The Hen House

1964 | United Kingdom

The Hen House was a one-off 30 minute sitcom broadcast as part of the Comedy Playhouse series on 10 January 1964. With CP's original writers Alan Simpson and Ray Galton busy creating comedy legend with Steptoe and Son (the first episode of the second series debuted the same week as this Comedy Playhouse offering), it was up to others to pen the one-off sitcoms in the hope that their own offering might lead to a full series. This particular one, written by George Evans and Derek Collyer, didn't-even though it starred Beryl Reid, Barbara Windsor and Dermot Kelly (pictured). 

The Hen House is a girls' hostel, Khartoum House, where the chances of a quiet bit of courting are as scarce as snowflakes in August. Only on one evening a week are the residents allowed to invite their boyfriends into the lounge-and only then for nice quiet pencil-and-paper games. As for lingering goodnights on the doorstep, they're out of the question. In the eyes of Mrs Teresa Fanwyn (Reid), hostel warden, a single kiss can lead to a postivie porchful of orgy: 'Once men and women get together, they orge...' The only way of fooling the watchful Teresa, it seems, is to install a TV set in the lounge. Then, with the lights turned low, the boyfriend evenings could become more interesting all round. Not that the girls have in mind cosy sessions with such programmes as Panorama. The set would be used-to quote Cynthia (Windsor)-'as a back row of the pictures.' But Teresa Fanwyn is anti-television; and it is the efforts of the girls and the janitor-handyman-dogsbody, Edwin (Kelly), the pursuade her to change her mind that provide the farcical flavour of The Hen House.

Published on December 21st, 2018. Based on original Radio Times article.