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 largely forgotten about (unless you remember it or have the DVD) particularly amongst all these Digital TV repeats of classic sitcoms, largely because of missing episodes.
The program initially ran for three series on the BBC between 1961 and 1963, totalling thirty six episodes and was even featured in a short sketch as part of Christmas Night With The Stars in 1962.
The series was resurrected by London weekend Television for ITV in 1977. Runing for two series totalling twenty two 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 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!”
Excerpt from ITV’s unseen Pilot Episode
ITV’s first screened episode
First BBC episode
1961 – 1963
1977 – 1978
Channel: BBC1 and ITV
Written By: Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney
Produced By: Dennis Main Wilson (BBC), Bryan Izzard (LWT)
6th October 1961 – 30th March 1963 BBC, 11th September 1977 – 20th 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) are missing from the archives.