Alcock and Gander

1972 | United Kingdom

The London based Alcock group of companies isn't exactly a thriving business empire, even with its diverse variety of services.

Mrs Alcock (Beryl Reid) runs a company called Flybynight Tours, which goes about its business as the name would suggest. She also runs the Mary Peabody Marriage Bureau, Tom O'Thimble - Lucky Pixie Ltd., Sotheby's Racing Service and a firm that sells "artistic books" (a collection of cheap Van Gogh prints stapled together). And all from an office - well, two rooms and an 'executive' toilet to be precise, in a seedy Victorian building above a strip club in Soho.

Beryl Reid and Richard O'Sullivan

The office furniture comes "off the back of a lorry" and that includes a safe with an unknown combination. Finding it is the company's first concern when we are introduced to them after Ernest, possibly the oldest office boy in employment, becomes locked inside!

Also running the business is Richard Gander (Richard O'Sullivan), a failed student many times over, who was given a partnership instead of a refund following a disastrous outing on an Alcock Economy Coach Tour which nearly cost him his life.

The series came from the successful writing team of Brian Cooke and Johnnie Mortimer who had previously hit the right note with Father, Dear Father and would later deliver Man About the House, George and Mildred, and Robin's Nest. Sadly, they could not come up with a winning formula this time and only six episodes were made before makers Thames Television put the Alcock group mercifully and permanently out of business.

Published on October 31st, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.