Australian TV TV

Mother And Son (ABC 1984-1994 with Ruth Cracknell and Garry McDonald)

Australia / ABC / 42×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 1984-1994

Writer: Geoffrey Atherden / Producer and Director: Geoff Portman

Sitcom. Much like the writers of classic UK sitcoms like Porridge and Steptoe and Son writer Geoffrey Atherden utilises the idea of having his two lead characters basically stuck together, middle aged divorcee Arthur (Garry McDonald) is trapped looking after his ageing mother Maggie (Ruth Cracknell) who is becoming increasingly senile by the day, Cracknell’s character is trapped of course because she can’t cope on her own; However neither really wants to escape, witness the episode where Arthur has the chance to send his mother to a home for the elderly but refuses to do so.

Now if all this sounds slightly low key rest assured Mother and Son is a tour de force of supremely funny dialogue and top flight acting, both McDonald and Cracknell playing off of each other is a pure delight to watch, also an intrinsic part of the show is Henri Szeps as Arthur’s more successful brother Robert, an upmarket dentist whom his mother heavily favours over Arthur much to the chagrin of Arthur. There’s a huge amount of laughs to be had in the watching of this series, Atherden though cleverly combines his humour with pathos so that the real feeling in the situation is self evident.

A UK version of this show appeared in 1997 on the BBC under the title Keeping Mum.

RUTH CRACKNELL as Maggie Beare
GARRY McDONALD as Arthur Beare
HENRI SZEPS as Robert Beare
JUDY MORRIS as Liz Beare