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Comedy Playhouse: The Dobson Doughnut (BBC, Milo O’Shea)



Whitney Houston & Bobbi Kristina

In one off Comedy Playhouse entry The Dobson Doughnut, the eccentric Henry Medway (Milo O’Shea) decides to sail around the world.

Jack Bell gave a short preview in The Daily Mirror of the day of broadcast (Tuesday 14 May 1974): JO KENDALL appears in the comedy THE DOBSON DOUGHNUT (BBC-1, 8.30 p.m.), as the daughter of the eccentric Henry Medway (Milo O’Shea). Henry decides to brighten his retirement by sailing, round the world in an 18ft. boat. He is sponsored by a local bakery called Dobson’s, but Medway is not quite the stuff of famous global navigators. The script is by Raymond Allen. With Michael Crawford, he JO KENDALL (B B C-1, 8.30 p.m.) wrote the hit series “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em.” That was after years of rejection slips for his comedy ideas. Obviously, BBC chiefs now pay more attention to his efforts.

Tom Durham gave the half hour an extensive review in The Stage of 23 May 1974, remarking that this was author Raymond Allen’s attempt to follow the success of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em: [the comedy] began to the strains of See the Conquering Hero: an introduction to the endearing Milo O’Shea as a robust, if far from able, senior citizen, who wishes to campaign against the evil manipulations of Bureaucracy, and state-induced senility, by acting first as a tree-conservationist (a false start this and I felt cheated), and then as a lone round-the-world yachtsman. Unfortunately, the programme lacked any real identity, coherent style, or distinction. The Dobson Doughnut had little literary humour, though the short rhapsody on doughnuts themselves, as the sponsorship of a local bakers was sought by the aspiring circumnavigator, had potential… As for eccentricity, well, Milo O’Shea is extremely likeable and I’m sure many can identify with him, but he lacks the grotesque zany qualities of the clowns who can salvage anything. Of the simple, obvious situations 1 the most promising, the yacht launching, was woefully overdone necessitating the total disintegration of a club boat-house. This Bentine touch was incompatible with the gentle, domestic atmosphere already established… In fact the only successful sequence of the play, showing any inspiration and technical expertise was an ably timed, cumulative exchange between Mr O’Shea, being completely impossible, and a radio presenter (Geoffrey Whitehead) attempting to tape an interview. Overall then… it seemed a rather stale doughnut, with the sugar rubbed off and little jam.

Ariel in The Liverpool Echo of Wednesday 15 May 1974 was better impressed: Milo O’Shea wav outstanding as the retired worker who planned to sail an 18ft. boat round the world. in Dobson’s Doughnut, the Comedy Playhouse offering (BBC-1). He wanted to do it because he was fed up with being too old to work and too young to die; he didn’t want a bench in the park, cheap bus fares or tea with the Darbv and Joan club, and he felt trapped because the world was shrinking for him. Topical comment from author Raymond Allen, but predictably the voyage ended in failure. with Milo, as lovable Henry Medway 200 yards from the pier, and having to be taken home by the police.

Cast: Milo O’Shea (Henry Medway), Bernard Spear (Dobson), Jo Kendall (Alison), Brian Miller (Ken), Robert Prince (Newspaper Reporter), John Ringham (Bates), Geoffrey Whitehead (Thomas), Jim Smilie (TV Announcer), Harry Locke (Shaw), Ken Haward (Police Sergeant), The Portsmouth Youth Band

Writer: Raymond Allen / Music: Alan Roper / Production Design: Paul Allen / Producer and Director: Michael Mills

UK / BBC1 ‘Comedy Playhouse’ / 1×30 minutes / Tuesday 14 May at 8.30pm