Features

Classic TV Revisited: Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em

Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em was a hugely popular sitcom that ran on BBC-1 from 1973-1978, it starred Michael Crawford, Michele Dotrice

Who wrote it?
The words came courtesy of Raymond Allen, a cinema cleaner on the Isle of Wight, although Crawford himself devised many of the stunts.

Who were the star turns?
The then relatively unknown Michael Crawford played Frank with Michelle Dotrice as Betty.

Was Crawford the first choice to play Frank?
No. The story goes that he was third choice after Ronnie Barker and Norman Wisdom. For all his undoubted attributes, we’d like to have seen Ronnie Barker performing the famous roller-skating sequence…

Who was Frank Spencer based on?
Raymond Allen based the character on himself. With the Isle of Wight not exactly being the fashion centre of the universe, Allen rarely bought clothes but when the BBC asked him to go to London for rehearsals, he bought a long mac which he thought was really trendy. He told Crawford that he thought Frank should look quaint but, to his horror, Crawford turned up for the first recording in an identical mac to Allen’s. It became Frank’s trademark. Allen lamented: ‘I couldn’t wear my mac in London again – but it went on for years on the Isle of Wight.’

Was Allen accident-prone like Frank?
And a bit. For the Spencers’ new baby, Allen did some research at a pre-natal class. A midwife handed him the demonstration doll but as he touched it, the arm fell off.

Did Crawford do all his own stunts?
Read on. They included being whisked 50ft into the air by helicopter, balancing on the edge of a cliff in a car, hanging by his fingertips outside an office window 150 ft. up, jumping a 30 ft wall on a motorbike and having an old factory chimney crash to the ground, missing him by inches. One day’s filming had Crawford roller-skating between cars, under a lorry and behind a bus. The events were watched throughout by an old man who afterwards went over to the exhausted star and said: ‘You’re Michael Crawford. There’s something I always wanted to ask you – do you do all your own stunts?’

What was a typical scene?
Frank swinging from the chandelier and screaming about ‘whoopsies on the carpet’.

Who watched ‘Some Mothers’?
Every impressionist in the land. Frank Spencer launched many a career – including that of Lenny Henry on ‘New Faces’.

What were the show’s catchphrases?
‘Oooh, Betty’, I ‘ad a bit o’ trouble’, ‘Mmmmm’…





Other posts featuring the following