Back in 1974 the incomparable Ray Galton and Alan Simpson (that writing duo who had met in a TB clinic and gone on to create Hancock’s Half Hour and Steptoe and Son) teamed up with the rising Les Dawson for a one off comedy called Holiday With Strings about the package holiday from hell, spotting the potential of Dawson’s northern gurning style the trio teamed up for a complete series the following year, the result was Dawson’s Weekly.
The seven episodes are all stand alone comedies, each running about 25 minutes. Apparently the guys came up with the title as a play on the trading paper Dalton’s Weekly. Dawson is a real Hancock of a character, anti-authoritarian and mostly impatient but he suits it well. He’s a great comedian but he is also an actor of some death, Dawson was something of a renaiisance man actually, gifted pianist (even though he poked fun at his skills) and novelist too.
The series is pretty funny and see Les ranging from being a resting actor (Stage-Struck), a child minder (the clerical error) as well as finding himself on a sleeper train to Scotland (Strangers in the Night), looking to inherit on a will (where there’s a will) amd waiting to see if has won the pools (All Pools Day). Roy Barraclough, a long time Dawson collaborator, appears in most of these along with the likes of 1970’s comedy stalwarts like Patricia Hayes, Josephine Tewson and Terence Alexander. There also guest roles for the brilliant John Bird and singer Kenny Lynch.
Incidentally a couple of the stories here were remade for the 1997 series Paul Merton in Galton and Simpsons…
UK / ITV – Yorkshire / 7×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 12 June – 29 July 1975
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson / Producer and Director: Vernon Lawrence
THE EPISODES 12 June – 31 July 1975
1. LES MISERABLES
Les is suffering from a bout of depression.
LES DAWSON as Les / ROY BARRACLOUGH as Roy / HILDA FENEMORE as Mrs Finch / CAMPBELL SINGER asColonel / JACK MAY as Psychiatrist / JENNY McCRACKEN as Receptionist
2. WHERE THERE’S A WILL
In order to inherit on his Uncle Enoch’s will,Les has to marry within seven days.
LES DAWSON as Les / ROY BARRACLOUGH as Roy / RICHARD VERNON as Solicitor / TERENCE ALEXANDER as Consultant / PEGGYANN CLIFFORD as Freda / KATHY STAFF as Minnie / BERT PALMER as Arthur / LESLEY NORTH as Receptionist
Resting actor Les is desperate to get treading the boards once more.
LES DAWSON as Les / JULIAN ORCHARD as Julian / JOSEPHINE TEWSON as Cleoberry / BERNARD SPEAR as Agent / ALAN CURTIS as Windthrift / PAMELA MANSON as Secretary / MICHAEL GOVER as Councillor / TONY SIMPSON as Call Boy / DAMARIS HAYMAN as Cynthia / JOHN HARVEY as Gainford
4. ACCIDENT PRONE
Les finds himself in hospital.
LES DAWSON as Les / ROY BARRACLOUGH as Roy / RICHARD MORANT as Doctor / NEIL McCARTHY as Patient / GORDON ROLLINGS as Stretcher Bearer / GEORGINA MOON as Nurse
5. ALL POOLS DAY
Les is desperate to hear the football results to see if has won the pools.
LES DAWSON as Les / ROY BARRACLOUGH as Roy / PATSY ROWLANDS as 1st Clerk / AVRIL ANGERS as 2nd Clerk / FELIX BOWNESS as 3rd Clerk
6. THE CLERICAL ERROR
Les finds himself babysitting for the Reverend Ffoulkes and his wife.
LES DAWSON as Les / JOHN BIRD as Rev Michael Ffoulkes / ANN BEACH as Mrs Ffoulkes / SHARON DUCE as Sandra / GEORGE A. COOPER as Reporter
7. STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT
Les travels to Scotland on an overnight British Rail sleeper train.
LES DAWSON as Les / ROY BARRACLOUGH as Roy / SUE LLOYD as Girl / KENNY LYNCH as Attendant / EDWARD SINCLAIR as Steward