In Sickness And In Health – Part 1 – 1985 (Dandy Nicholls)
We’ve split this post into three (other parts to follow) as a tribute to the late Dandy Nicholls who only managed to film one series of the show.
In Sickness And In Health was the follow up to Till Death Us Do Part and reflected the changes in the times (it was a little more cautious of issues it covered, but no less funny).
The first series ended in October 1985 and was a huge ratings hit. The BBC decided to commission a Christmas Special and a second series. The special aired on Boxing Day 1985. As plans for a second series were being drawn, tragically on February 6th 1986 Dandy Nicholls died.
In Sickness And In Health the Garnetts move from their house in Wapping to a lower class one-level flat in West Ham. Else is now in a wheelchair, this reflected Dandy Nichols’ real-life ill health.
Else applies for a home help to help with the house work and assist with her care. The council sends a black, gay man named Winston. Alf is not happy gay and black of course he’s going to be prejudice. The two eventually become used to each other and Alf gives him the nickname Marrigold.
Alf and Else’s daughter Rita now lives with her husband Mike in his hometown of Liverpool and often visits her parents, although Mike does not appear (as Antony Booth had no interest in reprising his role). Alf has a new drinking friend Arthur with whom he can muse in the local pub.
Although his beloved Conservative Party have returned to power, Alf is not happy at the idea of Margaret Thatcher being Prime Minister because, according to him, “a woman’s place is in the home”. He’s also unhappy about Else needing to use a wheelchair and the fact he has to push her around everywhere and that, after a lifetime of hard work and paying contributions to the Welfare State, he has to fight the Social security system for a decent living allowance.
Across the road lives Fred Johnson, a man stubborn like Alf, whom he rarely gets along with. When angry, Johnson bumps his head on the wall. His wife is an odd woman who suffers from nerves. Much of the comedy surrounding the Johnsons is based on Mrs. Johnson’s sympathy towards Alf, often letting him walk all over them and much to the anger of Mr. Johnson.
Written By: Johnny Speight
Original Transmission Dates (Series 1): 1st September – 13th October 1985