Tuesday 16 January 2018

Whatever Happened to Mr Big?

Now here's a television comedy series I've never heard of before. Until now. I came across a brief mention of Mr. Big online last night and although it doesn't seem to have gone on to much success, it's pedigree suggests it can't really have been that bad surely?

Created by and starring that wonderful comedy actor Peter Jones, Mr. Big also stars Fawlty Towers legend Prunella Scales as Peter's wife, Carol Hawkins as their daughter Norma and Ian Lavender as her boyfriend Ginger. Now as you'll probably know, three of these leading actors have Carry On history. Peter Jones played the vicar who married Frankie Howerd and Joan Sims in Carry On Doctor, before returning nine years later to play the dreadfully unfunny brigadier in the equally unfunny Carry On England. Carol Hawkins meanwhile had roles in both Carry On Abroad and Carry On Behind as well as a couple of appearances in Carry On Laughing on television, while Ian Lavender joined Carol in Behind, playing Joe Baxter.

Mr. Big tells the story of Eddie (Jones) who would like to see himself as a mastermind of the criminal fraternity but then he sees his family and his bubble is burst. His wife Dolly (Scales) believes in people helping themselves, as she does - but only from the very best shops. Their daughter, Norma (Hawkins), lives for her feckless boyfriend, Ginger (Lavender), who has one ambition in life - to be a scrounging layabout. With this picture of domestic trivia, Eddie plans his bank jobs and post office raids with all destined to be bungled and only good fortune keeping them from prison. 

Little else is known about the series although it did span two series, both broadcast in 1977 on BBC1. The idea for the show came out of a single half hour which formed part of the Comedy Playhouse season for the BBC in 1974. As well as coming up with the idea for the series, Peter Jones wrote many episodes alongside Christopher Bond. And the producer of the series was none other than BBC comedy legend Dennis Main Wilson. 

The series also featured guest roles for other Carry On actors, such as Norman Rossington, Penny Irving, Victor Maddern, Elizabeth Knight and Geoffrey Hughes. 

Mr. Big doesn't seem to ever have been repeated and I don't know of a video or DVD release so it's hard to judge the quality of the production. Does anyone remember the series and if so, was it any good?

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1 comment:

  1. I recall it , I quite enjoyed it as a kid but it didn't make much impact . I still remember getting episode where they squat in a commune..not sure why that one sticks in my head .