Bootsie and Snudge

Bootsie and Snudge

1960 - United Kingdom

Finally demobbed from The Army Game, Private 'Excused Boots' Bisley and his bullying Sergeant, Claude Snudge, return to civvy life where they find employment in a Pall Mall gentleman's club called The Imperial. The characters stayed true to their original Army Game personalities with the eternal dreamer Bootsie (here being employed-appropriately-as the boot boy) and Snudge as the stuttering apoplectic, (employed as the Major Domo) who tries to keep Bisley on the straight and narrow path. The series explored the relationship of two men thrown together by circumstances, who, whilst not relishing each other's company, are resigned to the fact that they are equally reliant on the other. 

It was a sitcom premise that was returned to with great success in later shows such as Steptoe and Son and Porridge. And like those classic shows it wouldn't have worked as well without the sparkling interplay between the co-stars, in this case Alfie Bass as Bootsie and Bill Fraser as Snudge. Whatever the two stars were doing they were sure to fall foul of the blustering, shouting and stamping Robert Dorning, who played Hon. Secretary of the club, Hesketh Pendleton. 

Also joining them was 38-year old character actor Clive Dunn who specialised in playing older men. Here he was the bespectacled doddery octogenarian waiter Henry Beerbohm Johnson, an employee of The Imperial for some forty years whose addled mind convinced him that Snudge was Lord Kitchener and who often reminisced of his soldiering days when he faced the 'fuzzy-wuzzies'. It was a theme that Dunn would return to before the end of the decade as Corporal Jones in Dad's Army.

The scripts were written, in the early days, by the team of Barry Took and Marty Feldman but later on other writers such as John Antrobus, Jack Rosenthal, ventriloquist Ray Alan and Harry Driver created the situations for the un-dynamic duo. And a number of stars passed through The Imperial on their way to lasting television stardom and these included Warren Mitchell, Mollie Sugden and Honor Blackman. The series was hugely popular with the British public and ran successfully for 98 half hours between 1960 and 1963. In 1964 Bootsie and Snudge were briefly moved into the diplomatic service for a series called Foreign Affairs although that only lasted for 8 weeks. Then in 1974 the two stars were reunited for 6 more episodes of Bootsie and Snudge where, in a reversal of fortunes, Bootsie wins a million pounds and 27 pence on the football pools and Snudge, as his financial advisor becomes the subservient partner. 

Published on November 30th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus (23 January 2005) for Television Heaven.

Read Next...

Arthur's Treasured Volumes

It's title inspired by the initials of the television company that produced the series, Arthur's Treasured Volumes appears to be, if the sole surviving episode is an example, an underrated and unfairly forgotten TV gem.

Also released in 1960

Barney is My Darling

A married couple's uneasy attempt to adjust to married life after years apart.

Also tagged Sitcom

Benson TV series

This spin-off of the Susan Harris-created farce Soap sent the Tate family's insolent African-American butler Benson to the mansion of Jessica Tate's bumbling cousin, Governor James Gatling. In other words, Benson went from one dysfunctional family to another.

Also tagged Sitcom

All Summer Long

Willie has tried to make his father aware of the danger to their house from flood water, but Dad thinks that Willie's fears are excessive. Willie decides to spend all summer long building a wall to keep out the river, but his efforts are in vain.

Also released in 1960


Ted Danson starred as John Becker, an extremely dedicated and very talented doctor, who tends to a medical practice in New York's Bronx. And while a brilliant doctor, he tends to fare rather less well in the traditional bedside manner stakes.

Also tagged Sitcom

Get Some In

1955 and a motley crew of draftees are enlisted into the RAF to do their National Service with comedic consequences.

Also tagged The Army Game

Best of Enemies

Television's first attempt to poke fun at the world of politics from within the Houses of Parliament in a situation comedy...

Also tagged Sitcom

After the Funeral

When Alun Owen's play 'After the Funeral' was read by Sydney Newman, head of drama for ABC Television, and William Kotcheff, the television director, they were so taken by his conception of Wales and the Welsh, they decided to see for themselves.

Also released in 1960

Barney Miller

American sitcom set in a New York City Police Department police station on East 6th St in Greenwich Village.

Also tagged Sitcom