In 1980, 'George & Mildred' went down the same route as its predecessor, 'Man About The House', and became a feature film. The original cast were retained, Peter Frazer Jones ( who had worked on the series ) has stepped on board again as director whereas Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke relinquished their roles as scriptwriters and instead entrusted Dick Sharples ( creator of the Thora Hird sitcom 'In Loving Memory' ) with their duties. The film is generally despised by 'George & Mildred' fans, largely due to the fact that Yootha Joyce was ill during filming ( and it showed ) and sadly died not long after the film went on release. Well, I may be in a minority here but I liked it, better than the series itself in fact. At least the jokes used here were not ones already used in the series.
It begins like this - Mildred is keen to ascertain whether or not her husband George has remembered their wedding anniversary. Needless to say, he hasn't. By the time he comes to remember, he books a table at the restaurant where he first proposed to Mildred but to his horror, he discovers on arrival that it has been turned into a greasy spoon café run by Hell's Angels style bikers.
Later, at Mildred's insistence, George then books a weekend for two at a swanky hotel. No sooner have they arrived than George is approached by vicious gangster Harry Pinto ( who believes that George is a hit-man ) who instructs him to murder a rival crook.
I think by now you can see where this is going. Yes, it is contrived, and yes, it is impossible to watch the film without cringing occasionally, but somehow it still manages to be endearing. Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy were as marvellous as ever, particularly the former despite her ill health. The Fourmiles, played by Norman Eshley, Sheila Fearn and Nicholas Bond Owen aren't used terribly much here sadly, though Stratford 'Dixon Of Dock Green' Johns makes up for it. The film ends with George and Mildred returning home, having somehow managed to evade Pinto and his angry mob ( as well as Pinto's rivals ), talking affectionately of their weekend away before heading upstairs to bed. A caption - ''The End, or is it the beginning?'' appears on screen prior to the credits, hinting that another series was on the cards, however this plan collapsed when Joyce died from liver failure just four days after her 53rd birthday.
Les Reed supplied a lively theme tune for the film, a great improvement over Roger Webb's dreary theme used for the series. Kenneth Cope, Sue Bond, Dudley Sutton and Michael Angelis all appear in supporting roles.
Earth shattering? Hardly, but it is nowhere near as bad as many make it out to be. It makes for simple, unassuming entertainment, best enjoyed with a cup of cocoa.
Funniest moment - One of the bikers at the cafe makes a pass at Mildred, so George in anger asks him outside for a fight. As the man is twice the size of George, Mildred covers her eyes at the thought of George getting beaten up. However, moments later the man re-enters the cafe with his clothes in tatters, as though George has given him a good hiding. Mildred is not stupid however. She soon susses out that George has paid him to feign being beaten up.
Second funniest moment - George getting suspicious about Mildred's behaviour towards him so he wonders if she has been gossiping about him to Anne. He asks Jeffrey: ''Has your missus said anything about me?''. ''We don't discuss you, it encourages Tristram to pick up bad language!'' replies Jeffrey.