Don't Wait Up starts as Dr. Tom Latimer splits from his wife Helen. At the same time, his father Toby, also a doctor, announces his intention to divorce his wife of 32 years, Angela. Father and son then move in together and frequently argue about politics and medical practices. Tom tries to get his parents back together, while beginning a romance with Toby's secretary Madeleine Forbes, whom he later marries.
Anyone else enjoy this series back in the 80s? I remember really liking Nigel Havers in it and I always have a special love for the pprogramme as it had a nice gentle feel to it (as there was to many sitcoms back then) which made it uniquely British. I also remember the closing credits very well and you know why? Because I am pretty sure that I would have to go to bed after it finished (must have been a school night) so the theme tune was always bitter sweet for me.
Anyway, a favourite from my childhood. Heaven knows if it is still even remotely funny but I ordered the first 2 series on DVD the other day and I look forward to reminiscing.
Remember and tell us what you think once you have watched.
So… the Don’t Wait Up DVD arrived today.
I clicked on Episode one which was actually called Episode One, no specific title.
We begin at the surgery of Dr. Tom Latimer (starring a very young Nigel Havers) who it stressing over his divorce from his ex wife Helen. Soon it becomes clear that Tom’s surgery is actually adjacent to the home of Helen (which Tom has now been kicked out of) and they are not allowed to be within a certain distance of each other causing each of them to shout at each other over the wall. Eventually Tom slams the door hurting his thumb leading to the next scene where he is relaxing in his flat with a bandaged thumb.
He then puts the TV on and hears all about how many marriages end in divorce and how Doctors all drink too much. Tom is drinking whiskey at the time so there are plenty of tinned laughter as he does double takes at the television. Then his father, Toby (played by Tony Britton) knocks on his door and to my eyes, at least from the exterior shot, it appears that Tom is living in the same street as Nurse Price in An American Werewolf in London. Once inside Toby announces that he is divorcing his wife (Tom’s Mother played by Dinah Sheridan) after 30 plus years. Cue lots of protesting from Tom (‘You can’t get divorced, I haven’t got over my own divorce yet’ and ‘I’m now a product of a broken home!’). Anyway, Toby says he wants to move in with Tom and Tom agrees thinking he can talk his mother into taking back his father. He visits his mother who is gardening when we first see her in a garden which is so large and magnificent you wonder just how rich Toby is/was. There is then a gag where the family dog attacks Tom continually because ‘It can smell your father on you’ and then the mother announces she doesn’t want the father back.
Next we see Tom telling this to his receptionist at work and then he gets a letter from a building company for work done on Helen’s house (the house which is part of the surgery, you need to remember that for the gag coming up). Angry about the letter Tom is then visited by an even angrier Toby who tells him that he has had a letter from a solicitor wanting more money off him for the divorce. And the solicitor is the same solicitor who represented Helen in the divorce with Tom. So Tom springs up and puts his hand on the door handle adjacent to his old home declaring it is pointless trying to talk to his ex wife as it is like…talking to a brick wall…And then guess what! She’s had a brick wall put up-that’s what the building work was! And he walks face first into it, collapsing in a heap and then examined by his father. Cue end titles and applause.
I enjoyed it mainly because I like Nigel Havers and he always seems like TV’s David Niven or someone like that. Tony Britton (still dying his hair at whatever age he was) plays well against Havers and it is always nice to watch Dinah Sheridan who I loved in Genevieve.
One note: It is always annoying how in the old TV sitcoms they would ring someone up (on the old rotary dials) and the second they have stopped dialling they immediately begin speaking to the person on the other end of the line. Nobody even today is connected that quickly. Always bugs me. I guess they can’t allow any pauses in the programme.