On this day in history : 3rd June 1971 – The premier in London’s West End of the longest-running comedy in history ~ “No Sex Please, We’re British”….starring Michael Crawford….
Written by Alastair Foot and Anthony Marriott and directed by Allan Davis the farcical play opened at the West End’s Strand Theatre….
The plot centred around Bank Manager Peter Hunter and his new wife, Frances, who live in a flat above the bank…. Frances sends away for some Scandinavian glass – but when it arrives it turns out to be not glass at all….but Scandinavian pornography…. A flood of photographs, books and films begins to arrive and the couple, along with the bank’s chief cashier, Brian Runnicles, desperately try to find a way to get rid of it…. Matters are complicated by Peter’s interfering mother, his boss, a bank inspector and a police superintendent….
The part of Brian Runnicles was at first played by Michael Crawford and later by David Jason…. Crawford used the character of Runnicles for his persona of Frank Spencer in “Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em”…. He was offered the part of Frank after the success of “No Sex Please, We’re British” but had not been the first choice for the hit sit-com…. the part had been offered to Ronnie Barker and then Norman Wisdom – but both had turned it down…. However, it has to be said Michael Crawford made Frank Spencer his own….
The character of Frances Hunter in “No Sex Please, We’re British” was initially played by Belinda Carroll…. The comedy ran until 1987, playing at full houses at three West End theatres:- The Strand, The Garrick and The Duchess, giving a total of 6,761 performances…. However, it did not enjoy the same level of success in America, closing after only sixteen performances on Broadway in 1973….
Also in 1973 a film version starring Ronnie Corbett as Brian was released with with changes to names, script and elements of the plot….