Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Bless This House

Bless This House, 1971. Sid wishes his son was more of a man's man - especially when he learns he's going out with a ballet dancer named Eugene...

Bless This House was a popular ITV (Thames Television) sitcom which ran for six series between 1971 and 1976, and spawned a feature film in 1972. It followed stationery salesman Sid Abbott (Carry On star and household name Sid James) as he attempted to make sense of the cultural chasm between himself and his children, 16-year-old schoolgirl Sally and 18-year-old layabout Mike, fresh out of art college and more interested in political protest than finding gainful employment.

This clip is from the very first episode, ‘The Generation Gap’, which originally aired 2nd February 1971. Sid is worried about his kids - Sally has taken to wearing padded bras and appears to be on the contraceptive pill, while Mike doesn’t seem to be interested in attracting the opposite sex at all. Of course, it eventually turns out that Mike and Eugene are taking a pair of nurses on a double date, and that Sid has been worrying about nothing all along. I still like how they actually approach it with Mike though, for all the freaking out going on when he’s not in the room. He’s their son first and foremost.

The other thing I like about this episode is how it highlights the stupidity of Sid’s double standards. It’s completely unacceptable for Sally to want a boyfriend, but he’s dismayed that Mike - who is only slightly older - isn’t out with a different girl every night. His justification that ‘it’s different for boys, they can’t get into trouble’ is called out for the hypocrisy it is, and his plans to get Mike to act more promiscuously backfire spectacularly.

The double standard was a theme the show dealt with regularly, and more explicitly than a lot of its contemporaries. It was far from revolutionary, but it’s satisfying all the same to see Sid’s old fashioned ideas constantly challenged and get him into trouble.

You can watch the full episode on YouTube HERE.

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TV and Film History

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