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Mind Your Manners (BBC Sitcom, Harry Hemsley)

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In role reversal fortnightly kids sitcom Mind Your Manners, married couple Peter (Peter Madden) and Irene (Irene Prador) find themselves getting rebuked by their young daughter Elsie (Harry Hemsley) whenever they misbehave.

The series was a star vehicle for impersonator Harry Hemsley who specialised in young kids voices. He had been broadcasting on radio since 1923 usually with his “family” of voices Elsie, Winnie, Johnny and Horace the baby. Sadly Hemsley suffered a heat attack on the 5 April 1951 whilst appearing in variety at Richmond, Surrey. He died in hospital in Wimbldon four days later on the 9 April. However this didn’t stop the live broadcast of the final episode of the series – instead an unknown voice gave us an off-screen Elsie.

The plot for the final episode was also suggested by youngsters who were invited to write in – the two winners were interviewed by Cliff Michelmore. Creator Cecil Madden was one of the true pioneers of British television, the first TV producer when the BBC began broadcasting in 1936.

Cast: Harry Hemsley as Elsie; Peter Madden as Peter; Irene Prador as Irene

Creator: Cecil Madden / Writers: Jill Allgood, Harry Hemsley / Producer: Jill Allgood

UK / BBC / 7×10 minute episodes / 13 January – 7 April 1951 Saturdays at 5.00pm Shown Fornightly