27 pm
Oh well, usual inaccurate Wikipedia stuff then. I'll edit the entry when I get round to it.
To be fair to whoever updated that bit of Wikipedia, they've accurately summarised the info contained on the web-page they've cited (i.e. https://www.britishclassiccomedy.co.uk/ ... -door-1972) - it's that page that's talking out of its hat.

The one thing I haven't checked is the claim that the viewing figures were better in 1979 than in 1972, that could conceivably be the case even if the chart positions were worse. Between the two airings, JICTAR switched from reporting on Homes Viewing to reporting on Individuals Viewing which makes a comparison non-trivial.
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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Billy Smart »

Simon Coward wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:22 pm
The one thing I haven't checked is the claim that the viewing figures were better in 1979 than in 1972, that could conceivably be the case even if the chart positions were worse. Between the two airings, JICTAR switched from reporting on Homes Viewing to reporting on Individuals Viewing which makes a comparison non-trivial.
The JICTAR figure for the episode broadcast on Fri 18 January 1980 is an impressive 19.3m (the second most watched programme that week), so its not a wholly fallacious claim. Only two episodes of the repeat run got into the Top 20, though. The highest 1972 figure was 6.8m households, so 14.96m viewers if you go by the usual rubric of multiplying the figure by 2.2.

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Mark »

A clip was shown in the two part "Best Of British Comedy", at Christmas 1983, presented by Frank Muir ( the scene in a restaurant when John Alderton accidentally pushes Hannah Gordon into the Gents).

Of course, UK Gold screened it, in the early days.
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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by cdnbob »

I remember seeing it as a very young teenager - I must of been around 12-14. While I may not have got some of the jokes but I remember enjoying it a lot. So much so the memory of the show kept with me for years and whenever I mentioned it to anyone, no one seemed to remember it. I picked up the UK DVD release a few years ago, and recently watched it with my partner and we both enjoyed it a lot. I thought both Alderton and Gordon were very good in the show.

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Mark »

Yes, they were both very good, and I would say it was possibly the best scripts that Richard Waring did.

Well known for his 'Domestic Comedies', such as the problems of newlyweds in "Marriage Lines" and the Ups and Downs of family life in "Not In Front Of The Children", the constant battles between George and Suzie were very witty and highly amusing.

Would still like to know where the cottages were, used in the filming, and there was plenty of other great scenery to be seen, especially in my favourite episode, the one about the car rally/treasure hunt.
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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Simon36 »

Mark wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:03 pm
Hannah Gordon probably was thought of, on the back of "My Wife Next Door", although as she admitted, she was asked to do "M&W" after someone else declined to appear.

I thought it was a great series, the two leads were really good, obviously a somewhat far fetched idea, but hugely entertaining.

According to a Time Screen interview with Clemens, he created the series, and came up with the storylines, and Richard Waring wrote the scripts, he mentions two seasons were done, although they were all shown together ( it may have been done in two batches because of John Alderton's commitments to "Upstairs Downstairs").

He also mentions there were plans for more episodes and a film, but partly blames John Alderton for being a 'Typical Actor', He 'Didn't want this, and he didn't want that and so it didn't happen'.
Alderton’s bad behaviour has sabotaged the success of many a production over the years, on the stage as well as on telly. He’s nuts.

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Mark »

Becoming a hugely popular Actor can make some, a touch difficult, LWT were desperate to hang on to him as a major factor in the success of "Please Sir!", not only persuading him to do the first two episodes of series 4, but three episodes of "The Fenn Street Gang" series 1, his loss to "PS!" was keenly felt.

If there had been more of "My Wife Next Door", it may only have been one or maybe two more series, he probably wouldn't have stuck around too long.
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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by swills »

Remember Mr Waring very well, first met him back in the 60's when I started going to see NOT IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN at TV Centre, it was myself, and two other school mates, we ended up going so many times, we did bcome 'friends' with Richard, and 'the Children'
Roberta Tovey, whom I have always had a crush on, Hugo Keith Johnston, Verina Greenlaw, and of course Jill Riddick :-)

also went the the radio recordings too, if I recall at the Paris in Regent St :-)

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Simon Coward »

Billy Smart wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:59 pm
Simon Coward wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:22 pm
The one thing I haven't checked is the claim that the viewing figures were better in 1979 than in 1972, that could conceivably be the case even if the chart positions were worse. Between the two airings, JICTAR switched from reporting on Homes Viewing to reporting on Individuals Viewing which makes a comparison non-trivial.
The JICTAR figure for the episode broadcast on Fri 18 January 1980 is an impressive 19.3m (the second most watched programme that week), so its not a wholly fallacious claim. Only two episodes of the repeat run got into the Top 20, though. The highest 1972 figure was 6.8m households, so 14.96m viewers if you go by the usual rubric of multiplying the figure by 2.2.
That is impressive. So no-one was really interested in the Shah of Iran on ITV.

The figure of 2.2 is interesting and is certainly one that I've used, but I'm not sure how accurate it is. it would be interesting to take a look at the JICTAR reports before and after the switch in 1977 to see what figures they were using.

I was looking at the viewing figures for Coronation Street and Crossroads in late July and early August 1977. Obviously it isn't a completely valid comparison as you're dealing with different weeks and so different numbers of viewers but if the average number of viewers in the two weeks before and the two weeks after was the same, the multiplier seemed smaller - more like about 1.7. Which of course would take the 19.3m figure even more impressive.
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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Billy Smart »

I wonder if there was a higher proportion of lone viewers watching Crossroads at 6.30 than there would have been watching a sitcom at 8.30, or drama series at 9.00 (programmes that would perhaps be more likely to be watched by whole families, or couples together). No multiplier could take this into account.

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Simon Coward »

That's quite possible. I may try it again with some different shows.

I can't make a nice table here anymore, but the one 1967 TAM Rating report I have access to lists the number of ITA Homes (homes which can receive ITV transmissions) and the regional populations - but the latter seems to be the overall total, not just the population in the ITA Homes. This results in some rather high per-home figures which aren't really any help, but here they are anyway:

Grampian: Population = 1,847, ITA Homes = 300, per home = 6.16
Anglia: Population = 5,864, ITA Homes = 970, per home = 6.05
Ulster: Population = 1,375, ITA Homes = 265, per home = 5.19
Midlands: Population = 10,428, ITA Homes = 2,440, per home = 4.27
Westward: Population = 1,601, ITA Homes = 415, per home = 3.86
North: Population = 14,606, ITA Homes = 3,805, per home = 3.84
Southern: Population = 4,269, ITA Homes = 1,145, per home = 3.73
Scottish: Population = 3,980, ITA Homes = 1,110, per home = 3.59
TWW: Population = 3,918, ITA Homes = 1,125, per home = 3.48
Channel: Population = 107, ITA Homes = 31, per home = 3.45
Tyne-Tees: Population = 2,720, ITA Homes = 790, per home = 3.44
London: Population = 13,490, ITA Homes = 3,965, per home = 3.40
Border: Population = 525, ITA Homes = 165, per home = 3.18

Population and Homes figures in thousands. Population excludes children under 4.
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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Simon Coward »

I took a look at some Man About the House and The Sweeney repeats and at the game show Winner Takes All. It's the summer, so not too many big guns are being shown.

Their individuals to homes ratios are certainly higher - respectively 1.98, 2.14 and 1.94.

I tried looking at News at Ten too, but its positioning in the charts is so variable I don't think it's consistent enough. Usually two out of the five got into the Top 20 in positions between 8 and 15, but one week it tops the chart which throws things out somewhat. Without the chart-topper the ratio was 1.79; with it, even lower as it fell during the 'Homes' period.
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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by opaltotem »

Just been watching this, and wondered if anyone knew the whereabouts of the cottages?

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Mark »

swills wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:30 pm
Remember Mr Waring very well, first met him back in the 60's when I started going to see NOT IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN at TV Centre, it was myself, and two other school mates, we ended up going so many times, we did bcome 'friends' with Richard, and 'the Children'
Roberta Tovey, whom I have always had a crush on, Hugo Keith Johnston, Verina Greenlaw, and of course Jill Riddick :-)

also went the the radio recordings too, if I recall at the Paris in Regent St :-)
That's brilliant!...must have been a lot of fun, it was a great show.
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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Mark »

opaltotem wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:17 pm
Just been watching this, and wondered if anyone knew the whereabouts of the cottages?
I wish I knew, been wondering about that for ages, they are lovely.

Hopefully they are still there, and it's not a Tesco or something.
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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by John McE »

I don't know where the cottages are (or were), but I can't help noticing that the view from their doorways changes from fields to trees to even another cottage in one episode.

I just did a rewatch of the series, and still think that the chemistry between the two stars is top notch. I would have loved to see a second series - maybe his wife Shirley wasn't too keen?

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Simon36 »

Internet suggests they were in Poynton. That seems a bizarrely long distance from TVC...

http://www.poyntonforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=3589

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Mark »

Simon36 wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 1:06 am
Internet suggests they were in Poynton. That seems a bizarrely long distance from TVC...

http://www.poyntonforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=3589
That does seem unlikely, I've had a quick look on street view, but can't see anything.

They seemed to be some way back from a main road though.
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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by Ian Wegg »

Simon36 wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 1:06 am
Internet suggests they were in Poynton. That seems a bizarrely long distance from TVC...

http://www.poyntonforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=3589
It does seem a long way but then the exteriors for (Still) Open All Hours are shot in Doncaster.

The post on the Poynton forum reads...
RETACY wrote: Is it the cottages set back on Middlewood Road?
This is where I thought it was filmed but my husband disagrees with me!
:?
It suggests to me that both wife and husband know it was filmed there but disagree on the exact location.

I think this is where she means. Google Street View.

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by ozsat »

The building style looks the same but the lower windows are now all smaller than the end credits show - so unlikely to be there.

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Re: My Wife Next Door (1970s BBC sitcom)

Post by ozsat »

"FILM & TV LOCATIONS IN THE CHILTERNS AND THAMES VALLEY 1940 - 2014" by Mark Jones says they are at "The Lee, near Great Missenden"

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