Friday, 27 September 2013

Friday 27 September 1963

Kate and George Starling are feeling smug: it's two weeks since they last rowed, and Kate's convinced they're over "the hump" that it took her parents two years of married life to negotiate.  George is taking them out for dinner to celebrate.

Their smugness is doubled when they overhear their neighbours Peter and Norah having a humungous barney (not that they're deliberately listening in, you understand).

When Norah starts calling Peter things neither Kate nor George have ever heard of, and the Starlings hear the distinctive sound of a sauce boat being chucked at someone, Kate decides it would be a good idea to defuse the situation (i.e. meddle) by inviting the pair over for a drink.  And how could they fail to forget their troubles when they're exposed to a couple as loved-up as George and Kate? And if nothing else, as Kate wisely points out, "There's never been a row yet that was worth missing somebody else's drink for."

George heads over to invite the warring pair for a drink but it's just a grumpy Peter who appears, Norah pleading a headache.  Kate goes to jolly her along, leaving George to commiserate with Peter.  "Don't worry old man," he unhelpfully ventures, "Some people just have bigger humps than others."  "We'll probably need Sherpas and oxygen to get over ours," Peter growls.

It seems the root of Peter and Norah's argument was Norah's jealousy over the new sexy-voiced phone operator where Peter works.  She's actually not much to look at, but Peter's made out she's gorgeous just to tease Norah - who's now seen him out shopping with her.  The sauce boat Norah threw at Peter scored a direct hit.  "What rotten luck!" George sympathises, "They're normally such bad shots."

Eventually Kate produces an unhappy-looking Norah, and her attempts to reconcile her with Peter aren't exactly subtle: "Oh Norah, that's my chair - I'm afraid you'll have to sit next to your husband."  After Kate and George have an elaborate smooch by way of encouragement to their guests, Kate makes some rather elaborate gestures in an attempt to get George out of the room with her.

It doesn't do much good.

The Starlings provide some background music as a way of putting their guests at ease.  Kate enthuses about how George has been buying a lot of "modern" records lately.  "He used to be such a square - now he's... what's the opposite of square?"  The crooner George puts on the Hi-Fi would scarcely have been trendy 10 years previously, but he manages to reunite Peter and Norah through their shared amusement at his atrocious dancing.

Norah and Peter agree to accompany Kate and George to dinner, and the four of them head off to Angelo's.  As Peter comments, it's not much to look at from the outside.

Here, predictably enough, it's George and Kate who start rowing, when Peter offhandedly points out he saw Kate out with another man.  It was her old boss, who George has always been jealous of (it's nice to see George jealous of Kate for a change - she's more likeable in this episode than she has been since the first episode) - it turns out Kate was actually angling for a part time job.  The evening progresses with each couple alternating their rows.  The accordionist who's fascinated by all the bickering is played by Dennis Wilson (not the one from the Beach Boys), composer of The Marriage Lines' music.

Having left the restaurant separately without eating, Kate and George are reunited at home, where it looks like dinner's going to be some Spanish rice out of a tin and a couple of braised kidneys.  Scales and Briers do a lot of snogging this week.

The episode ends with the Starlings once more listening into their neighbours' row - and this time contentedly realising it's about them.  Oh, and George hits his head.

The Good Neighbours continues The Marriage Lines' upward trend - it's a sweet little episode with Kate and George at last seeming once again to actually like each other.


  1. Who's the actor playing the male neighbour? Looks very familiar, but I can't put a name to the face.

    1. It's Richard Briers from The Good Life