This is a convoluted story of sitcoms crossing back and forth across the Atlantic. It begins with Alf Garnett and his first sitcom Till Death Us Do Part. Norman Lear read a synopsis of this show, and it triggered an idea in his head about a sitcom based on his own relationship with his father. He created All In The Family, and gave a credit to Speight (more here).
All In The Family, starring Caroll O’Conor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers, and Rob Reiner, and was a huge hit for CBS, running for 205 episodes over nine seasons.
Naturally, everyone wanted to take advantage of this success, and so Edith’s cousin Maude, as played by Bea Arthur, was given her own spin off.
Humphrey Barclay was the a producer and deputy controller of of entertainment at LWT, and he had the option to develop a British version of Maude. He cast London based American Elaine Stritch in the main role, but she was displeased with the scripts she was being given. And so she set out to re-write them herself. Her co-star, Richard Griffiths wrote one himself too.
And so Nobody’s Perfect hit ITV screens in the Autumn of 1980. A second series followed two years later.
After Maude ended in the US, Bea Arthur was cast in a remake of Fawlty Towers called Amanda’s (or Amanda’s Place), and then a few years later in The Golden Girls.
But she wasn’t the only person to audition for the role of Dorothy of course.
And as if that wasn’t enough convolution to send our heads spinning. As The Golden Girls came to a close, Humphrey Barclay once again had the option to make a British version of that show. This lead to the much maligned Brighton Belles.
There’s are no clips of Nobody’s Perfect, so here’s the full pilot episode of Maude instead.