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Citizen James (BBC Sitcom, Sid James, Sydney Tafler)

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Citizen James BBC Sitcom Sydney Tafler Sid James

Sitcom Citizen James detailed misadventures of cockney layabout Sidney Balmoral James (Sid James). The series, which was popular enough to run to three seasons and a special, only really came about because Tony Hancock had decided that he was bigger than his show and dispensed with the services of his cast – especially Sid James whom Hancock thought was becoming too popular.

The BBC disagreed and quickly commissioned Hancock’s writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson to write a series for him. Later episodes were written by Dick Hills and Sid Green (who also spent much of the decade writing for Morecambe and Wise) and the dynamic of the series changed too with Sid gaining more of a conscious.

Besides Sid other regulars were Sid’s girlfriend Liz (Liz Fraser), his right hand man Bill (Bill Fraser) and bookie Charlie Davenport (Sydney Tafler). Fraser and Kerr had also been regulars on Hancock’s Half Hour.

Cast: Sidney James as Sidney Balmoral James; Bill Kerr as Bill (Season 1); Liz Fraser as Liz (Season 1); Sydney Tafler as Charlie Davenport

Writers: Ray Galton & Alan Simpson, Sid Green & Dick Hills / Producers: Duncan Wood, John Street, Ronald Marsh

UK / BBC One / 32×30 minute episodes / 24 November 1960 – 23 November 1962 (There was a short special broadcast as Christmas Night With the Stars on 25 December 1960