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No, Honestly

By Donald Liebenson

Anglophiles and Britcom aficionados will welcome the video of this delightful 1974 series based on the books by Charlotte Bingham. Happily, the sparkling dialogue and engaging characters wear much better than the actors' horribly dated '70s wardrobes. John Alderton and his real-life wife, Pauline Collins, star as C.D. and Clara, the George Burns and Gracie Allen of Hampstead, right down to the "Say goodnight, Clara" that closes each episode.

This boxed set contains the first seven episodes of the series. Episode 1 sets the stage as C.D. and Clara, who have been married, Clara notes, "nearly 10 years next Thursday a week on Monday," recall how they met at "Freddie's awful party." Framed by the couple's light banter, each of these episodes flashback chronologically to their often comically confused courtship and marriage. Oddly enough, we do not see them joined in (again, Clara's words) "holy deadlock," but instead join C.D. and Clara as they embark on their honeymoon and endeavor to keep their newly married status a secret (why they keep it a secret is a bit unclear) by pretending to be a boring, frustrated long-married couple.

"Life with Clara," C.D. observes at one point, "is not a bowl of cherries, it's a dish of blouse buttons." And in less expert hands, Clara could get tiresome quickly ("I tend to get things rather muddled," she confesses early on), but Pauline Collins (perhaps best known for her signature role as Shirley Valentine) plays her with a mischievous twinkle that make her leaps of illogic endearing. She particularly shines in episode 4, in which she resists C.D.'s efforts to make her dress more fashionably than like "the remnant of a disbanded folk group."

 

Share Your Memories In Our Forums!

Check out our No, Honestly forum! Do you have a favorite episode of the show? What do you remember about the series? Do you have any questions about it or its stars? Now you can post comments and questions directly to our TV forums! Click here to see what other No, Honestly viewers have said or to post your own comments about the show!

Your Memories Shared!

In the 70's, I was a teenage and watching anything British (unlike every other teen I knew). This show in particular, I remember, and until I found this site, had no one else who shared this lovely memory...thanks! I first saw this pair on Upstairs, Downstairs and have seen them both in many other things (including the movie Shirley Valentine-no one knew who she was, but I DID!). I've been in love with the British, especially their brand of humor, I suppose, ever since I first saw and hear the Beatles (I was 9). I have been watching EastEnders since it's inception and am so upset that we are about 4 years behind the current episodes here in Philadelphia. (I recently got BBC channel, but it's so far ahead, I'm having trouble following). Anyway, just wanted to say, keep the Britcoms coming!!

--ooheadbangeroo

Note: This is just a random sample of the No, Honestly messages in our TV forums! Click here to see what others have said or to post your own comments!

 

TV TIDBITS

Aired: 1974-1975

Cast: Pauline Collins (Clara Burrell-Danby), John Alderton (Charles Danby)

Network: PBS

Genre: Sitcom

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