Never A Cross Word

1968 | United Kingdom

One of the first sitcoms to appear on the newly formed London Weekend Television network in 1968, Never A Cross Word starred Nyree Dawn Porter (The Forsyte Saga) and Paul Daneman (Not In Front Of The Children) as Ronald and Deirdre Baldock, a cosily-off middle class married couple. 

Although the series didn't make much of a lasting impression it does have the distinction of being the programme that landed John Alderton the lead role in the hugely successful Please Sir! as well as being something of a failed experiment in as much as LWT decided to try a sitcom lasting 45 minutes. 

The first series was due to debut on 27 September 1968 as part of the new season for LWT, but an ITV dispute on the 10 August meant that a programme filler was needed. The first episode of Never A Cross Word was hurriedly put out by the company only to disappear from the screens for six weeks before reappearing in its originally scheduled spot. In that first episode Alderton made an appearance as an asthmatic schoolteacher. 

There were many other guest appearances during the two series run (the second series reverting to the tried and tested 30 minute format) including Sam Kydd, Roy Kinnear, Bill Fraser, Hattie Jacques, Kate O'Mara, Jack Watling and June Whitfield, although Nyree Dawn Porter didn't stay the course, she opted out and was replaced for the second series by Barbara Murray (The Power Game). The two series were broadcast either side of LWT's change from black and white to colour transmissions. 

The first series was written by Donald Churchill and the second by Michael Pertwee (brother of Jon), and the situations were built round a pretty average format of domestic harmony/disharmony. The first episode was released on DVD by Network in 2006 as part of their release of 'Please Sir! - The Complete Second Series'

Published on January 11th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.