17 April 2018 | Prismark10
Jimmy Perry & David Croft turned to a different type of comedy after Hi de Hi finished.
The duo previously made a comedy on a theme they had experience in. Perry had worked in a holiday camp, was in the Home Guards during the war. Both of them also tended to use unknowns for their new comedy shows.
The pilot for You Rang, M'Lord? shook the formula up a bit. It is a parody of the ITV show, Upstairs Downstairs. It is 50 minutes long and a lot of the main cast s from the previous shows either of the men had been involved in ranging from Dad's Army. It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Hi de Hi, Allo Allo.
During the Great War two soldiers Alf Stokes and James Twelvetrees save the life of officer Teddy Meldrum, although Alf thought he was dead and took his watch and tried to take his jewellery.
Teddy was grateful and James is working as the footman in the house of Lord George Meldrum, Teddy's older brother by 1927. Alf is a former butler who with his daughter Ivy have been working in the music hall but now at a loose end having lost their jobs. Alf gets a job as a butler with the household, this annoys James as he knows what a conniver, thief and rogue Alf is.
Since the war Teddy has an affliction which leads him to get into trouble with the female staff in the lower decks. Alf gets his plain looking daughter Ivy a job but keeps their relationship a secret.
Lord George's household is rather eccentric, his daughter Cissy who is a lesbian and dresses like a man, Teddy chases servant girls including Ivy, there is adultery and other goings on. Alf who is a revolutionary is visibly upset by the household's callous attitude to the working class as they talk about the aftermath of the General Strike.
This pilot episode led to a series. The theme song was sung by Bob Monkhouse and the set up was firmly established in the opening episode. Ivy is hapless as the maid with both Teddy and Cissie taking a shine to her. Alf will have some scheme to make money with prim James acting like some sort of a moral conscience. The longer running length made this a more contemplative sitcom.