A Bit Of A Do

1989 | United Kingdom

Set in a small Yorkshire town where everybody knows everybody else's business, A Bit Of A Do gave another British comedy writer the chance to poke fun at one of the country's favourite preoccupations - class distinction. Well-not just any other British comedy writer in this case, and when you see David Nobbs' name on the writing credits and David Jason in a lead role-you know you are in for a bit of a treat.

Jason is cast as Ted Simcock, a no-nonsense self-made man and the owner of Jupiter Foundry, makers of household iron and steel products such as toasting forks, coal scuttles, fire-irons, boot scrapers and door knockers. In the first episode we are introduced to Ted and his family as well as their newly acquired in-laws, Liz and Laurence Rodenhurst, as they gather for the first 'do' - a wedding reception following the marriage of Ted's scruffy son Paul to the Rodenhurst's already-pregnant only daughter, Jenny. Laurence is a successful dentist and considers himself to be socially superior to Ted. What he doesn't count on is his wife's lust for a 'bit of rough', and while his back is turned she drags Ted off to a private room where they indulge in some behind the marital scenes sex. This sparks a chain of events that changes the lives of the snobbish Rodenhursts and working-class Simcocks forever...as their liaison leaves Liz ever so slightly pregnant!
For Ted's wife, who has already long suffered her husband's infidelities it is the final straw...and the one that finally breaks up their marriage.

The snobbery is not confined to the immediate in-laws but to both sections of the two families, their friends, and across the different generations. The series is littered with a host of great characters including Rodney and Betty Stillitoe, boozy regulars at each function they (and subsequently the viewer) visit. David Nobbs, adapting the story from his own novel's; A Bit Of A Do and Fair Do's, leaves no sordid sin untouched; lust, jealousy, hypocrisy, envy, greed and of course, lust - are all covered in functions ranging from the Angling Club Christmas Party to the crowning of Miss Frozen Chicken at the Cock-a-Doodle Chickens event. Nobbs began his writing career on That Was The Week That Was. That led him on to The Frost Report, and that led on to The Two Ronnies. As well as writing for stand up comedians like Tommy Cooper and Ken Dodd he did a long stint with Barry Cryer, writing for Les Dawson and then created one of the BBC's best-loved comedy series The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.

A Bit of a Do is a sharply-written comedy drama which won David Jason the Best Actor Award at the 1990 British Comedy Awards. Featuring an outstanding supporting cast that includes Nicola Pagett (Upstairs, Downstairs), Paul Chapman (As Time Goes By, Colditz), Gwen Taylor (Duty Free, Heartbeat, Barbara) as scorned wife Rita Simcock and Stephanie Cole (Tenko, Waiting for God) and Tim Wylton (My Hero, As Time Goes By) A Bit of a Do sees the changing lives and fortunes of the group through various social occasions, including five weddings, a christening and a funeral. The series is now available on DVD.

Published on November 30th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus (16 January 2007) for Television Heaven.

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