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Your Wednesday Night In...

Your Wednesday Night In… June 1984

Wednesday, 20th June 1984


And there’s your elevator pitch right there! Sold! The trowel-voiced funny fella pops on the Reactolite Rapides, straightens his dicky bow, and helms an hour of post-Corrie comedy and song with Harry Fowler, Ray Alan, Sandra Dickinson, Gary Wilmot, Fogwell Flax, Helen Shapiro and – it says here – “macho man” Duncan Norvelle. “I’ve never had a single threat or word of abuse from anyone,” reported the then 27-year-old “chase me!” stand-up, who’d been discovered the previous year on Lionel Blair’s Saturday Royal. “I’ve always deliberately played up the camp bit – but it’s all an innocent bit of fun.”


Ah! And then here’s the man with the Reactolite tan! “Another chance to see” the staged – and all the better for it – chat show in which Lord Bob meets, and acts as a feed for, various funny folks from the UK, America and Canada. Tonight’s assemblage: Janet Brown, Bob Hope (of Sammy Davis Jr: “He hits a nice ball, about 90 yards… and his jewelry goes about 110.”) and Rich Little. With music, of course, from The Harry Stoneham Band. First aired the previous October on BBC2.

Keith Barron and Susan Hampshire star in the Carla Lane sitcom about a married couple who want to part amicably. Ran for two series. Theme music (RESL 147) available from retailers





  1. Applemask

    June 20, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Right before my first birthday, as if you care.

  2. Glenn Aylett

    June 21, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Mike Reid’s Mates and Music, I can remember it being slaughtered by the critics and Nina Myskow calling Reid a cockney oik. It was probably the beginning of the end for ITV variety shows as viewers wanted more sophisticated programmes and this was end of the pier stuff and wasn’t very good.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    October 9, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Carla Lane’s career can be divided into three big hits- The Liver Birds, Butterflies and Bread, as well as helping on some of the scripts for Bless This House- and the rest. OK Solo was a moderate success, but Leaving is probably one of her misses as it’s barely remembered now, along with her nineties clunkers like Screaming. Indeed looking back on Ms Lane’s career, only Butterflies and the pre vegetarian era Liver Birds are worth a look now as Bread went stale after its third series.

  4. Droogie

    October 10, 2021 at 5:51 am

    Can’t remember who originally said it, but the problem with Carla Lane sitcoms were they were all sit and no com.

  5. Glenn Aylett

    October 10, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    @ Droogie, apart from loveable rogue Liverpudlians in Bread, all her other sitcoms seemed to explore the same themes, vegetarianism, animal rights, middle aged women with relationship problems. Even Bread turned into a Carla Lane propaganda piece in its last series and less said about The Liver Birds revival in 1996 that effectively ended her career.
    Don’t me wrong, on top form, Ms Lane wrote some great comedy, the first four series of The Liver Birds were generally hilarious and Butterflies was consistently good, just she seemed to lose her way in the nineties and kept rehashing the same themes. However, to be fair to her, she was a principled person, well loved by friends, and an animal rescue in her name is still going strong in Liverpool.

  6. Droogie

    October 10, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    @Glenn Aylett I recall another 80’s Carla Lane clunker called The Mistress. Smith & Jones took the piss out of it’s lack of humour at the time on their sketch show with a TV announcer saying how the show features Felicity Kendal, Jane Asher and a joke somewhere in episode 3. The last time I saw Carla Lane was ages ago as a talking head on a BBC doc about sitcoms. She seemed rather a bitter figure from not having a series commissioned in ages and ranted about a certain current successful sitcom of the time and how crass and vulgar it was. ( I think she may have been referencing Two Pints Of Lager, in which case I’m total agreement at it’s awfulness. )

  7. Glenn Aylett

    October 10, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    @ Droogie I’d forgotten about The Mistress, which, as you’ve guessed, is about some middle aged woman having an affair. However, Screaming had to take the biscuit for the worst Carla Lane sitcom, three middle aged, middle class women having an affair with the same man. No wonder the BBC lost patience and The Liver Birds revival that was about as funny as flu saw C Lane get her P 45.

  8. Richardpd

    October 10, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    Luv was another late period Carla Lane offering that was short on jokes & too many one dimensional characters, even if it had some potentially interesting elements like a non-camp gay character, which was still a novelty in the 1990s.

    The earlier series of Bread were OK before there were too many Neighbours style bad recastings & Carla started to run short of ideas. The Christmas special where they went to Rome is probably the last very good episode before the slippery slope.

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