Friday, 3 March 2017
621 Now and Then
First viewed : 25 July 1983
This Esmonde and Larbey comedy series on ITV doesn't seem to have left much of a footprint despite an excellent cast, particularly notable for featuring both the UK's favourite grannies, Liz Smith and June Brown.
Bernard Holley played middle aged Peter Elston , fondly looking back to his childhood during World War Two. His younger self was played by John Alford while Sam Kelly and Marcia Warren played his parents. He had two sexpot sisters in Tracy Hyde and Cindy O' Callaghan. One got married to a serving private ; the other was engaged to a supercilious nerd Randall ( Mark Burdis ) who was dodging the front in a supposedly vital civilian role. The young Peter utterly despised him. He also had an uncle Gordon ( Barry Stanton ) who was involved in the black market and gave his nephew-in-law a box of condoms as a going away present.
Despite the latter incident, the comedy was mostly of a fairly gentle nature with all the characters bar Randall warm and sympathetic. I watched the first season ( 7 episodes ) on Sunday nights with my mum and sister . My mother would smile in recognition at many of the privations and improvisations such as using Bisto to simulate unobtainable stockings although she was generally resistant to nostalgia, especially where World War Two was concerned, having been an evacuee from Manchester.
The second season ( six episodes ) in 1984 passed me by entirely. I don't even know whether it stayed a wartime drama or moved on into the late forties.