Father Dear Father

1968 | United Kingdom

A fairly decent and popular generation gap comedy starring middle-aged divorcee Patrick Glover, the author of a series of pulp fiction novels, who is left to bring up his two teenage daughters (Anna and Karen) in trendy Hampstead when his wife, Barbara, runs off to marry his best friend. 

Patrick always seemed to be in a permanent state of harassment and confusion as he tried to cope with his daughters, his ex-wife and her husband (either of whom would come to stay at the Glover household whenever there was marital strife -which was quite often), his agent (Georgie), his dotty mother, his compulsive gambler of a brother, and his middle-aged housemaid (Nanny) who was supposed to help out in times of crisis but whose only solution was to 'put the kettle on and make a nice pot of tea'. 

In spite of having two attractively nubile teenage daughters there was hardly any 'hanky panky' going on under the Glover roof, and most of the comedy arose from Patrick misunderstanding the girls, the girls misunderstanding Patrick, Patrick misunderstanding Nanny, Nanny misunderstanding...oh well, you get the picture. The only sane one in the entire series was Patrick's sole confidante, a rather large and lumbering St Bernard dog named after Patrick's favourite author, H.G.Wells. 

Although never a classic, Father, Dear Father ran for five seasons and boasted a host of guest stars that made it look like a who's who of British TV and film stars. Eric Barker, Rodney Bewes, Ian Carmichael, Bill Fraser, Peter Jones, Roy Kinnear, Dandy Nicholls, Richard O'Sullivan, Hugh Paddick, Bill Pertwee, Leslie Phillips, Beryl Reid, Joan Sims, Donald Sinden and June Whitfield all visited the Glover's Hillsdown Avenue address. The series ended in 1973 (after 7 series) at which time a Father Dear Father movie appeared in British cinemas. But this was at a time when just about every half-decent (and even some not-so-decent) sitcoms were being turned into feature films, and Father, Dear Father, like a majority of them, proved that what might make an audience chuckle for 30 minutes on television would just about raise a few limp smiles during 90 minutes of cinema. 

That's not entirely the end of the Father, Dear Father story, though. In 1978 Patrick and Nanny jetted off to Australia where he intended to do research for his next book. The deal was that they'd stay with Patrick's brother, Jeffrey. But on their arrival Jeffrey announces that he is going to London for six months, leaving Patrick the run of his house and the charge of his...wait for it...two attractively nubile teenage daughters! The 7 Network in Australia made 14 episodes of the imaginatively titled Father, Dear Father In Australia, before mercifully bringing the series to an end and before it had to be re-titled Grandfather, Dear Grandfather!

Published on December 11th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.