Although Britain has changed almost beyond recognition since Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em was first broadcast in the early 1970s, the show’s simple slapstick humour has an ageless quality that makes it enduringly hilarious. Michael Crawford found fame as Frank Spencer, still probably television’s most accident-prone man, and still Britain’s most mimicked sitcom character, having inspired thousands of wannabe entertainers to don black berets and Humphrey Bogart-style rain coats and feebly exclaim “Mmm, Betty!”. Crawford’s great insight was to portray Frank as both a figure of fun and an endearingly sympathetic character: we laugh at him but never cease liking him, and we always admire his plucky never-say-die spirit.
Most of the episodes share the common theme of Frank attempting to find a job (ranging from a holiday camp entertainer to an RAF cadet), but because of his clumsy demeanour and lack of common sense, losing the positions within a matter of hours. Pitted against a variety of middle-aged, male professionals (his GP, a psychiatrist and a public relations consultant for example), Spencer’s stupidity reduces these “experts” to nervous wrecks. His long-suffering, doting wife Betty (Michelle Dotrice) features throughout, but despite his wild behaviour and idiocy she appears only mildly flustered by her husband’s actions.–John Galilee