There have been at least two British sitcoms called 'Keep It In The Family' ( and why not, its a good title! ). The first was in 1971, starred the late Tim Barrett and was written by David Nobbs and Peter Vincent for Yorkshire Television. The second came in 1980, starred Robert Gillespie and was created by Brian Cooke ( I was once taken to task over Cooke. After I'd praised 'Man About The House' on another forum, a fellow member angrily denounced him as a 'hack' and blamed him for the demise of 'Round The Horne' in 1969. He shut up when I pointed out that it had ended because Kenneth Horne had died ) for Thames. Gillespie ( whose numerous credits include 'Freewheelers' and 'Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads', and who co-wrote a controversial sketch for 'That Was The Week That Was' called 'Consumer Guide To Religions' ) played 'Dudley Rush', a newspaper cartoonist living in North London with wife Muriel ( Pauline Yates ) and their lovely daughters Susan ( Stacy Dorning ) and Jacqui ( Jenny Quayle in the first two seasons, Sabina Franklyn in the remaining three ). Rush's most famous creation is 'Barney - Adventures Of A Bionic Bulldog'. Rather like Patrick Cargill's character in 'Father Dear Father' ( co-created by Cooke, incidentally ), he is over-protective of his girls, and treats their boyfriends with suspicion. Dudley's boss was Duncan Thomas ( Glyn Houston ), a fiery Welshman who, like 'Blakey' in 'On The Buses', often found himself the butt of Dudley's jokes.
It was middle of the road, of course, but the character of 'Dudley' made it special. He was, to put it bluntly, nutty as a fruitcake, the sort of man who could perfectly time a barbecue to coincide with a shower of rain. The episode that sticks out in my mind the most was when Susan and Jacqui wanted to be punk rock singers. It contained a dream sequence in which they - in full punk regalia - went on a 'Top Of The Pops'-type show, hosted by David 'Kid' Jensen. A friend of theirs had written a song which they thought was called 'Anarchy' but which turned out in fact to be 'Anna Key' ( a girls' name ). Robbie Coltrane, still unknown in those days, appeared in one episode.
Cooke eventually relinquished the writing duties to the likes of Dave and Greg Freeman, Peter Learmouth ( future creator of 'Surgical Spirit' ), Alex Shearer ( author of the underrated 'Chalk & Cheese' ), and David Barry, who had been 'Frankie Abbott' in 'Please Sir!' and 'The Fenn Street Gang'.
Pauline Yates had previously been 'Elisabeth' in 'The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin'. She was missing from the final season, her character was said to be in Australia visiting her mother. Stacy Dorning was in 'The Adventures Of Black Beauty', and her father was comedy actor Robert. Sabina Franklyn was the daughter of that old smoothie William Franklyn, the "sch...you know who" man.
The format was later sold to America, where it became 'Too Close For Comfort' ( later changed to 'The Ted Knight Show' ), and outlasted the original by 120 episodes. Apart from some U.K. Gold repeats in the '90's, the original remains strangely forgotten. It would be nice to see it ( and the Nobbs/Vincent version ) on D.V.D. Over to you, Network!