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Comedy Playhouse: Don’t Ring Us…We’ll Ring You (BBC, John Junkin)

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One off entry in the Comedy Playhouse series Don’t Ring Us…We’ll Ring You detailed the exploits of Jimmy Duffy (Norman Rossington) and Ernie Babcock (John Junkin), two down at heel theatrical agents.

The Torbay Express and South Devon Echo of Saturday 25 July 1970 offered a short preview: JOHN JUNKIN and Norman Rossington star in the third of the current series of Comedy Playhouse on BBC-1 on Wednesday, “Don’t ; Ring Us, We’ll Ring You.” They play a couple of highly unsuccessful agents supplying acts to the booming new clubs of Yorkshire.

T.G. in the Coventry Evening Telegraph, Thursday 30 July 1970 reviewed the comedy: In this, the latest Comedy Playhouse, writers Mike Craig and Lawrie Kinsley jumped on the rather novel theme of a tatty variety agency trying to do business with the new Las Vegas type of working men’s clubs. Minor teething faults were evident like so many ‘starters in this series. But the basic ingredients of a sound script and the solid support of Norman Rossington and John Junkin lifted it above the ordinary. They were well cast as partners struggling to provide good performers for the posh and not-so-posh clubs. Something of a rarity occurred when they discovered a talented girl singer. But they found out after booking her that she was a man in drag. It was an amusing episode, but didn’t get off to a very notable start with a tendency to overplay the comedy. This was quickly ironed out with the introduction of expert character acting by Colin Welland and Sandy Powell but Joe Gladwin made an all too brief appearance. A possible contender for a series? Certainly. it hit on a good idea. and with the same cast has distinct possibilities.

Barbara Mullaney who played Ethel is better known as Barbara Knox and for her long running role as Rita on Coronation Street.

Cast: John Junkin (Ernie Babcock), Norman Rossington (Jimmy Duffy), Colin Welland (Dave Sullivan), Barbara Mullaney (Ethel), Joe Gladwin (Reg Aveyard), Tony Melody (Gas Man), Gael West (Pat Morgan), Pamela Manson (Gloria), Sandy Powell (Joe Ridsdale)

Writers: Mike Craig, Lawrie Kinsley / Lyrics: John Junkin / Music: Denis King / Production Design: Valerie Warrender / Producer and Director: Dennis Main Wilson

UK / BBC1 ‘Comedy Playhouse’ / 1×30 minutes / Wednesday 29 July 1970 at 7.30pm