Wednesday 26 October 2016

Please Broadcast Bless This House ITV3!


I don't often get on my soap box but I really do think ITV3 are missing a trick here. I have come to love this ITV station for showing some classic British comedy. Of course ITV3 also gave us the wonderful Carry On Forever series last year which brought back together some familiar Carry On stars and breathed fresh life into many classic tales.

ITV3 frequently repeats many wonderful old shows but there is one in particular that hasn't seen the light of day in quite some time. I remember about twenty years ago the now defunct Granada Plus used to show the great Bless This House every morning before I went to school. It was my first introduction to this giant of the domestic sitcom and showed Sid James in a completely new light. Sadly, although the series has been made available on DVD, I don't believe it has been repeated since (I may be wrong on this, so if I am, I stand corrected!)


I know there are often complex reasons for not repeating old shows. For a start, television companies are constantly pilloried for the volume of repeats they broadcast instead of new material. There is also the issue of us all having moved a great deal since these shows were first aired. Society has, in some cases, thankfully moved on since the 1970s and certain content may not be totally palatable now. There are many shows that simply couldn't be repeated now and that's mainly due to changing times. Viewing some of these programmes with a modern eye may be unavoidable but sometimes not helpful. However the likes of George and Mildred, Dad's Army and Man About The House are shown again and again but no sign of the domestic life of one Sidney Abbott. 

So why do I think Bless This House deserves another viewing? Well, first of all there is undoubtedly a huge market for nostalgia. There's a reason why the BBC constantly repeat Dad's Army on a Saturday evening on BBC2. It's because people from all generations love it and watch. Also, I do believe Bless This House is probably the finest, purest example of a domestic sitcom we have ever produced. Thirdly, just look at the cast. You can never see enough of Sid, Diana Coupland, Patsy Rowlands et al as far as I'm concerned. 


I think the star quality of Sid James gives Bless This House currency, even in 2016. He is still such a recognisable figure - nearly everyone around today would still know Sid James. I think his role as Sidney Abbott is also one of his best performances. Sid is completely relaxed in the part, works well with his supporting cast and while there are occasional glimpses of his Carry On or Hancock persona, I think this role is the closest we ever got to the real Sid, the family man, in performance. It's a joy.

Thames Television produced 65 episodes of this classic series, over six series between 1971 and 1976. Sadly the original run was only brought to an end in '76 because of Sid's untimely demise on stage in Sunderland. And don't forget it also spawned a rather wonderful, very seventies sitcom spinoff film version, produced by the Carry On powerhouse of Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas and bringing together sitcom royalty including June Whitfield, Terry Scott, Peter Butterworth and Carol Hawkins.

So come on ITV3, don't let us down! It's time to go into the archives, dust off those old spools of film and treat both old and new generations of viewers to some prime comedy and classic Sidney James.


You can read more on my love of Bless This House here

And you can read more about the film version here 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook


  1. I believe Bless this House has been repeated at one time or another during the 00s as I distinctively remember watching it as a child and seeing the film on a number of occasions - that's how I grew to love the show so much and was also around the time I was introduced to Carry On films.

    1. Hi Michael! Yes it probably has been but there's always room for another airing ;) They show the film more than the actual series I think