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Mess Mates (ITV Sitcom, Archie Duncan, Sam Kydd)



Popular sitcom Mess Mates detailed the exploits of the crew of the SS Guernsey (season one) and in season two the The Jersey Lily. Captain Biskett (Archie Duncan) once thought he was destined to run a ocean going cruise liner but deep down he’s happy to settle for this. His right hand man is mate Tug Nelson (Victor Maddern) and the rest of the crew includes Bosun Croaker Jones (Sam Kydd), Willie McGinniss (Fulton MacKay) and Blarney Finnigan (Dermot Kelly).

Season two saw quite a few changes, Willie and Blarney were out and in were Twinkle Martin (Michael Balfour), Dapper Drake (Ronald Hines) and Fry Up Dodds (Frank Atkinson) were in. Biskett also had a new boat in the shape The Jersey Lily.

In real life Archie Duncan didn’t start acting until he was 30 and had spent 10 years working as a welder in the Clyde shipyards. Victor Maddern joined the Merchant Navy at the age of 15 and served for three years before calling it quits.

The series was given a prestigious TV Times cover for the week of it’s premiere episode (26 Jun 1960 edition). Season two ran for a massive 27 episodes.

Cast: Archie Duncan as Captain Biskett; Sam Kydd as ‘Croaker’ Jones; Victor Maddern as ‘Tug’ Nelson (Season 1); Fulton Mackay as Willie McGinniss (Season 1); Dermot Kelly as ‘Blarney’ Finnigan (Season 1); Ronald Hines as ‘Dapper’ Drake (Season 2); Michael Balfour as ‘Twinkle’ Martin (Season 2); Frank Atkinson as ‘Fry-Up’ Dodds (Season 2)

Writers: Talbot Rothwell, Lew Schwarz, David Cumming (1 episode only), Derek Collyer (1 episode only) / Producers: Kenneth Carter (Season 1), Eric Fawcett (Season 2)

UK / ITV – Granada / 40×30 minute episodes / 28 June 1960 – 13 March 1962