George and Mildred is a British sitcom that was produced by Thames Television that aired from 1976 to 1979. It was a spin-off from Man About the House and starred Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce as constantly sparring married couple, George and Mildred Roper. The premise of the series had George and Mildred leaving their flat as depicted in Man About the House and moving to a modern, upmarket housing estate. Their arrival horrifies their snobbish neighbour Jeffrey Fourmile, a middle-class estate agent who fears that the Ropers’ presence will devalue his home.
It was written by Brian Cooke and Johnnie Mortimer. Like many British sitcoms of the time, George and Mildred was also made into a film, which was dedicated to actress Yootha Joyce who died suddenly in August 1980, just as the cast were about to record a sixth series.
George and Mildred Roper have left their old house after receiving a compulsory purchase order from the Council and move to 46 Peacock Crescent in upmarket Hampton Wick. While Mildred enjoys the chance to better herself in her new surroundings, she is always being thwarted – usually by the lazy, inept and generally unemployed George, who has no interest in climbing the social ladder, and also continues to show a lack of interest in sexual relations with Mildred.
George and Mildred’s next-door neighbours are Jeffrey Fourmile, a snobbish estate agent, and his wife Ann. Ann and Mildred become good friends, but Jeffrey is frequently irritated by George, with their spats providing much of the show’s humour. The Fourmiles have a young son, Tristram, who gets on well with George, much to the chagrin of Jeffrey (particularly because Jeffrey supports the Conservative Party, while George puts socialist ideas into Tristram’s head). In series three Ann gives birth to a second child, Tarquin.
Mildred’s snobbish sister Ethel and her rich husband Humphrey occasionally visit, as does Mildred’s elderly mother. Having married wealth, Ethel enjoys trying to make Mildred feel inferior by showing off her latest car or fur coat, at which point Mildred often makes subtle digs at Ethel’s age, or social status and pretensions. George, however, is far less subtle. George’s nefarious friend Jerry, a jack-of-all-trades and common swindler, also visits occasionally, much to Mildred’s annoyance. Jerry is fond of referring to Mildred as “Mildew”. Jerry is the only other character from Man About the House to reappear in this series.
In the first series, George buys Mildred a Yorkshire Terrier called Truffles after the Ropers are unable to adopt a child (Mildred later registers her with the kennel club as “Truffles duBorbon Fitzwilliam III).
by simon schofield