Written by Ronald Chesney and Ronald Wolfe, and running to five seasons from 1963 to 1966, the series was immortalised in The Beatles’ ‘Good Morning, Good Morning’: “It’s time for tea and Meet the Wife”.
Thora and Fred Blacklock (Thora Hird and Freddie Frinton) are a middle-aged couple in the north of England, just about managing to make ends meet. Fred is an amiable, hard-working plumber who likes a bet and a pint on the way home, while Thora is an incessant talker with ideas of improving the couple’s social standing. Although happy to chatter at Fred in her normal northern accent, in company or on the phone she unfailingly puts on her posh voice – much to Fred’s annoyance.
Despite Thora’s limitless pickiness and bickering – usually over the most trivial things – there’s genuine affection between the pair, and Fred’s patience rarely reaches breaking point. It’s a partnership that struck a chord with the British public, and confrmed Hird as the nation’s favourite comic actress.