UK / ITV – Yorkshire / 7×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 12 June – 29 July 1975
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson / Producer and Director: Vernon Lawrence
Back in 1974 the incomparable Ray Galton and Alan Simpson (that writing duo who had met in a TB clinic and gone on to create Hancock’s Half Hour and Steptoe and Son) teamed up with the rising Les Dawson for a one off comedy called Holiday With Strings about the package holiday from hell, spotting the potential of Dawson’s northern gurning style the trio teamed up for a complete series the following year, the result was Dawson’s Weekly.
The seven episodes are all stand alone comedies, each running about 25 minutes. Apparently the guys came up with the title as a play on the trading paper Dalton’s Weekly. Dawson is a real Hancock of a character, anti-authoritarian and mostly impatient but he suits it well. He’s a great comedian but he is also an actor of some death, Dawson was something of a renaiisance man actually, gifted pianist (even though he poked fun at his skills) and novelist too.
The series is pretty funny and see Les ranging from being a resting actor (Stage-Struck), a child minder (the clerical error) as well as finding himself on a sleeper train to Scotland (Strangers in the Night), looking to inherit on a will (where there’s a will) amd waiting to see if has won the pools (All Pools Day). All included in the set is the Holidays With Strings half hour. Roy Barraclough, a long time Dawson collaborator, appears in most of these along with the likes of 1970’s comedy stalwarts like Patricia Hayes, Josephine Tewson and Terence Alexander. There also guest roles for the brilliant John Bird and singer Kenny Lynch.
Incidentally a couple of the stories here were remade for the 1997 series Paul Merton in Galton and Simpsons…
THE EPISODES 12 June – 31 July 1975
1. LES MISERABLES
2. WHERE THERE’S A WILL
4. ACCIDENT PRONE
5. ALL POOLS DAY
6. THE CLERICAL ERROR
7. STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT