Sitcom Man About the House told comedic tales of flat sharing in the 1970’s when it was considered very permissive for a guy (O’Sullivan) to share with two girls (the gorgeous Paula Wilcox and Sally Thomsett), downstairs was crotchety landlord George Roper and his sex starved wife Mildred and living in the attic flat at the top of the house was larrikin Larry (who didn’t become a regular until the second season but was always good value with his talk of birds, booze and football.
The heart of the show was been Robin doing his best to persuade either of the girls to sleep with him, this being prime time ITV he always failed of course, his favourite was clearly Chrissy and its a situation that as the series entered it’s final season there was some real depth and a genuine sense of melancholy as Chrissy actually falls in love with Robin’s brother Norman (Norman Eshley, who had been in the series before as a different character romancing Chrissy) and in the final episode marries him, a great way to wrap up the series, showing the characters growing up, at last, and moving on. And also paving the way for spin-offs Robin’s Nest and George and Mildred.
The series never ventured far outside the confines of the studio but always attracted quality guest stars including the likes of Peter Jones in A Little Knowledge which sees Robin working as an encyclopedia salesmen to try and earn some cash.
Other guest stars included the gorgeous Jenny Hanley and Ian Lavender in While The Cat’s Away, Dennis Waterman as a German doctor in Did You Ever Meet Rommel?, Brush Strokes’ Karl Howman in the babysitting episode Two Foot Two, Eyes of Blue (Jo Kendall who had just been killed off in Emmerdale Farm also appears in this episode) and the already mentioned Norman Eshley (who of course would also go on to play Geoffrey Fourmile in George and Mildred) who in season two was a married man hoping to have an affair with Chrissy. The great Leslie Sands pops up too as Robin’s father.
The show was always very funny, especially when George and Mildred were involved, a withering look from Mildred could set anyman a trembling in terror and with a cast that appeared to get on really well and a series of fun plotlines Man About the House is one of the better ITV sitcoms of the 1970’s.
The series gained a pretty good big screen outing in 1974 (made by horror specialists Hammer films of all companies) and also two spin-offs in the shape of George and Mildred and Robin’s Nest. The series was also the inspiration for popular US sitcom Three’s Company.
UK / ITV – Thames / 39×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 15 August 1973 – 7 April 1976 / 6 Seasons
Writers: Johnnie Mortimer, Brian Cooke / Producer and Director: Peter Frazer-Jones
RICHARD O’SULLIVAN as Robin Tripp
PAULA WILCOX as Chrissy Plummer
SALLY THOMSETT as Jo
DOUG FISHER as Larry Simms
BRIAN MURPHY as George Roper
YOOTHA JOYCE as Mildred Roper