Wednesday, 20 April 2016
383 Chalk and Cheese
First viewed : Monday 2 April 1979
This short lived comedy series proved a salutary lesson that if you want to escape your past you must take care to choose the right vehicle. Eager to escape the image of Frank Spencer , Michael Crawford took on the role of Dave Finn ( played by Jonathan Pryce in the 1977 pilot ) , a caustic , opinionated , left wing, bearded layabout awaiting the birth of his third child and a constant annoyance to middle class neighbour Roger ( Robin Hawdon ). In the first episode , the only one which I ( and I suspect many others ) watched , Roger had the misfortune of having Dave for company in the maternity ward waiting room , hectoring him about his lifestyle and pretending to be having sympathetic labour pains.
Having just endured the Winter of Discontent , the audience found Crawford's new character as appetising as a bucket of cold sick and turned off in droves, just as they would emphatically reject Dave Finn's values at the ballot box in the General Election which more or less coincided with the end of the series' run. It never returned.
Crawford has rarely been on television since , pursuing a highly successful career in musical theatre instead. He occasionally appears on chat shows to promote his latest show and has even agreed to don the old mac and beret on a couple of occasions, for Noel's House Party and this years Sport Relief. Hawdon has never appeared on TV since but has become a successful playwright and novelist with stage acting gradually taking a back seat to his writing.