17 February 2021 | Prismark10
Downs and Ups
Keep it in the Family was a popular sitcom of the early 1980s but has since been largely forgotten.
The first episode sees Dudley Rush (Robert Gillespie) attend the funeral of his elderly tenant of the downstairs flat. The dead man's grasping relatives are taking whatever they can lay their hands on when they rush to the flat.
One man even tries to take the carpet from the stairs that belongs to Dudley. Greedy relatives after a funeral was a comic staple back in them days. Steptoe and Son had something similar.
Dudley is a cartoonist with a wife Muriel and two daughters Jacqui who is 17 and Susan aged 21.
The daughters want to be independent so conspire to have the downstairs flat for themselves and Muriel supports them.
So when two people show up to see the flat, Dudley knows they are unsuitable. Miss Whiplash who is a masseuse and a an artist who wants to paint nude models.
Dudley does not know that his daughters arranged these people to visit.
Dudley seems downtrodden in this episode, more passive. I noted he was drawing his cartoon without his puppet Lion.
I recall him being zany when drawing cartoons but more conservative when it came to his daughters. They always had male admirers.
Here Jacqui and Susan have had a rowdy party with one male guest staying overnight. It was rather predictable he could not understand English when Dudley gave him a telling off.
Of course I could never fathom why Susan had not flown the nest yet. House prices in London were not that crazy in 1980.
The first episode set up the premise but it seemed rather uncertain. Amiable but not that funny.
I forgot that another actress played Susan. Sabina Franklyn remains etched in my mind who later took over the role. Then again if you were a teenager in those days that is understable.