Friday, 23 August 2013

Friday 23 August 1963

It's a week since Kate and George Starling returned from their honeymoon and George is back at work, though still at the stage where he wants to call Kate in the middle of the day just to see how she is.  We learn that George works in an office (of course: it's inconceivable he could work anywhere else), but nothing about what he actually does there. Not that it matters, of course, as the reason we're shown George's worklife is just to get him out of the house and to contrast his homely newlywed lifestyle with that of his lothario workmate Miles (Edward De Souza).  Miles is aghast at George's lack of interest in going out and having fun since getting married: "it's turned you into a sort of Prince of Darkness" is his curious assessment.

"I thought so.  I can hear your chains rattling"
Miles's constant needling (especially when George turns down a pub crawl in the East End to go to the pictures with Kate instead) makes George start to wonder if he really is under the thumb after all.  Meanwhile, Kate's burning his dinner in classic sitcom wife style.

The crust of Kate's steak and kidney pie is now inedible ("It isn't a pie if it hasn't got a top on it," George grumbles, "It's a stew").  It signals the start of a fraught evening between the pair, with George beginning to wonder if, between Kate and Miles, he has any say in his life at all.

George isn't happy
George's creeping discontentment infuriates Kate, and the pair have a row which ends with Kate storming off to the cinema on her own (it could be argued that  Prunella Scales overdoes the storming a tad) and George failing to do any better with the pie.

Kate isn't happy George isn't happy

Eventually George catches up with Miles in the pub, only to learn the pub crawl's been cancelled and Miles has got a hot date (or so he claims).  George resorts to boasting about how wonderful his home life is, an endless round of delicious home cooked meals and sophisticated dinner parties (where people consume such glamorous fare as Bloody Marys and chicken in aspic).  The cheese sandwich Miles has managed to get from behind the bar seems even more unappetising in comparison.

In retaliation Miles talks of the benefits of being single and having an endless stream of available women on tap (though George points out that the pub's not exactly full of lookers).

Miles shares some of his tips for picking up women: coffee bars a good bet. The girls in them may be scruffy beatniks but at least they won't stay in to wash their hair.  Alarm bells ring for George when Miles boasts of his prowess in getting off with women in the cinema - especially wives in the midst of a row with their husbands.  Quick as a flash George is out scouring the local fleapits to make sure Kate isn't being pawed by a sweaty backseat Casanova (films playing include The Great Escape, The Lawless Breed and The Wild and the Willing).  George is unable to locate his wife, but he learns two things: firstly that Miles was right about cinemas being full of women who are gagging for it...

...and secondly that Miles himself may have been exaggerating about his success with them.

You never hear the phrase "drink on a stick" these days,do you?
George returns home to Kate, who left the film half an hour in to go back to him (after being groped by a creepy little man - this episode makes cinemagoing in the 60s seem incredibly hazardous: it's a wonder anyone ever actually saw any films).  George, of course, lies about his brilliant evening out with the boys - though Kate already knows it was cancelled.  All is sweetness and light again.  Until next time.

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