Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em

Frank and BettyFrank Spencer, in his tank-top, mac and beret, was the archetypal clown in modern dress. He was just like my dad (or so mum said, anyway). Every time he tried to do some DIY, it got botched. He was rubbish socially and he couldn’t stand up for himself when other blokes tried to bully him. He went everywhere on his bike wearing cycle-clips to stop his trousers getting in the chain. Yep, he was just like my dad. And in fact, very much like me as well (except for the fighting thing).

The long-suffering Betty (Frank’s wife) was not like my mum at all. She was far too whingey for my liking and never helped him out of his scrapes, but just stood around expecting him to rescue her. I didn’t have any time for her. But I did feel a bit sorry for her and wish that she’d just get off her arse and go and join an all-woman commune where she could learn that you don’t need a man to Do It Yourself.

I think that you can look at this show politically, if you’ve a mind to, and say that it was born out of the backlash against the ‘new man’ who was just emerging. The man who is in touch with his feminine side and doesn’t have to prove himself by doing those manly things like plumbing and drinking until you get violent. The man who can change a nappy and cuddle his child without allowing the sneers and insults of the neighbouring Neanderthal to get to him. I think that in allowing people to laugh at Frank, those blokes like my dad would get laughed at as well.

There was nearly always a sexual innuendo, which would embarrass Frank and get him pulling all sorts of expressions to make the audience laugh. And any excuse for him to say ‘ooh’ and ‘I’ve got a bit of trouble.’ Then again, when he nearly drove the car over the cliff, it was quite funny. And exactly the sort of thing my dad would have done.


You can buy the First series on DVD at the BBC shop if you want to relive some of those cringeworthy moments.

 First DVD of First series of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em Second DVD of First series of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em Third DVD of First series of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room


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