The Rag Trade –  BBC Years – 1961 – 1963, ITV Years 1977 – 1978

The Rag Trade was the classic sitcom that had two bites of the cherry.  Famous for the catchphrase of it’s Shop Steward “Everybody Out!” it’s one of those sitcoms and there are many that unless you remember it or have the DVD it’s largeley forgotten about amongst all these Digital TV repeats of classic sitcoms, largely because of missing episodes.

The program ran for three series on the BBC between 1961 and 1963, totalling 36 episodes.  In 1962 it was featured in a short sketch as part of Christmas Night With The Stars.  the series was written by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney of On The Buses Fame.

The series was resurrected by London weekend Television for ITV in 1977.  Runing for two series totalling 22 episodes between 1977 – 1978.  Broadcast in colour series 1 ran up 14 episodes, a christmas special followed and the 1978 series running for 7 episodes.  Most of the scripts were based on the BBC episodes from the 60’s, and featured Anna Karen (reprising her role as Olive from On The Buses) and future EastEnders star Gillian Taylforth as factory workers.


The plot centres around a small clothing workshop (the title associates with the textile industry), Fenner Fashions in London.  Although run by Harold Fenner (Peter Jones) and Reg the foreman (Reg Varney), the female workers are led by militant shop steward Paddy Fleming (Miriam Karlin), ever ready to strike, with the catchphrase “Everybody out!”



Peter Jones
Miriam Karlin
1961 – 1963
Sheila Hancock
Barbara Windsor
Reg Varney
1977 – 1978
Christopher Beeny
Anna Karen
Gillian Taylforth


Channel: BBC1 and ITV
Written By: Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney
Produced By: Dennis Main Wilson (BBC), Bryan Izzard (LWT)
Original Run:
6 October 1961 – 30 March 1963 BBC, 11 September 1977 – 20 October 1978 ITV


All two series of the ITV version still exist, only 21 of the original 23 episodes of the first two BBC series (1961-62) still exist in the BBC archives, all 13 episodes of the third (and final) BBC series (1963) and the ‘Christmas Night with the Stars’ sketch (1962) do not exist.


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