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Please Sir! (ITV Sitcom, John Alderton, Derek Guyler)

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Hot on the heels of the movie To Sir With Love, sitcom Please Sir! starred John Alderton in a star making turn as newly qualified teacher Bernard Hedges. When he begins teaching the class 5C at Fenn Street Secondary Modern he very quickly realises he is out of his depth. No surprise really when most of the students look like they are well past school age.

Most of the series took place either in the classroom or staffroom, other key teachers included ineffectual head Morris Cromwell (Noel Howlett), his assistant Doris Ewell (Joan Sanderson) and Welsh maths teacher Price (Erik Chitty). Potter (Derek Guyler), a former desert rat (and he liked to make sure that no one forgot it) was the school caretaker.

Please Sir! was hugely popular and very quickly gained a spin-off with The Fenn Street Gang which picked up the lives of the most popular students – Peter Craven (Malcolm Mcfee), Eric Duffy (Peter Cleall), Maureen (Liz Gebhardt), Sharon (Penny Spencer and then Carol Hawkins), Dennis Dunstable (Peter Denyer) and Frankie Abbott (David Barry) – as they attempted grown up life. This actually ended up making the parent show less popular as new kids came in but didn’t catch on. By this stage John Alderton had also decided to move on – he appeared briefly in season four and also a few episodes of The Fenn St Gang. Hedges married long term girlfriend Penny Wheeler (Jill Kerman) and went off to study sociology.

1971 saw a big screen outing which featured all of the main cast. This was made in-between seasons 2 and 3 and featured Hedges meeting future wife Penny for the first time.

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The series Bowler was a spin off of The Fenn St Gang, in that series Peter Craven began working for a shady businessman called Bowler and that ended up with it’s own 13 episode run.

Season one was 45 minutes in length (as was all LWT’s initial comedy output) and was also black and white meaning that it was seldom then repeated.

Cast: John Alderton as Bernard Hedges; Derek Guyler as Norman Potter; Peter Cleall as Eric Duffy; Peter Denyer as Dennis Dunstable; Malcolm Mcfee as Peter Craven; Joan Sanderson as Miss Doris Ewell; Noel Howlett as Mr Cromwell; Richard Price as Mr Price; Erik Chitty as Mr ‘Smithy’ Smith; David Barry as Frankie Abbott; Liz Gebhardt as Maureen Bullock; Penny Spencer as Sharon Eversliegh (1); Carol Hawkins as Sharon Eversliegh (2); Jill Kerman as Penny Wheeler; Lindsay Campbell as Mr Sibley; Richard Warwick as David Ffitchett-Brown (1971-1972); Glynn Edwards as Gregory Dix (1971-1972); Charles Bolton as Gobber (1971-1972); Barry McCarthy as Terry Stringer (1971-1972); Billy Hamon as Des (1971-1972); Drina Pavlovic as Celia (1971-1972); Rosemary Faith as Daisy (1971-1972)

Creators: John Esmonde, Bob Larbey / Theme Music: Sam Fonteyn / Producers: Mark Stuart, Phil Cason

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UK / ITV-London Weekend Television / 7×45 minute episodes 48×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 8 November 1968 – 13 February 1972

THE EPISODES
SEASON ONE 11 November – 23 December 1968
1. THE WELCOME MAT (11 Nov 1968)
2. A PICTURE OF INNOCENCE (18 Nov 1968)
3. MAUREEN BULLOCK LOVES SIR (25 Nov 1968)
4. A NEAR GREEK TRAGEDY (2 Dec 1968)
5. BARBARIAN LIBRARIANS (9 Dec 1968)
6. STUDENT PRINCESS (16 Dec 1968)
7. IT’S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS (23 Dec 1968)

SEASON TWO 20 September – 13 December 1969
1. THEY’RE OFF (20 Sep 1969)
2. COMMON LAW (27 Sep 1969)
3. PANALAL PASSES BY (4 Oct 1969)
4. THE SPORTING LIFE (11 Oct 1969)
5. NORMAN’S CONQUEST (18 Oct 1969)
6. X CERTIFICATE (25 Oct 1969)
7. THE DECENT THING (1 Nov 1969)
8. THE GENERATION GAP (8 Nov 1969)
9. LIFE WITHOUT DORIS (15 Nov 1969)
10. THE SCHOOL CAPTAIN (22 Nov 1969)
11. OUT OF THE FRYING PAN (29 Nov 1969)
12. MIXED DOUBLES (6 Dec 1969)
13. DRESS CIRCLE (13 Dec 1969)

SPECIAL 25 Dec 1969
ALL STAR COMEDY CARNIVAL (25 Dec 1969)

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THE MOVIE

SEASON THREE 29 September – 27 December 1970
1. AG BOW RUMBER (29 Sep 1970)
2. STITCHES AND HITCHES (27 Sep 1970)
3. KNICK KNACK TAFFY WHACK (4 Oct 1970)
4. ENTER MISTER SIBLEY (11 Oct 1970)
5. IT’S A SAINT BERNARD’S LIFE (18 Oct 1970)
6. TWO AND TWO MAKE NUN (25 Oct 1970)
7. THE HONOUR OF THE SCHOOL (1 Nov 1970)
8. CROMWELL’S LAST STAND (8 Nov 1970)
9. CATCH A FALLING DROP-OUT (15 Nov 1970)
10. A STAR IS BORN (22 Nov 1970)
11. THE FACTS OF LIFE (29 Nov 1970)
12. SITUATIONS VACANT (6 Dec 1970)
13. PEACE IN OUR TIME (13 Dec 1970)
14. AND EVERYONE CAME TOO (27 Dec 1970)

SEASON FOUR 18 September 1971 – 13 February 1972
1. IDENTIWIT (18 Sep 1971)
2. THE PRUNING OF HEDGES (25 Sep 1971)
3. VIVE LA REVOLUTION (2 Oct 1971)
4. A RATHER NASTY OUTBREAK (9 Oct 1971)
5. DAVID AND GOLIATH (16 Oct 1971)
6. A.W.O.L. (23 Oct 1971)
7. WHAT’S A CLASS BETWEEN FRIENDS (30 Oct 1971)
8. OUR MR PRICE (6 Nov 1971)
9. BLACK POWER (13 Nov 1971)
10. FALSE ALARM (19 Nov 1971)
11. SIBLEY, MUMSIE, DODO AND GEORGIE (27 Nov 1971)
12, UNITED WE SIT (4 Dec 1971)
13. NEMESIS FOR NORMAN (11 Dec 1971)
14. OLD FENNIANS DAY (18 Dec 1971)
15. WHAT ARE YOU INCINERATING? (1 Jan 1972)
16. THE UGLY DUCKLINGS (9 Jan 1972)
17. CUP FEVER (16 Jan 1972)
18. PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY (23 Jan 1972)
19. BLODWYN ALL OVER (30 Jan 1972)
20. THE PRICE WAR (6 Feb 1972)
21. THE FIXER (13 Feb 1972)

In between episodes 14 and 15 there was another short made for that years All Star Comedy Carnival.

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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