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  • I read an article in 'Dreamwatch' magazine a good few years back which included the lines; "Science fiction and comedy are difficult to mix. For every 'Red Dwarf', there are about ten 'Come Back Mrs.Noahs'. At which point I fell on the floor laughing. "Come Back Mrs.Noah' wasn't intended to be science fiction comedy! I'm sure Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft would be the first to admit that.

    The premise is this; Mollie Sugden plays 'Mrs.Gertrude Noah', a prize-winning housewife on a tour of a British space station ( ! ). Unfortunately, there's an accident and said station is blasted out of orbit, beginning a course that will take it out of the Solar System. Rescue is, for the moment, impossible. Also on board are two scientists played by Michael Knowles and Donald Hewlett, and Ian Lavender as a news reporter.

    The humour is crude and coarse; for instance, when in the first episode Mrs.Noah becomes weightless, the ship's computer advises her to propel herself forward by means of expelling natural body gas. Farting, in other words. Instead she takes a bottle of perfume from her handbag and uses that to do the same. If 'Grace Brothers' had been a space station instead of a department store, this is what it would have been. But what do you expect from Lloyd and Croft?

    There were also a number of scenes back on Earth with Tim Barrett as the harassed head of the British space exploration centre and Ann Michelle as his sexy assistant. Spoof news broadcasts read by Gorden Kaye prefaced each edition. Great comedy? Absolutely not! But its not as half as bad as F.Gwynplaine McIntyre makes out. I think we should be allowed to see it for ourselves so we can make up our own minds. Besides, after the fiasco of 'Hyperdrive', could anything possibly be worse?
  • This one only last for one season (6 episodes) while Mollie Sugden was in hiatus from the long-running ARE YOU BEING SERVED? series. A rather notorious series, it was written and produced by David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd, who also did SERVED. It stars Mollie Sugden (Mrs. Slocombe) as a British housewife accidentally blasted into space in Earth's orbit while touring the latest British space station.

    With her are a journalist (Ian Lavender), two of the crew (Michael Knowles and Donald Hewlett) and a custodian (Joe Black). A sort of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND meets LOST IN SPACE, the series uses lots of topical jokes (a reference to the Thatcher Memorial in Moscow is quite funny) and lots of sight gags.

    Done on the cheap, the series is very limited in its set design, but that almost works in its favor. The sight of Sugden flying around in a weightless environment or packed into an orange decontamination suit (How do we get rid of the contamination?) is quite funny.

    Set in the year 2050, Sugden still looks and dresses like her famous Mrs. Slocombe character (minus the dyed hair) and she is firmly based in her working-class mum persona, despite the technological marvels of the age.

    The series was a flop and Sugden returned to SERVED and stayed in the Grace Brothers store until the series finished in 1985. Also in the cast is Jennifer Lonsdale who would co-star in Sugden's THAT'S MY BOY series.

    Knowles and Hewlett had also appeared on SERVED as had Diana King, Raymond Bowers, and Gorden Kaye, who all make guest appearances.

    The giant techno chicken is hilarious.
  • A little gem of a comedy from 1977 – written by Lloyd and Croft ( 'Are You Being Served' etc ) and Starring Molly Sugden, Ian Lavender and the two 'silly arse' officers from 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum'. Virtually impossible to track down on video or DVD CBMN is the unlikely story of Housewife Gertrude Noah who is accidentally blasted in to Earth orbit with a few crew members of Great Britain's first space station.

    The comedy is dated and old fashioned… by which I mean it's very funny! People say funny things and the viewer laughs – a concept sadly lacking in modern sitcoms. Certainly the jokes are crude and vulgar – in a traditional and hilariously smutty way like the 'Carry On' movies. Essentially if you've seen 'Are You Being Served' then you'll know exactly what to expect. I need hardly mention that there are no swear words whatsoever.

    Special effects are hardly 2001 though there is an excellent scene where Sugden and Lavender are 'lying; in bed but it is a clever trick involving the camera lying on it's side giving the effect of cups and liquids flying horizontally instead of downwards – the results are side-splitting.

    Jokes come from word-play, double entendres, bizarre inventions, silly costumes, class conflict – everything you expect from Lloyd and Croft.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Rob Grant and Doug Naylor ( Creators 'Red Dwarf') watched this programme in their formative years as there are so many similarities and parallels even down to the appearance and behaviour of Kryten. A 'holodeck' also appears decades before the one in Star Trek.

    If you like 'Are You Being Served' and 'Dad's Army' then ignore the knockers ( oops ) and do try to take a look at this.
  • Agreed , COME BACK MRS NOAH is not a classic comedy ,in fact it's rather laughless but it's nowhere as bad as many people have made out and I certainly wouldn't put it in the same league as unfunny patronising crap like ALL ABOUT ME .

    The problem lies with the format of a bunch of people being stranded aboard a space station and trying to rescue them . It should be pointed out that most of the humour comes from a special effect identical to the Ice Warrior death effect in DOCTOR WHO of peoples faces " shimmering " as they blast out of orbit . This happens in nearly every episode and wasn't very funny the first time it happened so goodness knows why the production team thought there was a lot of mileage from this . There's also a very formulaic idea of having a piece of technology take centre stage in every episode . For example there's a VR machine that Mrs Noah tries that has her believe she's at a wrestling match . If the budget had existed then we might have seen the title character sitting in a wrestling hall but we are talking BBC budget here which means the joke involves Mrs Noah in the space station shouting " Go on tear his arm off ! " . There's another episode featuring a computerised tea making machine . Come on how many laughs will that cause ? Not too many if you hadn't have guessed

    So in space no one can hear you laugh because the ideas are severely limited and the casting doesn't help since Sugden will always be known as Mrs Slocombe , Ian Lavender will always be known as Private Pike while Hewlett and Knowles will always be known as the two snobbish officers from IT AIN'T HALF HOT MUM and you're instantly reminded of better things the cast have appeared in . As I said it's short on laughs but there seems to have been a bit of a bandwagon over the years making out this is the worst comedy the BBC has ever produced . Despite being unfunny and unsophisticated it's not that bad , it just had the misfortune to be produced during the golden age of BBC comedy
  • Although not quite the worst comedy programme in the entire history of English television, 'Come Back, Mrs Noah' is well down to the bottom of the barrel: rather surprising, this is, when you look at its credits. (The credits are the ONLY part of this series worth looking at.) The show was scripted by David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd, the comedy geniuses behind 'Are You Being Served?' and 'Grace and Favour'. The lead role of Mrs Noah is played by Mollie Sugden, who was so memorable (and funny) as Mrs Slocombe in those two classic sitcoms. But 'A.Y.B.S.?' and its sequel are prime examples of ensemble shows: here, Sugden proves she can't carry the comedy all by herself. (She had a similar problem in another Britcom, 'That's My Boy', in which her Oop North accent left her miscast as a homesick Londoner.)

    'Come Back, Mrs Noah' has precisely the same premise as the grossly overrated 'Gilligan's Island': a motley group of characters are stranded in a remote place and can't get home. Imagine if 'Gilligan's Island' was set in outer space and Mrs Howell was the central character in every episode ... and you'll see why 'Come Back, Mrs Noah' is so dead awful.

    Mrs Noah (Sugden, playing a role almost exactly like Mrs Slocombe) is one of several characters who are trapped in a space station orbiting Earth. This series runs up against the same problem that plagued 'Gilligan': in order to come up with new plotlines, the writers must introduce guest characters as visitors to the series' isolated setting (Mrs Noah's space station, Gilligan's island), and then the writers must figure out how to get the visiting characters out again at the end of the episode without rescuing the regulars. Who cares?

    'Come Back, Mrs Noah' is stupefyingly unfunny. The 'best' thing about this show is its theme song, which (interestingly) is played at the END of each episode, not the beginning. Unfortunately, this theme song is just catchy enough that it lodges in my head every time I hear it, and it won't go away for several weeks. Whenever I want to watch any show that comes on immediately AFTER a repeat of 'Mrs Noah', I always make certain to skip the first minute of the show I want to watch, so that I won't risk hearing the theme song of this terrible show.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It genuinely feels like Mrs Slocombe has left Grace Brothers for a holiday, and instead of going to the Costa Plonka (the movie) she's gone to a space station. Her character Gertrude Noah wins a cookery prize and gets a chance to visit a British Space craft, set to travel into Space for sixty years, however a mix up sees Mrs Noah sent into space with some other unsuspecting people.

    It's crass, bawdy, with the toilet humour exclusive of the seventies, if it's not your bag, you will utterly loathe every second of it, if you enjoy it, then there are laughs, gags and double entendres aplenty for you.

    Borrowed jokes, horrific props, the worst special effects you could hope to see, but it does boast Mollie at her peak, and she manages to make it watchable, even if it IS Mrs Slocombe in space. All that's missing is the Are you being served cash register sound during the changes of scene.

    It seems like Are you being served made stars of the cast, and nobody quite knew what to do with the cast, all of whom seemed to deserve more then they got.

    I can't help but snigger when I watch this show, I don't know if it's the script, or embarrassment, but to class it as the worst British sitcom of all time is unfair.

    5/10 they tried something different, they failed, but Come back Mrs Noah is unique.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    By the late '70's, Mollie Sugden was a big comedy star, thanks to 'The Liver Birds' and 'Are You Being Served?'. In 1977, Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft crafted a vehicle for her - 'Come Back Mrs. Noah' ( set in the year 2050 ) - in which she was Gertrude Noah, a housewife who as first prize in a cookery competition is taken around Britain's biggest and newest space craft by T.V reporter Clive Cunliffe ( Ian Lavender ), scientists Carstairs ( Donald Hewlitt ) and Fanshaw ( Michael Knowles ) and dogsbody Garstang ( Joe Black ). Predictably, the ship is blasted into space and the crew try their best to bring the craft back down to earth.

    Scenes back on earth featured Tim Barrett ( I couldn't stand him ) as head of the British space exploration centre Garfield Hawk and the lovely Ann Michelle as his assistant Scarth Dare. Gordon Kaye prefaced each edition as the newscaster for 'Far & Wide' ( an obvious spoof of 'Nationwide' ).

    Made by the same team behind 'Are You Being Served?', 'It Ain't Half Hot, Mum' and 'Dad's Army', 'Come Back Mrs. Noah' should have been a born hit. Sadly it was not. Viewers were unamused by the cheap special effects and vulgar jokes. Yes it was crude, vulgar, cheaply made and it was corny even by 1970's standards, but the thing is, I loved it, it was a pure guilty pleasure. Mollie Sugden was as marvellous as ever though Ian Lavender shone too as Cunliffe. Knowles and Hewlitt had a great chemistry together much the same as they did in 'It Ain't Half Hot, Mum'. Joe Black was hilarious as Garstang and in my opinion he did not receive anywhere near as much credit as he deserved. Gordon Kaye also was very funny here as the newsreader.

    One priceless scene had the crew trying to activate a robotic hen in order to get some eggs for breakfast. The eggs are duly laid, however, a malfunction causes the eggs to retract back into the hen, causing it to explode. Hardly 'Red Dwarf' I know, but miles funnier than the more recent mess that was 'Hyperdrive'.

    After only six episodes, 'Come Back Mrs. Noah' vanished into the milky way. Sugden's next vehicle was the more successful 'That's My Boy', made by Yorkshire Television. If you by some miracle manage to come across 'Come Back Mrs. Noah', give it a try. Just imagine 'Are You Being Served?' set in a space ship rather than a department store and you should be alright.
  • branefade8 September 2008
    I really can't say whether this was the worst BBC comedy of all time or not. I only vaguely remember the plot details and I can't bear to watch a re-run.

    What I do clearly remember is the zeal with which the BBC promoted it in the run up to its premiere. This was going to be good (despite the clumsy title) - just look at its pedigree, cast etc.

    Well it wasn't. I vaguely recall the typical wobbly low-budget sets; I certainly remember Molly Sugden declining to use fart-power under zero gravity (almost funny, if it wasn't embarrassing).

    Despite being a dedicated fan of AYBS?, Dad's Army and IAHHM, i just couldn't take it. I cringed with embarrassment for Molly Sugden and Ina Lavender, trapped in that script! In the end I switched off before the end of the episode; something I never do to a comedy, it just made me feel uncomfortable.
  • screenman24 April 2008
    Warning: Spoilers
    Mollie Sugden was one of the funniest women in British entertainment. Not so much a comedienne as that even rarer phenomenon - a female clown.

    She had that indefinable quality that some refer to as 'funny-bones'. Tommy Cooper was another who had 'em in extreme. He could cause laughter by doing simply nothing at all.

    But Molly didn't write her own material. She needed a good script from people who understood her qualities and could bring them to the fore. And although the writers of 'Mrs Noah' also wrote 'Are You Being Served', that other program contained a host of extremely comical and well-observed stereotypes of which Molly Sugden was just one.

    The other characters in 'Mrs Noah' were nowhere near as well-defined as those at Grace Brothers', and as a result Molly Sugden was pretty well left to carry the show alone. If the script had been a really funny one - like that of 'Red Dwarf' - the format might have worked, but the humour was such a sub-Carry-On, lack-lustre effort that it only got off the launching pad courtesy of Molly's unusual willingness to clown it. Her preposterous body language and facial expressions were easily funnier than the gags. But they simply were not enough to save the idea beyond perhaps a single episode.
  • kennedyk8221 July 2009
    'Come back Mrs Noah' is completely forgotten. I remembered this with the recent death of the comedy actress Molly Sugden. For years the only bit I could remember was the credit sequence with the cast dancing on a planets ring in gaudy colored space suits. Not all David Lloyd's comedies were a success but this was the worst. Memorable for being the worst too. An oddity to be remembered for that. Apart from the poor scripts the worst part of this series is the wasted talent. Gordon Kaye, Sugden and Michael Knowles and Donald Hewlett, and Ian Lavender from classic British comedies are in this and none seem to talk about this series. Ironically the cast play a crew trapped in some remote place unable to escape from there. That's how they probably feel about this. this series is in that category of worth seeing to see a car crash of great talent being wasted. See it once too believe that it was ever made. I give it 6 only for the acting talent in this.