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You Rang, M’Lord?

The shadow cabinet, yesterday (SATIRE)YET ANOTHER load of You Have Been Watching lummoxery from David Croft, as usual set in some hilariously over-cliched recent period of British history, and as usual starring SU POLLARD, PAUL SHANE and JEFFREY HOLLAND. This time the laughs were to be found – allegedly – in a 1920s house where, and hold onto your sides now, the upper classes are battier than those below stairs! And everybody’s either trying to diddle or screw everyone else! Basically, Shane and Holland gain the employ of Lord Meldrum (DONALD HEWLETT) years after saving his life in the First World War, only to install Shane’s – gulp – daughter Su Pollard as parlourmaid. Cue “oo eck!” accidents with dusters, slippery scullery floor scrapes and falling out of cupboards in ill-fitting clothes. Also living in the house are, variously, a demented biddy, a lesbian who dresses as a man, a randy pensioner, numerous stupid toffs and toffesses, wailing cooks, dim-witted errand boys and BARBARA WINDSOR. Oh, and BILL PERTWEE used to call round for a bit of tongue from the head cook. And some food as well. Best thing by far was undoubtedly the theme tune, crooned by none other than SIR BOB MONKHOUSE in his best clipped-voice posh-man impersonation (“From Mayfair to Park Lane/you will hear the same refrain/in every house again, again…”) replete with PAUL SHANE interjections (spoken, thankfully: “You rang, m’lord?”). Various topical events of the 1920s turned up, including – implausibly – the General Strike. Ended when the Meldrums ran out of money and had to sack everyone. Now that’s our idea of going out on a high.



  1. bisted

    October 3, 2009 at 5:00 am

    I watched some episodes a couple of years ago on a digital channel (having ignored them the first time around) and concluded that they weren’t too bad, although obviously not anywhere near comedy classics.
    Unfortunatley, for me, the writers were too fixated on a ‘Hi De Hi’ format, especially in relation to Su Pollard’s character. Paul Shane’s “You rang M’Lord?” quote in the theme tune also makes me cringe.If you get a chance, listen to the theme tune again, because as far as I can make out, Paul Shane actually sounds like he’s saying, “You rang, M’Law?”

    Not a classic, but a million miles better than ‘Grace & Favour’… jeesh, what a turkey THAT was…

  2. David Pascoe

    October 3, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    “What’s a four-nick-a-tour?”

  3. B B Beyer

    October 9, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    1988-1993: Not “creamy”, surely?

  4. Glenn A

    October 10, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Near the end of the Cream era, but qualifies as it started in 1988. Not a bad sitcom and interesting to see Hi de Hi regulars in a new setting.

  5. Paul Gatenby

    October 10, 2009 at 11:34 am

    One character kept saying ‘Lest said, soonest mended’. In every episode.

  6. kevin Dav

    October 9, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    I Think this is the most underated sitcom
    on British telly.
    It’s actually very good .The many characters are varied and interesting .The stories and situations that develope between the various characters are very entertaining and can get quite serious at times .Its not
    a laugh a second comedy but can be very very funny at times ,and after one or 2 poor episodes in the 1 st series it hits it stride fully by the 3rd series . An Excellent and much underated sitcom.

  7. Richard Davies

    October 10, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    I mostly liked it, though by some of the later episodes the jokes were beginning to wear a little thin.

  8. Tom Ronson

    October 25, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    Catherine Rabbett turned in a fine performance as the surprisingly sympathetically written and depicted butch lesbian character.

    • Richardpd

      October 25, 2022 at 10:39 pm

      Yes quite a progressive character for the time.

      One of the funnier moments is when Poppy grows a spine for an episode & ends up dressing down all the servants one by one for ways they have annoyed her up to that point.

      The mood in some episodes flicks between surreally funny, normally Lady Lavender throwing her breakfast at Ivy then eating a dried flower, then getting more serious moments later. Being the best bits of Hi-De-Hi & Upstairs, Downstairs this isn’t surprising.

      It took me a few years to get all the referenced in the theme tune, not being clued up on late 1920s events as a pre-teen.

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