Behind the ninth door we find the sitcom 9 To 5, which was based on the movie of the same name. Dolly Parton’s role was taken by her younger sister. Parton also produced the first season of the show, though a cover version of her own song was used for that first year. Subsequent seasons used the original.
Unusually, a few years after the show was cancelled by ABC, it was picked up again by Fox for a new syndication run, taking the total number of episodes from 33 to 118.
If you can think of a better title than I Tell You It’s Burt Reynolds, then well done you. This video is a terrible mash up thing, but you get to see the lovely Yorkshire ident, and the title sequence from The Galton & Simpson Playhouse at least.
Another one off episode from the same writers, but in a format is Impasse, starring Bernard Cribbins for the BBC in 1963.
Another Thora Hird show, also for Yorkshire, is In Loving Memory, which ran for five series over 17 years. It was set in an undertaker’s, and was written by Dick Sharples (just like Hallelujah! from yesterday).
There’s an interesting one nestling behind door seven of the calendar. And that’s 704 Hauser (704 Hauser Street in the UK).
Interesting because Norman Lear took the address of his mega-hit All In The Family (a loose remake of Til Death Us Do Part), and had a new cast of characters move in. It didn’t go well, and was cancelled after only five episodes.
Not to be confused with the recent movie, Seven Year Hitch was a BBC sitcom from 1966, written by Fred Robinson. It was a one off in the Comedy Playhouse strand.
And talking of pilot serieses (not sure how to write the plural of series), and harking (geddit) back to yesterday, let’s not forget Seven Of One, with Ronnie Barker. As well as spawning Open All Hours and Porridge, Gerald Frow wrote My Old Man, Roy Clarke did another entry called Spanner’s Eleven, Hugh Leonard came up with Another Fine Mess, and Jack Goetz (actually Barker himself) wrote One Man’s Meat. And Clement & Le Frenais also wrote I’ll Fly You For A Quid, all about a missing betting slip.
Today’s entry (and probably tomorrow’s too) is somewhat inevitable, given the way Ronnie Barker handled the sitcom pilot business. Six Dates With Barker was a series of one-offs, written by different people, most of which led to more things.
Six Dates was LWTs second run of pilots, and included a few familiar things. Opening up with The Removals Person, this was a very early pilot for what turned into Clarence.
Spike Millgan’s The Phantom Raspberry Blower Of Old London Town will be known to fans of The Two Ronnies, while The Odd Job later became a film, with Barker replaced by Graham Chapman.
Mark Lewishohn identifies the fifth episode Come In And Lie Down, written by John Cleese, as a prototype for Basil Fawlty.
LWT’s first run of shows was called The Ronnie Barker Playhouse, and the BBC later mangled the format somewhat with Seven Of One, completely missing the point of the originally planned six pilots.
This is a format that should be revisited more often. Using the star power of a popular performer to showcase new sitcoms, which can then later be reworked into full series. We all know Porridge and Open All Hours came out of this, but as the above shows, it wasn’t just those that developed.