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A Tearful G’bye To Doug: A Look-Back At Ramsay Street’s Willis Family

 Hotel Death Trap week on Neighbours was truly gripping stuff! But it’s also been incredibly heartbreaking, and I think it’s safe to say that life on Ramsay Street will never be the same again. Viewers watched Josh Willis die after bravely sacrificing his life to save his nemesis, Daniel. Today his grandfather Doug collapsed and died shortly after reuniting son Brad with his own estranged son, Ned. What is it with those scriptwriters – they really had it in for the poor Willis family!!!

The scenes of Doug’s death, featuring three generations of Willis men, were extremely poignant. When you mention the Willis family, fans of Neighbours  today will think of Brad and Therese, their three children, Josh, Imogen, and Piper plus Brad’s daughter Paige. But when I think of the Willises, I go right back to the early nineties, when the Willis family consisted of Doug and his wife Pam, and their children Adam, Gaby, Cody and of course – Brad!

When Des Clarke sold his house to Doug Willis, I didn’t think that I’d take to the Willises the same way I did with the Clarkes – I was wrong. I  absolutely adored this family and still do. At this time there weren’t really many families as such living on Ramsay Street so this new family unit made a very welcome addition and their lighthearted attitude to life proved to be a breath of fresh air.

THE MARRIAGE

Neighbours Viewers already knew Cody Willis but they got to meet her parents Doug and Pam just before they took over Des Clarke’s  house and set up home in Ramsay Street. They may have been married for over twenty years but anyone could see that the spark was very much there between Doug and his wife. And they didn’t behave like a couple of old marrieds either. Who can forget when Pam tricked Doug into removing all his clothes before locking him out of the house and refusing to let him back in until he promised to take her out dancing?

It was probably because the Willis marriage was so strong that Doug’s habit of flirting with attractive women didn’t bother Pam at all. But there were times when it caused Pam to worry: when Doug’s ex-girlfriend, Alexandra showed up briefly in Erinsborough, and when Lou’s sister, Brenda, became infatuated with Doug.

Both times Pam’s fears proved unfounded. But neither she nor Doug could have predicted what was around the corner…

While nursing neighbour, Jim Robinson back to health, Pam realised she was attracted to him. Her behaviour caused Doug to become quite suspicious of her and Jim but Pam made the fatal error of confessing her feelings for Jim to her ‘good friend’ Jill Weir – not realising that Jill had set her sights on Doug.

Jill used this information to her advantage which resulted in her spending the night with Doug in his hotel room. When she found out, a furious Pam threw Doug out of the house and started divorce proceedings before embarking on a brief fling with Jim.

But it took Doug getting lost at sea to make the warring Willises realise they still loved each other and reunited, ending one of the lowest points in their marriage. And after four years in Ramsay Street, Doug and Pam upped sticks and moved to Darwin after Doug was offered a job there.

THE KIDS

Doug and Pam were the proud parents of four children: two boys, Adam and Brad, and two girls, Gaby and Cody. 

All the Willis kids were extremely close and looked out for each other. They were all fun-loving  but they were also as different as they were alike. Adam was studying to be a doctor who couldn’t decide between Caroline Alessi and Gemma Ramsay (although he eventually left the Street to start a new life with Gemma.) Gaby had been studying business in Hong Kong before coming to live with her family in Erinsborough. Brad was the typical, ultra laid- back surfer, and as a sign of what was to happen in years to come, was caught up in a love triangle between Beth and Lauren. Brad eventually chose Beth but Lauren would get her chance in years to come… Then there was baby of the family, Cody. Headstrong and independent, Cody was a rebel who was always determined to get her own way but nonetheless was doted on by both her parents. She was madly in love with Todd Landers but left to study in America.

All the Willis kids eventually left Ramsay Street to start new lives elsewhere. After a while the characters of Cody and Brad were brought back – although they were not played by the original actors – and Gaby made a cameo appearance in Annalise Hartman’s documentary. Only Adam seems to have been forgotten about but viewers can only assume that Dr. Adam Willis is still living happily in Newcastle with Gemma.

THE LAUGHTER

One thing that I loved about this family was that there was always a lot of love and laughter in the Willis household. Sure they had their problems like everyone else and they endured some pretty rough times, but on the whole, they were very fun loving and never took themselves too seriously. I loved the scene where Brad and Gaby were play fighting with Doug despairing if they’d ever grow up because it reminded me of my own family.

Adam once explained that practical joking was a family tradition, and the Willises did indeed like pranking each other. I remember after one prank got Doug arrested, he got his own back by getting Cody arrested by a police officer. The way it played out was so funny.

And then there’s was Adam’s disastrous first date with Caroline Alessi where his car broke down. It would have infuriated most people but not Adam. Ever the optimist, Adam got a take away pizza and then turned on the radio so that he and Caroline could dance while roadside assistance repaired the car. “Told you I’d take you out dancing after dinner,” Adam told Caroline, looking thoroughly pleased with himself, demonstrating the Willis ability to look on the bright side.

THE HARDSHIPS

Despite all the fun and laughter, the Willises also faced some pretty testing times when laughing was the last thing they wanted to do. There was the time Pam was arrested after being accused of helping one of her patients to die. It was a very worrying time for the family and Pam was determined not to go to prison for something she didn’t do. Thankfully charges against her were dropped.

But worse was to come when the Willises youngest son, Brad, was imprisoned on false drug smuggling charges in Asia- a crime which carried the death penalty. An extremely frantic Doug and Pam flew out, leaving the elder two kids, Adam and Gaby, to raise the funds they needed to get Brad out of jail. After a while Doug and Pam arrived in Erinsborough – with Brad in tow!

Despite Doug having his own business, the Willis family weren’t exactly rolling in it. Pam often took to driving her father’s cab when money was tight, and once many years ago, Pam was forced to pawn her engagement ring, and was extremely relieved to get it back. So financial worries were nothing new to the family.

But things went from bad to worse.

After a joint business venture with Paul Robinson went wrong, Doug found himself in debt. Forced to sell the business, Doug was then employed by the new owners but a difference of opinion led to Doug being sacked. He then spiralled into depression, leading to excessive drinking and a near- breakdown.

But being made of tougher stuff, the Willises got through it.

THE TRAGEDIES

Despite their happy demeanor, the Willises experienced more than their fair share of heartache. Doug and Pam lost one of their children – a baby boy called John – when he was around eighteen months old. Then tragedy struck again years later when their youngest child Cody was accidentally shot and killed during a shoot out on Ramsay Street, leaving the family distraught.

In more recent times, Doug’s health began to deteriorate rapidly as he’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Unable to cope with the demands of looking after her husband, Pam sent Doug to stay with Brad where the whole family rallied round and did their best to care for Doug but it was painfully clear to everyone that Doug was steadily getting worse.

And of course as viewers saw last week, fate decided that it wasn’t done with the Willis family as the explosion that rocked Lassiter’s, claimed the lives of Doug and his grandson, Josh, ensuring that the Willis family would never be the same again and that the union between Doug and his beloved Pam had finally come to an end. However will Pam cope?

THE NEXT GENERATION OF WILLISES

The fact that a new generation of Willises were brought back to Erinsborough almost twenty years since Pam and Doug had left for Darwin proves that the Willis family had indeed made an impact and were still fondly remembered. Brad, his second wife, Therese, twins Josh and Imogen, together with youngest daughter Piper, and Brad’s long- lost daughter Paige make up the new Willis family. There may not be as much larking about in the Willis household this time round but they’re definitely not short on drama!

I had always believed that it was the decision of the actors who played Pam and Doug – Sue Jones and Terrence Donovan – to leave Neighbours, marking the departure of the last two Willises left in Ramsay Street. But an interview with Terrance Donovan revealed that Pam and Doug were written out to make way for a family unit with teenage kids, thus keeping in line with the hotter, younger, sexier new image the show was trying to convey. Enter the Kennedys! To be honest its only in recent years that I’ve grown to love Karl and Susan which means I’ve finally forgiven them for ousting the Willises from their home! But I never really did take to the Kennedy kids the way I did with the Willis kids and I would have loved for them – the whole family – to have stayed.

I think another reason why I’m so fond if the Willis family is because the were around during Neighbours’ heyday – a time when we all rushed home from school to watch Neighbours so that we could discuss it at school; when Neighbours’ stars got all the magazine covers, and the show’s actors appeared on our TV screens more than our own homegrown talent. The Willis family are a reminder of those days and of everything that was going on in my own life at the time.

It’s sad that Terrence Donovan’s association with Neighbours which has spanned a period of more than twenty five years has come to an end. And as Terrence is the real-life father of Jason Donovan – who brought the role of Scott Robinson to life – it makes that association somehow stronger. And let’s not forget Terrence’s sensitive portrayal of a man battling Alzheimer’s which raised further awareness of the illness. Doug’s time on the Street has come to an end but we will always have very fond memories of Doug and remember him as a hardworking, down-to-earth family man who loved his wife and kids – not to mention having a laugh.

G’bye Doug – Ramsay Street just won’t be same…

 

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2016 in TV Shows

 

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Another Liebster Award! Wow!!!

What! Another award nomination!

That’s what I thought when the lovely Jenny Pugh nominated me for a Liebster award. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – its always a pleasure to receive a nomination from one of my fellow bloggers. It means I’m doing something right! And it’s great to have received this nomination from Jenny because I am a huge fan of her blog The World Of Jenny Pugh, and I always look forward to her posts – and I’m not just saying that because she’s reading this! 😉This is actually my second Liebster nomination but who’s counting, right? And who cares? I’m always thrilled to get nominated!liebster-awardThe rules of the Liebster Award are pretty straightforward:

  1. You thank the person who nominated you
  2. Answer the questions given to you by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate eleven bloggers for this award.
  4. Think of eleven questions to ask your nominees.

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So first things first, I’d like to thank Jenny for this nomination. She’s actually been following Nostalgia Pie pretty much since the early days and has always been very enthusiastic about my posts and very supportive. So thank you, Jenny – you’re the best. And if you’ve never checked out The World Of Jenny Pugh, do so now. You’ll get a sneak peak into Jenny’s fabulous world and see what a thoroughly nice lady she is. 😊

JENNY’S QUESTIONS:

1. Which film do you think everybody should see, and why?

Goodness there are tons of films I think everyone should see but just off the top off my head I would have to say Grease purely for the feel good factor, the awesome songs, and those fantastic outfits, and the fact that you could never feel glum after having watched it. I dare you not to walk away singing and dancing after having watched Grease!

2. If money were no object, what would you do with your time?

There’s so much I would like to do! Blog; write a novel; travel, and create housing for homeless people, create jobs for the unemployed, spend more time with the people I care about among many, many other things. Oh to live the dream!!!

3. Do you have any funny responses when you receive spam phonecalls?

Sadly no – I’m way too polite! I can’t remember when was the last time I got a spam call anyway because I hardly ever get them but I really should think of some responses – just in case…

4. Is there any animal that you’d like as a pet, but can’t because they’re not really ‘in the house’ pets?

Unfortunately the fella and I can’t keep pets because of our allergies so most animals would be ‘not in the house pets.’ But ever since I was a very young child, I’ve loved peacocks. They’re absolutely stunning and there’s something so majestic about them so yeah, I wouldn’t mind having a peacock!

5. If a film was being made about your life, what would they call it and who would you want to play you?

Never Born To Follow would be the title of the film which incidentally is also the title of one of my favourite songs. I can’t really think of anyone famous who looks like me, so I suppose my niece or cousin could play the younger me, and my sister the older me. Besides my sister has been around for most of my life so she already knows the plot!

6. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

Everything! I enjoy the whole process that goes into writing a post from concept to research to finished article, and that it gives me a chance to write about things that really interest me from my point of view. Blogging also enables me to come  across some awesome blogs that I enjoy reading which I could very easily have missed, and it’s brought me into contact with some fantastic bloggers.

7. What was your favourite place that you’ve ever been?

There’s just way too many to name! I have many favourites because lots of places I have been to are special to me in one way or another but I will give a special shout out to Bournemouth on the coast because I totally fell in love with the place and I have very to fond memories of the time we spent living there. It totally broke my heart to leave. 😓😓

8. What’s your favourite quote? screen-shot-2016-01-11-at-7-13-22-am
Sounds like the story of my life but of course my life is nowhere near as fascinating as Bowie’s!

9. What was the first record/cassette/CD/download single you ever bought?

Michael Jackson’s Dangerous CD. I bought that with my very own money that I earned from two weeks work experience. I listened to it constantly on repeat until my dad got sick of it. In my humble opinion, Dangerous was Michael Jackson’s best ever album and I could listen to it endlessly even now and never get bored of it. Furthermore, every time I hear the album it brings back great memories of the early nineties, secondary school and my early teenage years.

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10. What do you love most about where you live?

Well I’ve only just moved to Massachusetts so I’m still trying to explore my new surroundings and discover what’s here. But what I love without a shadow of a doubt is that I live just outside of Boston – the city that gave us New Kids On The Block! I’ve been a massive fan since I was eleven and ever since I clapped eyes on the five bad brothers from the bean town land, I’ve wanted to live in Boston (or as in my case now, near it!) and I can’t believe my dream has come true! Aside from the New Kids connection, Boston has a lot of history, culture, and a distinctly English vibe that I’ve never felt in the other states I’ve visited. It also has great seafood and I love the Bostonian accent!

11. What made you start blogging?

I have a few other blogs out there but Nostalgia Pie was the one that kicked everything off. I was coming across a lot of things from my childhood: TV shows; pop artists, clothing, books…things I’d long forgotten about. And I remember the buzz I got when I stumbled across them again. I’d thought about blogging for a while but couldn’t find a topic I was interested in enough to blog about consistently. I suppose you could say the topic found me! Childhood memories make me very happy and I wanted to share that with those who had an interest in the seventies, eighties and nineties knowing that they’d get the same buzz from it as I do.

THE BLOGGERS I WISH TO NOMINATE:

This is the part I always find difficult because there are so many great blogs out there.  Blogs nominated for a Liebster award need to fit within a certain criteria, and I normally follow these guidelines but just this once, I’m going to pick the eleven blogs which have interested me the most recently. Nominees don’t have to participate if they don’t wish to, and even though I try very hard not to nominate bloggers who don’t wish to receive nominations, if I’ve selected you, I’m sorry! 😮

 1. Every Number One https://everynumberone.wordpress.com/

 2. Tangled Up In Music https://tangledupinmusic.wordpress.com/

 3. MyEighties https://myeighties.wordpress.com

 4. Movie Rob https://movierob.wordpress.com/

 5. Cinema Parrot Disco https://table9mutant.wordpress.com/

6. What’s On Where https://whatsonwhere.wordpress.com/

7. The Nostalgia Blog http://thenostalgiablog.com/

8. Sconesavvy https://sconesavvy.wordpress.com/

9. Adventures Of An Author’s Wife  https://jennypughuk.wordpress.com/

10. Tamarind And Thyme  https://tamarindandthyme.wordpress.com

11. Miss Marzipan http://missmarzipan.com/

MY QUESTIONS FOR THE NOMINEES:

Now this is the part of the process I do enjoy especially as it gives me a chance to get to know my fellow bloggers a little better. I’m going to do things a little differently to how I normally would and base my questions around a theme, so surprise surprise, I’m choosing a nostalgia theme!

  1. Nobody really liked school dinners but was there anything on your school canteen’s menu that you actually looked forward to tucking into?

  2. Punk, new romantic or cheesy pop?

  3. What sitcom from your childhood did your family used to gather around the TV to watch?

  4. Who was your first teen crush?

  5. What’s your favourite eighties’ movie?

  6. What was your biggest fashion disaster?

  7. Is there any long forgotten food item that you’re hoping will make a comeback?

  8. What was your best ever childhood  Christmas present?

  9. Did you ever read any comics when you were a child?

  10. What was your favourite playground game?

  11. If a time machine could take you back to either the seventies, eighties or nineties, which decade would you choose and why?

So once again thanks to Jenny and congrats to all the nominees. ☺

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Posted by on March 30, 2016 in Awards

 

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A Few Of My Favourite Things

The hubby and I have been in America for over six weeks now and I’m slowly becoming accustomed to my new home. To be honest we’ve both been busy with all the usual hectic stuff that goes with a move abroad i.e. renting a flat; buying a car; settling into a new job; getting to know people; finding the best place to get a take away curry etc. etc.

I’m very excited about coming to America and all the opportunities it presents. From the time I was a teenager, I had a feeling that I’d one day end up living abroad. And now I’ve done just that. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get homesick and miss England and everyone and everything in it terribly because I do. So I always take comfort in anything that reminds me of home… and some of these things even have a connection to my childhood!

BOOT’S PRODUCTS

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I remember when I was last in Oregon a few years back, Target had started stocking  up Boot’s products which I was very excited about. And I’d totally forgotten about it until we went into our local Target last week and found a small section of the store – and I do mean small – dedicated to Boot’s cosmetics and skin care products. That really did cheer me up – to see a little piece of home.

I’m not familiar with many of the brands available in the States although I will inevitably get round to trying them out – but right now its great to see a brand I know and trust.

JELLY

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Or jello as its called over here. OK, I know – jelly is such a kid’s dessert. No one with a sophisticated palate would even consider a bowlful of the wibbly-wobbly stuff and most adults will probably only touch it if you add alcohol and serve them up in little plastic shot glasses at parties.

But then I’ve never really been one for following the crowd and I’ve always loved jelly. It stems from childhood when a bowlful of jelly was an amazing treat – how easily pleased we were – and even now, when I’m feeling homesick or a bit low for any reason, jelly hits the spot every time. And if there’s any ice- cream or squirty cream to go with it, so much the better!

Funnily enough, most American adults I know have no interest in jello – unless we’re talking jello shots – but yet there’s such a fantastic array of flavours unlike the UK where we’re pretty much limited to five flavours. So far I’ve come across peach, melon, cherry, blueberry, apricot, grape, fruit punch, cola, pineapple, mango… and those are just the ones I can remember!

While the Americans beat us on flavours, the thing I love about jelly in Britain is that you can get them in the form of squidgy gelatine squares whereas over here in America it’s always in crystal form. How I love those jelly squares! Whenever my mum used to make jelly for us, you could be sure I’d pop a couple of squares in my gob. In fact, I’ve even been known to scoff a whole packet like sweets!

EGGO WAFFLES

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In Britain, waffles are either Belgian or potato which are both fab but I remember my aunt making a different type of waffle when i used to go round to her house which seemed to be made from batter. I have no idea what brand it was but when I was much older I used to look for them in the frozen aisles but could never find them so they’d obviously been discontinued long ago.

Eggo waffles are the ones that come closest to my childhood memory and they are a firm favourite in our household.

SARA LEE DESSERTS

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Who remembers those Sara Lee television ads of the eighties where we were advised that “If at first you don’t succeed – cheat!” I’m quite sure that Sara Lee gateaus would have been all the rage at dinner parties back in the day but this brand is another thing that seems to have disappeared over the years in Britain. It was only when I used to visit Oregon a few years back that I ran into this brand at the supermarket like a long- lost friend… and those Sara Lee fruit pies soon became a freezer staple.

These days I’m addicted to Sara Lee’s pound cake. Delicious!

 

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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in Brands

 

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The Start Of Something New

When I write my posts for Nostalgia Pie, I usually write them with the perspective of a yearning for times gone by, usually the late seventies to early nineties. But the next time I write a blog post, don’t be surprised if you detect an element of homesickness – because I’m very sure you will!

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This will be the last post I write from England for a while as we will be moving to our new home in Boston, Massachusetts! That’s right – we’re making a new home for ourselves right in the New Kids country! It has always been my dream to live in Boston, or at the very least visit and walk the same turf as Jordan, Donnie, Danny and co. And now I’ll be able to do exactly that!

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But on the other hand, of course I will miss my family, friends, country and all things British, and when I think about that, that’s when the sadness sets in. I’m naturally feeling a mix of emotions right now but I know how fortunate we are to have this opportunity, and everyone who has been to Boston keeps telling me how at home I’ll feel there, so I’m trying to be a little more optimistic each day and not let the uncertainty get to me. Plus there’s so much history and culture in New England, I can’t wait to dive in and explore – but I’m still holding back from doing the New Kids dance just yet. Maybe once I’ve settled in!

 

So wish me luck as I begin the journey to the new world. I wonder what I’ll find there!

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Posted by on January 11, 2016 in This, That and the Other!

 

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Happy New Year!!!!

Well we have less than three hours to go before we wave goodbye to 2015 forever and say hello to 2016.

For me 2015 was a year in which there was never a dull moment – which is both good and bad. But overall it hasn’t been a disastrous year so I’m a little sad to see it go – but I am more than a little excited about the arrival of the new year. I hope it will be an awesome year for all of you – and I, personally, hope to blog a whole lot more!

Happy new year everybody!!!!

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Posted by on December 31, 2015 in This, That and the Other!

 

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That’s My Boy!

TITLE: That’s My Boy

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United Kingdom

GENRE: Sit-com

CHANNEL: ITV

YEARS: 1981

NUMBER OF SERIES: 5 including Christmas specials

WRITTEN AND CREATED BY: Pam Valentine and Michael Ashton

  • Molly Sugden- Ida Willis
  • Christopher Blake – Dr Robert Price
  • Jennifer Lonsdale – Angie Price
  • Clare Richards – Mrs Price
  • Harold Goodwin- Wilfred Willis
  • Deddie Davis – Miss Parfitt
  • Thelma Whiteley – Mrs Cross

PLOT: No-nonsense housekeeper goes to work for a young doctor and his wife. The doctor and housekeeper have an instant dislike towards each other – until the housekeeper discovers that the doctor is the baby she gave up for adoption almost twenty eight years ago…

There are some comedies that stand the test of time and are repeated over and over again to be enjoyed by new generations of viewers. Then there are comedies that fade into obscurity and are never mentioned again. Eighties sit-com That’s My Boy is an example of a comedy show that fits into the latter category. But if anyone thinks that’s a sign that it wasn’t very good or watchable – think again!

Over the years, I was vaguely able to recall a comedy show from my childhood that featured a young married couple with an older lady, who I guessed was some kind of live-in housekeeper. However, I could never remember the name of the show, and moreover,  I’d never seen it on TV since it was first shown, and I don’t remember anyone even mentioning it. I was beginning to wonder if I’d imagined it (like so many things from my childhood!)

A few of the things that I could recall were the appearance of the married couple’s flat; that the older lady looked like  Mollie Sugden;  the husband was very handsome, and whenever I thought of this comedy, I always associated it with the colour blue! I later realised that the older lady was indeed Molly Sugden, and that the blue association was because the opening and closing credits of series one to three featured a sketch of the apartment building where the trio lived with a sky blue background and also because Mollie Sugden’s character, Ida, often wore blue.

Despite there having been five series of That’s My Boy, my memories of this sit-com were a little on the hazy side but I did think about the sit-com over the years and was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down and spend some very pleasant evenings (and weekend mornings!) watching this show all over again. I was amazed to learn that I was actually able to recall certain scenes and episodes, although I didn’t remember Wilfred or Mrs. Price, and neither did I remember the move to Yorkshire. I was also surprised to hear that it was shown on Friday nights, as for some reason, I remember That’s My Boy being shown on Sunday afternoons (?)

THE STORY SO FAR…

When Yorkshire-born Ida Willis turns up at the Muswell Hill flat belonging to Dr Robert Price and his wife Angie, a model, to work as their new housekeeper, she and Angie instantly become friends. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Ida and Robert who appear to loathe each other on sight. However all that changes one afternoon when Ida confides in Angie about the baby boy she gave up for adoption called Shane. After showing each other baby photos of Shane and Robert, Angie and Ida are dumbstruck by the realisation that the baby is one and the same – meaning that Robert is Ida’s long-lost son, Shane!

 

Had this been a soap opera, this storyline would have been drawn out for several months (or years) with plenty of tears, tantrums, sobbing into bottles of wine, with shrieks of ‘you ain’t my muvva!’ once the secret was revealed but comedy handles such a heavy topic in an altogether light-hearted manner with much hilarity that doesn’t see Robert scarred of life or going on a killing spree! The realisation that they are mother and son doesn’t make them become best friends overnight. Ida tries hard to be a mother to Robert, but she still grates on him, especially when she insists on calling him by his birth-name Shane. And Ida isn’t afraid to give Robert/Shane a piece of her mind when she thinks it’s called for.

Much of the humour is provided by Ida’s wayward brother Wilfred and the power struggle between Ida and Robert’s ‘other mummy’ – his adoptive mother, Mrs Price, an upmarket widow who is as far removed from Ida as you can get. The two naturally don’t get on as they battle to become the number one  ‘mummy’ in Robert’s life, but there are times when the two have to form an alliance, especially when it’s in the best interests of their son.

 

But Robert and Ida do indeed bond and it is delightful to watch their relationship develop. Robert becomes very protective of Ida and when attending the wedding of Ida’s niece, it’s really heart warming to see Robert affectionately declare Ida as his mother. What was probably slightly unusual was the relationship between Ida and her daughter-in-law, Angie. A typical situation would have seen glamorous model and actress Angie, snobby and aloof who seriously clashes with her newfound mother-in-law. But then Angie doesn’t get on with her other mother-in-law Mrs. Price so I think it was clever of the writers to create a different scenario where instead of being the archetypal interfering mother-in-law, Ida is a friend and an ally to Angie.

And later on in the fourth series, when the family leave Muswell Hill and move to Little Birchmarch in Yorkshire after Robert secures the post of village doctor, we meet the dithering Miss Parfitt, Robert’s mousy receptionist.

WHY I LOVE IT:

One thing that’s dawned on me after watching That’s My Boy! is that I seem to be a fan of sit-coms that are not considered ‘classics’ or that most people might have forgotten. Fawlty Towers, Only Fools And Horses, Open All Hours etc. are firm favourites with me and my family and are undeniably terrific, but I really do think that there’s something good and a lot of fun to be had in watching the lesser repeated comedies.

That’s My Boy is  a wonderfully pleasant comedy and one of the reasons why I think it works is because of Mollie Sugden’s immensely likable and highly amusing performance. Mollie is in good form and relies on her genius for visual expression and excellent timing. She is a wonderful actress with great screen presence and her portrayal of Ida is no exception. For most people, Sugden will always be best remembered for her role in  Are You Being Served? but it’s very easy to forget the other great roles she played with Ida being a good example with her witty one-lines and hilarious put-downs – this is a lady who has an answer for everything!

Another reason why I think That’s My Boy is fantastic is because of the rapport that Mollie Sugden has with the supporting cast and the likeable characters they play. All the characters work brilliantly together, with the supporting cast acting as a backdrop for Ida to bounce off.

I enjoyed the  warm yet amusing storylines that kept the audience laughing throughout.. I found each episode to be hilarious and enjoyable to watch.The theme tune may consist solely of the lyrics “that’s my boy, that’s my boy. Lalalalalalala…” the upbeat tune somehow suits the show well, and after hearing it just a couple of times, the tune will never leave your head. That could either be a great thing or an annoyance – for me it was a great thing.

I found That’s My Boy to be a very pleasant comedy but wondered how it would be received today. Certain quotes and the play on stereotypes would not be acceptable today as it would be considered racist or homophobic. And I did wonder if That’s My Boy could be considered light-hearted family entertainment with all of Robert and Angie’s saucy antics – but then again, I think today’s kids are exposed to a great deal more!

I do think it’s quite a shame that That’s My Boy never reached the great heights I feel it should have and has more or less disappeared. I also can’t understand why it was hardly ever repeated after it was first shown on TV. But I’m so glad that I discovered this little nugget of TV gold – definitely what I call comfort food television and I will most definitely be watching it again.

 

 

 

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Diane Charlemagne: The Voice Of A Generation

 

 

 

Back in the day I was a massive fan of urban music: rap; ragga; jungle; hip hop; swing beat; rnb… But as any kid growing up in the 1990s will tell you, one of the most popular musical genres was dance. Dance music was absolutely everywhere. You couldn’t escape it. I wouldn’t say I was a massive fan of dance but I certainly didn’t mind it and there were some pretty good tracks out at the time. I’d go as far as to say that this genre of music has had quite an impact on me as I do equate dance with growing up in the nineties. I just have to hear a song I haven’t heard in years and it brings back awesome memories of my teen years: watching Top Of The Pops with my family; listening to the UK Chart Top 40 on a Sunday afternoon; collecting the lyrics of the numerous dance songs – among others –  in Smash Hits magazine; hanging out with my friends; choreographing steps to go along with the videos on MTV; parties; secondary school; GCSEs; sixth form… until now, I had no idea that dance featured so heavily in the soundtrack to my youth.

 

Until a few hours ago, that is,  when I heard about the sad passing of singer Diane Charlemagne who was a major part of Urban Cookie Collective. The Manchester-born vocalist lost her brave battle with cancer yesterday at the age of fifty one. Diane was a big name on the dance scene and over the years, aside from working with Urban Cookie Collective, collaborated with a whole host of artists, such as Moby, D:Ream, Goldie and 52nd Street among many others. The music world is understandably deeply saddened by Diane’s death and tributes have poured in from artists including Beverley Knight, Goldie, and Moby.

 

One of Urban Cookie Collective’s most famous songs to which Diane lent her fantastically distinctive vocals, apart from Feels Like Heaven,  is the anthemic The Key The Secret from 1993. I remember this so well and have memories of my younger sister singing and dancing to this whenever it came on. Diane vocals featured on tracks at a time when many of my peers were starting to explore clubland and get a taste of growing up and independence. The Key The Secret is as popular today as it was more than twenty years ago. A real club classic.

This amazingly talented lady will live in in her music. Rest in peace, Diane.

 

 
 
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