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TV: K is for...

Keep it in the Family

STALWART OF that post-Corrie “bathos but pathos” comedy slot, here were the Rush family whiling away the recession in posh Highgate with head of the household Dudley (ROBERT GILLESPIE) trying to earn money from drawing comic strips starring Barney the Bionic Bulldog while Muriel (PAULINE YATES) did the dishes and daughters Susan and Jacqui slept around. Or so it was implied, for this was Thamesland, and 8pm at that, so only a lewd, louche remark was allowed. Usually, for comic effect, in the presence of Dudley’s boss, the ever-dapper, GLYN HOUSTON.



  1. Lee James Turnock

    May 26, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I need to know…was this the series where one of the daughters said she was joining a band called ‘Anarchy’, that actually turned out to be ‘Anna Key’, complete with ‘punk rockers’ who looked about as convincing as Cliff Richard’s neck?

  2. IanW1968

    November 29, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Anna Key was the name of one of their songs, not the band’s name.

  3. Droogie

    January 12, 2021 at 11:01 am

    The punk episode had the 2 daughters form a group with their office boss Hugo played by actor David Neville, who specialised in playing posh twits. ( he’s the guy who calls Basil Fawlty a silly little man in the Basil The Rat episode). The Anarchy/ Anna Key bit was quite funny.

    Keep It In The Family actually inspired me as a kid to become a comic strip artist . For years I had no idea that this was a genuine job to have. The first comics I read were British ones like Whizzer & Chips and The Beano who never credited the artists. It was only a few years later when I started reading Mad Magazine and Marvel comics who name-checked the strip creators that I realised this was a proper career. Seeing Robert Gillespie sat at his drawing desk surrounded by his brushes and ink seemed a dream job to me ( and he got to work at home too.)

  4. THX 1139

    January 12, 2021 at 7:32 pm

    Shocked – shocked! – that nobody’s mentioned Mr Gillespie used to draw his comic strips wearing a lion glove puppet. It’s the most memorable bit of the show!

    He was in that Woody Harrelson “filmed in one take” London comedy recently (Robert, not the puppet), though you didn’t really see his face (he was a taxi driver, I think).

  5. Droogie

    January 13, 2021 at 12:10 am

    Haha. Robert’s character was supposedly so lonely as a cartoonist that he used the hand puppet as company for something to talk to whilst he inked his strips. ( All this despite his drawing desk being in the middle of his living room and him always being constantly interrupted from his cartooning by his wife/ daughters / manager always walking in.)

  6. Glenn Aylett

    January 16, 2021 at 10:23 am

    It was the first ITV Monday night sitcom of the eighties and one of the better ones in a slot where ITV tried for years to try new sitcoms that often failed badly. One from that era and in the 8.00 slot that did quite well was In Loving Memory, a dark comedy about a pre war undertaker, with Thora Hird and Chris Beeny that had some amusing moments. I do remember another about a football manager and his star player that could have worked with a better script, think it was called Feet First.

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