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TV: M is for...

Mr and Mrs

"My touring Mr and Mrs show is still hugely popular in theatres across the country" - D BateyPenny prepares to tease Derek with the old "which one's the star?" gagNUPTIAL-ENDORSING NONSENSE which, were it still running today, the Tories would’ve co-opted as party policy within seconds (SATIRE). DEREK BATEY was your rheumy host, trying to ensure his betrothed contestants remained “nice to each other” – as the theme tune trilled – via a stream of thunderously thick-eared questions such as “when does your wife prefer to clean the valance” or “what is your husband’s favourite root vegetable”. While the one fielded these terrifying teasers, t’other went into “the booth” and “donned the headphones”. Prizes limited to wad of money, forever fanned out tantalisingly by Derek. After long-overdue axe, the show went out on the road supposedly reeling in “thousands” to enjoy the show’s charm offensive, i.e. the contestants were charming, the host was offensive.



  1. Glenn Aylett

    June 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    The most famous Border Television programme of all time( except for our local news bulletin Lookaround) and the only networked show we ever did for ITV. However, at its peak 12 million people tuned in so it was a huge success for the Carlisle broadcaster and probably helped stave off bankruptcy in the late seventies. Derek Batey was also Director of Programmes for Border.

  2. Arthur Nibble

    June 22, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Erm, not quite the only networked Border show – they also gave us the comic and actor- cosseting chat show “Look Who’s Talking” hosted by…erm, Derek Batey, plus a pop show called “Bliss” hosted by Muriel Gray, the infamous “Joke Machine” (was that its name?), and a weirdly enjoyable comedy (“Me and the Alien”?) with the unlikely but effective comic pairing of Jools Holland and Rowland Rivron.

    By the way, “Mr. and Mrs.” was originally “Sion a Sian” (“John and Jane”) on the 1960’s Anglo-Welsh ITV station TWW, and it was then produced for lunchtime digestion by HTV, introduced by probably the only monocled presenter on British telly ever, Alan Taylor. It seems Border then did a crafty bit of work and got the series on a ‘Bosman’.

  3. Arthur Nibble

    June 22, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Erm, regarding that bit about Alan Taylor being probably the only monocled presenter on telly – after posting the above comment I logged off my PC, turned on the telly and immediately saw that I’d forgotten about the daddy of the monocle….Patrick Moore on “The Sky At Night”. I bow my head in shame!

  4. cynic

    February 13, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Derek Batey toured this show for years with huge success – in the manner of many artistes appearing live, rather than made stale by television exposure, you can work with a format like this every week in theatres. He controls the worldwide rights.

  5. Steven Oliver

    February 20, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    When Mr & Mrs was first networked in 1973, the initial network series was recorded at Tyne Tees due to a decree from ITV that it was air in colour and Border at the time only having black-and-white equipment. The income made from that series allowed Border to invest in what the Mr & Mrs website called ‘slightly used’ colour equipment so that the show could return home to Carlisle; the joint Border/Tyne Tees editions, as far as I know, still exist in the archives.

  6. graysonscolumn

    August 25, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Weren’t Crush A Grape and Krankies Television another pair of networked show for Border, however briefly?

    Since the cessation of the original series I can recall Batey making at least once fleeting reappearance on TV in conjunction with Mr and Mrs, when sanctioning the gunging of a couple on Noel’s House Party who’d confessed to cheating on the show years previously by agreeing the answers between themselves beforehand (always giving the middle answer, or something like that). Laugh? I nearly did…

  7. Joanne Gray

    February 20, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    I’d like to point out that Border and HTV took turns in producing each Mr and Mrs series, as I distinctly remember well into the 80s that Alan Taylor did a version for HTV and I read later that they shared responsibility for the show with Border. The HTV version had a different theme tune – something involving brass instruments, as I recall as opposed to the light and airy song preferred by Border.

  8. Arthur Nibble

    May 24, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    The HTV “Mr. And Mrs.” theme tune was a James Last style version of “Getting To Know You”.

  9. Tom Ronson

    October 24, 2022 at 4:17 am

    Memorably parodied by Derek and Clive in the sketch ‘Mona.’
    ‘I’d have to say he’d drop the vipers…’
    For some reason the thought of Peter Cook sitting watching this chintzy ITV bauble with a large vodka and a fag on the go is hilarious.

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