Thursday 15 October 2015

June Whitfield at 90: June Medford in Terry and June

As you may be aware, I've launched a poll on Carry On Blogging to find out what we all think is June Whitfield's most memorable role. In a career spanning eight decades, that's no mean feat! This is all happening as we prepare to celebrate June's 90th birthday on 11 November.

As we approach the big day, I will be blogging my thoughts on each of the roles featured in my poll. Today, I'm going to write about one of her most famous and enduring roles: June Medford in the sitcom Terry and June. 

Terry Scott and June Whitfield formed a fruitful partnership on screen. While Terry and June is the best remembered of their efforts, their association dates back to 1968. Terry, a big star on television, began a series called Scott On... which tackled different subjects each week, featuring a regular cast of comedy actors. June was recruited to join the likes of Peter Butterworth and the rest is history! By 1974 they had been asked by the BBC to star in their own regular situation comedy. 

Happy Ever After focused on Terry and June Fletcher, a middle class, middle aged couple who were dealing with life after the children had flown the nest. They were joined by Aunt Lucy (played by Beryl Cooke). This series lasted until 1978 with Terry and June following on the following year, with this series carrying on where Happy Ever After had left off. For some reason, the characters were now called Medford and they had been moved to Purley.

Terry and June has long had a reputation for cosy, twee, out of date middle class comedy. While to a certain extent this is a fair assessment of the series, it still featured some lovely performances. I've never been a great fan of Terry Scott but he was well suited to television comedy and plays his part as the bumbling, accident prone business executive very well indeed. June is the star for me though. June Medford is like a mother to her husband, always knowing better, being the sensible one and helping Terry out of endless scrapes. 

Sadly Terry and June clashed with the alternative comedy scene that was thriving in the mid to late 1980s and apparently, there wasn't room at the BBC for both. Terry and June ended in 1987 after a run of eight years. While it was probably running out of steam, it was still immensely popular with viewers. As June has often said, middle class, middle aged, middle England may not always be fashionable, they do form the majority of those who watch television these days and they must always be catered for. Although never my favourite television sitcom, I do have a soft spot for it and I believe Terry and June had great chemistry.

Besides all of this, it does have an instantly recognisable and very catchy theme tune!

So if this more dramatic role is the best work you think June has done, vote for it here

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