John Sullivan's '80s lonely-hearts sitcom 'Dear John' had a pleasingly melancholy undertow that makes it more appealing - to me, anyway - than his poll-winning national treasure, 'Only Fools And Horses'. A lot of that can be put down to the downbeat performance of Ralph Bates, previously best known for playing dashing Hammer Horror leading men, but also to a strong ensemble cast. The encounter groups were led by the fearsomely helpful Louise, played strongly by Rachel Bell as a self-help dragon spouting lurid Freudian analysis and trite '80s motivational claptrap.
|Under tough questioning in a 'Crown Court' episode from 1978|
|With Ronnie Barker in 'The Magnificent Evans'|
The latter '80s and early '90s included some situation comedies: 'Home To Roost', The Upper Hand', 'Last Of The Summer Wine'; some drama 'We'll Meet Again', 'Goodbye Cruel World', and the very odd 'Doctor Who' story 'The Happiness Patrol', before she landed another plum role, as the snooty Edith Pilchester in 'The Darling Buds Of May'.
|In 'Dr Who: The Happiness Patrol'. The weird Sylvester McCoy|
era story with the Bertie Bassett-esque alien, The Kandyman
|As Miss Pilchester in 'The Darling Buds Of May'|
|As a teacher in the post-Harry Potter reboot |
of 'The Worst Witch' for CBBC