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Film / Carry On Loving

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Carry On Loving is a 1970 film and the 20th in the Carry On... Series. It stars Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Hattie Jacques, Terry Scott, Richard O'Callaghan, Bernard Bresslaw, Jacki Piper, and Imogen Hassall.

Loving tells the story of the Wedded Bliss Agency, a dating agency that hopes to matchmake singletons successfully, whether wrong or right. This agency is run by the constantly feuding couple Sidney Bliss (James) and Sophie Plummet (Jacques), who put on a facade to their beaming customers as a successful matchup from a coupling computer that they own, which is secretly controlled by Sophie in a back-room. Numerous customers arrive, hoping to find the person of their dreams, but through Sidney and Sophie's constant bickering over who should go with whom, they seem to end up with people they would unlikely have chemistry with.

Sophie matches shy undertaker's assistant Bertram Muffett (O'Callaghan) with corset specialist Esme Crowfoot (Sims), knowing that Sidney has been seeing her on the side, so Sidney attempts to have their date called off. Sophie's jealousy continues, so she hires James Bedsop (Hawtrey), a Private Detective, to track him and report his every move to her, while Sidney's attempts to keep Esme to himself result in Bertram accidentally meeting lovely model Sally Martin (Piper).

Meanwhile, marriage guidance counselor Percival Snooper (Williams) is sent by his boss, Robinson (Phillip Stone), to find a relationship to better understand the couples he is unable to help, leading to him becoming the secret object of Sophie's affections, while completely unaware that his housekeeper Miss Dempsey (Patsy Rowlands) has been in love with him for years.

Also, the constantly-trialed Terry Philpot (Scott) is partnered with the traditionally-raised Jenny Grubb (Hassall), who lives with her really large family before moving in with Sally and her roommate Gaye (Janet Mahoney), who is having relationship troubles of her own as her breasts are too small for her photographer boyfriend Adrian (Julian Holloway).

Sidney soon finds himself in trouble trying to balance finding partners for all the singles, staying one step ahead of Mr. Bedsop's prying eyes, courting Esme until she loves him once more, keeping Sophie happy enough to stay and run the business with him, and avoiding all-in wrestler Gripper Burke (Bresslaw), Esme's former flame who has returned from America and will stop at nothing to keep her to himself as Hilarity Ensues.

Tropes Included:

  • Accidental Misnaming: When Bertram Muffett gives his name to Sidney Bliss, Sidney mishears his surname as "Muffin" and makes jokes about finding him some crumpet to go with that. He refers to Bertram as "Mr. Muffin" several further times during the scene, and though he does acknowledge Bertram's corrections each time, he never quite seems to take them on board:
    Sidney: Yes, that's fine with Mr. Muffin.
    Bertram: "Muffett".
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Jenny is the only Grubb to find Terry's clumsiness endearing and has to hold back her laughter.
    • While Bertram is thoroughly embarrassed about picking up Sally thinking she was Esme, Sally finds it hilarious and wants to meet up with Bertram again.
  • A-Cup Angst: Sally's roommate Gaye wears fake breasts to put in her bra:
    Adrian: Look, darling, I love you, I worship you, I adore you an' you're my very favourite model, but not for this particular job.
    Gaye: Why not?
    Adrian: No bristols.
    Gaye: Huh?
    Adrian: You're flat-chested!
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Sidney and Sophie use lots to pretend to be a happy couple, such as "darling", "my dove", or "sugar puff".
    • Gripper calls Esme "Pussycat".
    • Sally calls Bertram "Bertie".
    • Miss Dempsey calls Percival "Percy" when trying to make Sophie jealous.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • Gripper mentions a previous opponent of his called Man Mountain.
    • After seeing Mr. Bedsop disguised as an Indian, Sidney calls him a "Bombay Bond".
  • All There in the Script:
    • Mr. Snooper's boss is named Robinson in cast lists.
    • Aside from Jenny, none of the Grubbs get named in the film, however cast lists reveals several of their names, such as Aunt Victoria, Uncle Ernest, Aunt Beatrice and Wilberforce.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Mr. Bedsop is definitely this, although he seems to be a proper one, which might play up to Charles Hawtrey's common common character type.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: A Deleted Scene had Sidney pass an elderly woman's window during his escape from Esme's flat. The woman only decides to scream when Sidney says he isn't coming in:
    Sidney: Don't scream!
    Woman: I wasn't going to. Are you coming in?
    Sidney: No thanks!
    Woman: Oh, I might as well then.
  • Auto Erotica:
    • The lovers openly make out on the bus, much to Bertram's amazement.
    • Terry later catches the lovers making out in a parked car on his way to Jenny's house.
  • Awful Wedded Life:
    • Mr. and Mrs. Dreery (two clients of Mr. Snooper's) can't stand each other and are stuck in a Sexless Marriage:
      Mr. Dreery: I didn't come 'ere for a laugh, you know, mate. I could stay 'ome an' look at 'er for that.
    • The ending caption reveals that all the couples who got together throughout the film eventually married and will fight constantly for the rest of their lives.
  • Baguette Beatdown: During the Foodfight!, Sophie attacks Gripper with a large baguette to try and get him to let go of Sidney.
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Miss Dempsey flirts outrageously with Mr. Snooper to try and win his affections instead of Sophie:
    Miss Dempsey: Always buys me a little present afterwards, eh, after I've done something especially nice for 'im.
    Mr. Snooper: Miss Dempsey, please!
    Miss Dempsey: Well, I better go before I say something I shouldn't.
  • Bedroom Adultery Scene: Sidney (who is dating Sophie) tries to get Esme (who is engaged to Gripper) to have it off with him in her flat after pretending to have been driven to a Bungled Suicide over her, only for Gripper to return from America unexpectedly. Luckily, Sidney makes it out safely via the fire escape.
  • Blowing a Raspberry: Sidney does so to a photo of Sophie after calling Esme to plot how to ruin her date with Mr. Snooper.
  • The Bluebeard: A customer turns up at Sidney and Sophie's calling only referred to as "Dr. Crippen" and says his wives have a strange habit of dying shortly after marrying him. The first ate poisoned mushrooms, the second died of a fractured skull (as "Dr. Crippen" explains, "She wouldn't eat the mushrooms"):
    Sidney: Are your wives dead?
    "Dr. Crippen": That's right.
    Sidney: I see.
    "Dr. Crippen": The first wife died from eating mushrooms.
    Sidney: Ooh, I'm sorry to 'ear that.
    "Dr. Crippen": So was she. (Beat) The second wife died from a fractured skull.
    Sidney: A fractured skull? How did that happen?
    "Dr. Crippen": Wouldn't eat the mushrooms.
    Sidney: "Wouldn't eat the mu-". Thank you, "Dr. Crippen". Don't call us, we'll call you.
  • Brownface: Mr. Bedsop follows Sidney disguised as an Indian, complete with turban. When caught, he tries speaking in You No Take Candle.
  • Bungled Suicide:
    • Sidney lies to Esme that he tried to drown himself in the canal but forgot he could swim.
    • Adrian tries to shoot himself in the head, but Bertram forces the gun away at the last moment.
  • Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage: Sidney and Sophie run a matrimonial agency that matches up people that either hate each other or have no chemistry whatsoever.
  • Butt-Monkey: Bertram, who seems to be the only character that gets seriously injured.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: The reason why the Adrian the modelling photographer hires Jenny, taking note of her "watermelons":
    Adrian: Oh darling, let me rest my mince pies. Phwoar, they are... great! Knockout!
  • The Cameo: An uncredited Peter Butterworth plays the murderous "Dr. Crippen".
  • Camping a Crapper: Sidney hides out in a toilet cubical to avoid Mr. Bedsop.
  • Catfight: During the Foodfight!, Esme and Sally target each other and pull the others' hair after Bertram (Sally's boyfriend) laughs at Gripper (Esme's fiancĂ©).
  • Chastity Couple: Mr. Snooper intends to marry but says that his wife-to-be wouldn't need to share a bed with him because his house is big enough for her to have her own room.
  • The Clan: The Grubb family, a large family full of stoic oldies. The only exception is young and lovely Jenny.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Miss Dempsey becomes one after discovering Sophie intends to marry Mr. Snooper and decides to break them up by any means necessary:
    Miss Dempsey: Throw me aside like an old, worn-out slipper? After all the years I've slaved for him? Well, if I can't 'ave it, nobody is if I can prevent it.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Esme pulls Mr. Snooper's trousers down accidentally when she's trying to embrace him, just as Sophie walks into the room to get a glimpse of his orange underwear.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • When Mr. Dreery tells Mr. Snooper that he and his wife never have relations or intercourse, Mr. Snooper thinks he's talking about inviting family over and having conversations.
    • When Sophie asks Mr. Snooper if he wants to have a child, Mr. Snooper thinks she's talking about what woman she'll set him up with and tells her he'd prefer one fully grown.
  • Computer Equals Tapedrive: The Wedded Bliss Agency features a matchmaking computer that involves lots of flashing lights and spinning reels of tape, all of which looks quite high gloss for 1970. However, it's all purely decorative - the "computer" is Sophie, who hides in the room behind the computer and simply picks matches at random from the names they have on file.
  • Confirmed Bachelor: Mr. Snooper is one, having no time in his life for a wife. He eventually ends up with his housekeeper, Miss Dempsey, much to her delight and his annoyance.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Mr. Snooper wears one on his first trip to the Wedded Bliss Agency to hide the fact that he needs a wife.
  • Cool Old Lady: Grandma Grubb, the only one of Jenny's relatives who doesn't hate Terry on sight:
    Grandma Grubb: I like him!
  • Country Matters: Gripper's last name is "Burke", a play on the word "berk" which means "cunt" in Cockney Rhyming Slang. It fits him too, seeing how violent and angry he is.
  • Covers Always Lie: The film's poster depicts Sidney and Sophie as cherubs, flying over a bed with pairs of couples in it - Terry and Jenny, Mr. Snooper and Esme, and Mr. Bedsop and Sally. However, while Terry and Jenny are one of the film's main couples, and Esme is asked to seduce Mr. Snooper to ruin his date with Sophie late in the film, at no point does anything romantic happen between Mr. Bedsop and Sally. In fact, the pair don't interact once throughout the entire film!
  • Crazy Jealous Guy:
    • Sidney is furious when Sophie gives Bertram the card of Esme, because he wants her to himself.
    • Pro-wrestler Gripper Burke is this towards Esme. When Bertram shows up for a date, Gripper immediately goes to kill him.
  • Creature of Habit: Mr. Snooper gives Sophie a speech about how he has to do his various leisure activities once a week.
  • Creepy Family: The Grubb family, for definite. Terry is immediately put in an awkward place when he enters with all of the family sitting in silence, staring at his seat, and eventually, him.
  • Creepy Monotone: "Dr. Crippen", who is also very emotionless for a man that seems to be unlucky in love with loads of dead wives.
  • Cue Card Pause: Sidney does so when reading Mr. Snooper's details off his card:
    Sidney: "Hobbies: Reading, walking, playing bridge, and poking..." (Beat) "...around antique shops".
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Gripper's fight with Bertram, who he thinks is Esme is cheating on him with; Gripper throws him around the room and he ends up in hopsital with a broken hand and bandaged head.
    • Gripper's fight with Miss Dempsey, who's protecting Mr. Snooper; she throws him into a coffee table and then out of the window.
  • Curse Cut Short: Sophie calls Mr. Bedsop on the phone and asks him to track Sidney, so Mr. Bedsop asks her to describe him:
    Mr. Bedsop: "Rotten. Cheating. Lying bas-"... no! No, Mrs. Bliss, a physical description, if you please.
  • Dating Service Disaster: The movie in a nutshell. The "sophisticated computer" Sidney and Sophie use to match their clients is purely decorative; Sophie herself chooses the matches seemingly at random, and the couples are almost invariably complete mismatches (The only happy couple in the film are Bertram and Sally, and even then they met by accident). In the final scene, the many ill-matched couples who used Sidney and Sophie's services are gathered in one room, giving each other (and Sidney and Sophie, themselves) death glares.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Sidney has a scene's worth of this when taking down Bertram's personal details to feed into the "computer":
      Sidney: And what are you interested in?
      Bertram: (Nervous laughter) Same as most chaps like to do, I suppose.
      Sidney: And that is...?
      Bertram: Well, I don't know, I've never done it yet.
      Sidney: You should try it, it's lovely. Er, mm-hm, ah you see wh-what I'm trying to do is find out what you like to do so that I can fix you up with a girl who likes it too.
      Bertram: Oh, yes, I would like a girl who likes it too.
      Sidney: Yes, it is handy. Er, hobbies?
      Bertram: Oh. Well, my main one is making model aeroplanes.
      Sidney: Model aeroplanes?
      Bertram: Yes, out of milk bottle tops.
      Sidney: Milk bottle tops?
      Bertram: Yes, they're not flying models, of course.
      Sidney: No? You surprise me. Any other hobbies?
      Bertram: I rather like collecting book matches. You know, all the different packets.
      Sidney: Ahh, well I don't think we'll have much trouble finding you a girl who likes making model aeroplanes out of milk bottle tops and... collecting the odd packet.
    • Terry, such as when encouraged to continue making out with Jenny as if they hadn't been interrupted by Bertram:
      Terry: Chance would be a fine thing.
  • Death Glare: All the unhappy couples give each other these as they attend Sidney and Sophie's wedding.
  • Dirty Coward: When Terry comes demanding a refund, Sidney tries to set up a date with Esme, knowing full well that Gripper might kill him.
  • Dirty Old Man: Sidney, who "vets" some of the female clients. When Terry tells him that one of his dates is pregnant, Sidney immediately checks the date he had sex with her:
    Sophie: "Vet"? Is that the new word for it?!
  • The Door Slams You: When Adrian tries to follow her into her room, Gaye slams the door into him.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Sophie frequently chases Sidney around their office while beating him with whatever comes to hand:
    Sophie: I'll fix you, Sidney Bliss!
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Sidney lies to Esme he tried to drown himself after she rejected him to gain her sympathy.
    • Adrian tries to shoot himself after Gaye won't forgive him.
  • Either/Or Title: Carry On Loving or It's Not What You Feel, It's the Way That You Feel it or Two's Company but Three's Quite Good Fun Too or Love is a Four Letter Word or It's Just One Thing on Top of Another.
  • Establishing Character Moment: We first see Bertram when he is awestruck by the lovers making out on the bus, which lets us know he is inexperienced with love but isn't put off by it.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Sidney may have no problem setting up people that have no chemistry and hate each other, but when the murderous "Dr. Crippen" tries to register with the agency, Sidney rips up his card in front of him to save any of his clients from a mushroom-related death.
  • Fake Relationship: Sidney and Sophie pretend to be a married couple in order to make them seem more qualified as matchmakers, although Sophie would rather be married for real.
  • Fake Shemp: Most of the time you can see Bertram during the Foodfight!, he is played by a body double, due to Richard O'Callaghan being unavailable for the shooting of the scene.
  • Fauxreigner: Mr. Bedsop wears a turban and Brownface to disguise himself as an Indian and follow Sidney around.
  • Fictional Document:
    • The Wit To Woo, the book Sidney wrote on love.
    • In the hospital, Bertram reads The Art of Self Defense.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Sidney hopes to invoke this with Esme by drenching himself in water to convince her that he was Driven to Suicide by throwing himself in the canal when she began to ignore him:
    Esme: Canal? What canal?
    Sidney: What does it matter "What canal"?! They've all got water, haven't they?
  • Follow That Car: Sidney flags a cab and tells it to go to Rogerham Mansions. When it takes off without him, he flags down another cab and tells it to "follow that cab", and this cab also drives off without him, leaving him incredibly annoyed.
  • Foodfight!: The couples attend Sidney and Sophie's wedding together, despite loathing the partner they've ended up with, and their grudges are taken out through this way.
  • Food Slap: At the wedding, Sophie finally has enough of Sidney's cheating and gives him a cake to the face. Then Esme takes out Gripper with a champagne bottle and hits Bertram with a cake of her own and it all escalates from there.
  • Freudian Slip: Sidney has an amusing one when trying to hail a taxi after leering at some girls in miniskirts:
    Sidney: Jacksie! (Beat) Taxi!
  • Funny Background Event: When Bertram starts talking about his model aeroplanes to Sally, Jenny, and Terry can be spotted sharing a look and rolling their eyes.
  • Get Out!: Mr. Snooper kicks Mr. and Mrs. Dreery out of his office after Mr. Dreery starts shouting at him.
  • The Ghost: After meeting Jenny, Sidney sets up Terry with a woman named Miss Adams. We never see Miss Adams, but she's apparently five months pregnant when Terry meets her.
  • Gift-Giving Gaffe: Mrs. Dreery once got her husband a fireside chair. The only problem according to Mr. Dreery was that it was so small that he couldn't get half his arse on it.
  • Gonk: Sophie compares Sidney's face to "an ancient and dissipated walnut".
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Sidney and Sophie's feuding has led to Sidney secretly trying to compete with her, despite loathing every moment they share. When Sophie is told by Mr. Bedsop that Sidney set up the Mr. Snooper date sabotage, she goes back to apologise to him, but Sidney quickly grabs her and claims that he wants to marry her. That way, she can never beat him in finding love.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm:
    • Once Sophie finds out what Sidney has been up to, she takes the bottle of champagne he gives her and smashes it over his head. Amazingly, he doesn't get a concussion or a similar injury.
    • When a snarling Gripper tells Esme he'll deal with her later, Esme cracks him over the head with a bottle and sends him to the ground.
  • Gun Struggle: When Adrian tries to kill himself after his fight with Gaye, Bertram tries to wrestle the gun out of his hands and save his life. As they struggle, the gun fires at several places around the room until it shoots down a ceiling light which hits Bertram on the head and knocks him unconscious.
  • Handsome Lech: Adrian the sleazy photographer. Despite dating Gaye, he still flirts with Jenny and knocks about with other models.
  • Happy Marriage Charade: Sidney and Sophie might as well be the poster children for this trope. They're supposedly boyfriend and girlfriend but they really loathe each other to the core, to the point of throwing objects at each other when they argue.
  • Home-Early Surprise: When Sidney is trying to reignite Esme's feelings for him in her flat, he is interrupted by the return of Esme's former flame who had been in America, Gripper, a violent, jealous all-in wrestler, causing Sidney to have to escape down the fire escape.
  • Hooked Up Afterwards: The end caption mentions that all the couples (Esme and Gripper, Bertram and Sally, Terry and Jenny, Mr. Snooper and Miss Dempsey, and Gaye and Adrian) got married and fought happily ever after.
  • Inconsistent Spelling:
    • There is much debate as to whether Richard O'Callaghan's character is called "Bertram" or Bertrum". The DVD subtitles call him Bertram with an "a". Also, while his surname is often spelt "Muffet", the script gives it as "Muffett".
    • In addition, there is also the issue of whether the surnames of Hattie Jacques and Terry Scott's characters' names end with a double "t" or not. The DVD subtitles use "Plummet" and "Philpot".
    • Also, if Janet Mahoney's character's name ends with an "e" or not. The DVD subtitles call her "Gaye".
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Bertram likes to make model aeroplanes out of milk bottle tops and collect book match packets.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Sally states that she's been a lingerie model for so long, that she is used to being in a room with a man in her underwear. Through a large misunderstanding, she finds out this way that Bertram, who has just turned up at her house, isn't the modeling photographer she's expecting.
  • Innocent Innuendo: As Jenny serves Terry tea:
    Mrs. Grubb: Jenny has led a very sheltered life and has had little or no experience of men.
    Terry: Really?
    Jenny: I have done it.
    Terry: Pardon?
    Jenny: Put it in.
    Terry: Oh...
    Jenny: The sugar.
    Terry: Ah!
  • Interrupted Intimacy:
    • When Sidney is trying to get close to Esme in her flat, Gripper returns from America and Sidney has to escape out the fire escape, unless he wants to be killed in a jealous rage.
    • Most infamously, between Terry and Jenny, who are trying to be intimate in the living room but are interrupted over and over. First Sally walks in looking for her blue sweater, then pops out again to tell them she found it, then Gaye comes out of her room to rant about Adrian, then Adrian himself comes over and starts banging on Gaye's door, then Bertram arrives to pick up Sally and makes awkward small talk, then finally Adrian storms out of Gaye's room with a gun and tries to kill himself:
      Terry: Go on! Shoot the lot then maybe we'll get some peace!
    • The lovers making out during the Food Fight finale are briefly interrupted by the girl getting a cream cake to the face, but they soon carry on as if nothing had happened.
  • Irony: Mr. Snooper, a marriage guidance counselor, isn't married:
    Robinson: I should never've employed a bachelor to give advice to married couples.
  • It's for a Book: Mr. Snooper works as a marriage counselor, but is not married, so he hopes to find a wife so he can get his clients' experiences.
  • Kindly Housekeeper: Mr. Snooper's housekeeper, Miss Dempsey, who secretly has feelings for him and will do anything to keep him.
  • The Klutz: Terry smashes saucers and trips over everything when meeting Jenny and her family, although it's justified due to Twerp Sweating:
    Mrs. Grubb: Would you mind resuming your seat before you wreck the entire house?
  • Letting Her Hair Down: After moving out of her family home, Jenny lets her hair go free, much to Terry's delight.
  • Lohengrin and Mendelssohn: The film's theme is a jazzy rendition of "Mendelssohn". An energetic reprise plays over the Food Fight finale.
  • Low Clearance: Gripper knocks his head on a low-hanging light when he rushes out to get Esme from Mr. Snooper's house.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Throughout the film the lovers can be spotted making out on a bus, in a parked car, in a toilet cubical, in an elevator, in a phone box and under a table.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: The matchmaking computer is all a facade and only gives out the "perfect matches" from Sophie standing on the other side of the wall and sticking through a random card.
  • Male Gaze: When Terry watches an underwear-clad Sally looking for her blue sweater, the film gives the audience several close-ups of Jacki Piper's rear.
  • Marriage of Convenience: Mr. Snooper is a marriage counselor but has never actually been married, being a Confirmed Bachelor. Being told he needs some hands-on experience, he goes to Sidney and Sophie's, where he catches her eye. After some misunderstandings, he ends up with his housekeeper Miss Dempsey, who's had feelings for him for years, and looks miserable at the prospect of marrying her.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Esme Crowfoot is named after the French word meaning "to love", perfect for a film called Carry On Loving.
    • Gripper Burke the wrestler, because he's got a tight grip and won't let you go, and he's a massive berk.
    • Mr. and Mrs. Dreery, a rather dour couple seeing Mr. Snooper for marriage guidance.
  • Mistaken Identity: When they first meet, Bertram mistakes Sally for his date as prescribed by Sidney and Sophie's dating agency; Sally mistakes Bertram for the photographer who is due to shoot her latest modelling job. When the misunderstandings are cleared up, they find they actually get on very well with each other.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Newspaper-Thin Disguise: Mr. Bedsop hides behind a newspaper with two eye-holes cut out when waiting for Sidney to arrive at the Parkview Hotel Cocktail Bar.
  • Nice Guy: Bertram is always kind and polite to everyone, even after getting put in hospital by Gripper.
  • No Full Name Given:
    • We don't get to know Adrian, Gaye, Henry or Emily's last names.
    • The same can be said for Miss Dempsey, Mrs. Grubb, Mr. Dreery and Mrs. Dreery's first names.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Something happened between Sidney and Esme the night before the film started that made her refuse to speak to him.
    • Sophie and Mr. Bedsop mention they met at a wedding, although all we find out about said wedding is that Mr. Bedsop guarded the presents and the bride went missing and still hasn't been found.
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • Gripper meets up with Esme to court her in her apartment just as Sidney sneaks out of the bedroom window. When Gripper spots Sidney's clothes, he becomes angry and threatens to kill any man who might want to become friendly with Esme. Then the doorbell rings and the oblivious Bertram walks in to meet up with her, making Gripper wrestle him and throw him across the room.
    • The angry Miss Dempsey trying to scare Sophie away with false claims of a physical relationship with her master, and Mr. Snooper's obvious looks of confusion.
    • Esme (tasked with putting Sophie off the idea of marrying Mr. Snooper) tries to launch herself onto him and manages to pull his trousers down as he tries to escape, just as the already-annoyed Sophie wanders through the door.
  • Oblivious to Love: Mr. Snooper never noticed Miss Dempsey's ready-to-please behaviour as a sign that she is interested in him, even though she's lived under his roof for years.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: When Miss Dempsey picks up Gripper and throws him out the window, it is obvious that Patsy Rowlands isn't holding Bernard Bresslaw, but rather a stuffed dummy dressed in his clothes.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Sally and Bertram's first meeting is full of this trope. Sally talks about all the situations that photographers have wanted her to pose in (such as in the bathroom or lying across the floor), and Bertram just assumes that she's either flirting or Really Gets Around.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Sophie's first name is Sophia, but only Mr. Snooper calls her so.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Sally visits Bertram in hospital to apologize for the misunderstanding during their first meeting. While they talk about what happened and laugh about how silly the event had been, Bertram's bed neighbour overhears them talking about Sally stripping to her underwear and lying around the room, and asks Bertram whether the story is true after she leaves - especially the part when Bertram ran out in embarrassment. When Bertram confirms that the story's true, the bed neighbour glares at him in worry and mumbles to himself:
    Man in Hospital: Blimey, and you say there's nothing wrong with ya...
  • Pain to the Ass: During his visit to the Grubb household, Terry accidentally sits down on a sharp knitting needle.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: When Mr. Bedsop follows Sidney, he changes his hat to a beret and sticks a large fake beard on. The confused policeman and Sidney are not fooled and Mr. Bedsop is taken away for suspicious behaviour.
  • Pie in the Face: In the climactic Foodfight!, the two lovers stop kissing long enough for the girl to look up and see what's going on, and she gets a cream pie in the face. She doesn't even wipe it off and goes back to making out again.
  • Plot Hole:
    • The lovers can seen making out in the toilet cubical next to Sidney, however despite Sidney leaving before them the lovers somehow make it to Rogerham Mansions before he does.
    • How is the Wedded Bliss Agency able to tell Sally what hospital Bertram's in? It's possible Sidney may have stuck around to see Bertram go in the ambulance after Gripper's attack, but judging by how he left himself it's unlikely.
  • Porn Stache: Adrian has one, perfectly befitting his sleazy nature.
  • Potty Failure: Esme asks Sidney if his trousers are wet after being in the canal, but Sidney misinterprets her to think she meant he had wet himself:
    Esme: Have you wet your trousers?
    Sidney: Eh? Oh, oh yes. Well, I mean, I wen' in feet-first, didn't I?
  • Private Detective: Sophie hires one, James Bedsop, to try and keep an eye on Sidney and make sure he stays away from Esme.
  • Pun: After Mr. Dreery tells him he can't fit his arse on a chair his wife bought him, Mr. Snooper makes a joke about turning the other cheek.
  • Pun-Based Title: Sidney's book, The Wit To Woo, is a play on "too-wit too-woo", the onomatopoeia of an owl's call.
  • Punny Names:
    • Much Snogging on-the-Green, "snogging" being British slang for making out.
    • Rogerham Mansions, on Dunham Road, a play on "rogering" and "done 'em", slang for intercourse. Lampshaded when Sidney tries to get a taxi there:
      Taxi Driver: Watch it! Don't use language like that to me mate.
  • Running Gag: Throughout the film a two lovers pop up in different locations openly making out. They do so on a bus, in a parked car, in a toilet cubical, in an elevator, in a phone box and under a table.
  • Seemingly-Wholesome '50s Girl: Jenny. After she moves out of her family's house, she throws away her Puritan outfits and wears short dresses that shows everything off. Terry can't believe his eyes when he sees her.
  • Sexless Marriage: Mrs. Dreery refuses to have sex with her husband because he's heavier than her, which is causing their marriage to break down.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely:
    • Unable to take being subordinate under the dictatorship of her family any longer, Jenny moves out of her house and becomes a model. When Terry demands for a refund at Sidney's office a couple of weeks later from another client he's been out with off-screen, Jenny walks in for a refund too, immediately making Terry forget what he came in for and ask her out.
    • The dowdy Miss Dempsey dons a purple dress and restyles her hair to try and win Mr. Snooper back from Sophie.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Signs of Disrepair: The sign outside the Citizen's Advice Bureau, before a new "A" and "D" are added to it:
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Although being the boyfriend of Sidney, Sophie is suspicious of his antics with female clients and shows no interest in him. When the shy Mr. Snooper shows up, claiming that he isn't used to dating and commitments, Sophie is immediately sold.
  • Skewed Priorities: When Sidney lies to Esme about trying to drown himself in a canal, she tells him that canal waters are filthy. Sidney himself lampshades this.
  • Sleeping Single: Mr. Snooper tells Sophie on their "date" that there's no need to be sleeping together because his mansion has enough room for them to be anywhere they want to when they're married, slightly annoying Sophie.
  • Speak in Unison: Sally annoys Terry and Jenny on purpose by interrupting their making out to ask if they want her to close the door so they both yell at her:
    Terry/Jenny: YES!
  • Speed Sex: When Sophie is accusing Sidney of cheating on her with Esme:
    Sophie: Don't lie to me, Sidney Bliss. You were with that woman, Esme Crowfoot, all evening!
    Sidney: I keep telling you, I only popped in for a bit! 'Alf an hour, that's all. That's not long.
    Sophie: That's long enough for you.
    Sidney: What're you been doin' all these years? 'Oldin' a stopwatch?
  • Spit Take: Terry sprays out a cup of tea after Mrs. Grubb asks him his financial status.
  • Spoonerism: Terry asks Jenny what kind of a cat name is "Cooking Fat", to which Jenny tells him it isn't actually Cooking Fat, but something that sounds similar.note 
  • The Stoic:
    • The sinister client known only as "Dr. Crippen", which adds to the creepiness behind him as he tells Sidney how his wives died.
    • Aside from Jenny, the Grubbs are a family of stoics. When Terry meets them they're all sitting in a room staring at each other.
  • Suddenly Shouting: The Dreery's marriage counseling session with Mr. Snooper devolves into Mr. Dreery and Mr. Snooper yelling and ranting at each other.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Richard O'Callaghan was cast with the intention of being a long-term replacement for Jim Dale. However, he only appeared in one further production before leaving the series.
  • Tagline: "Doing their bit for laughter!".
  • Tap on the Head:
    • When a light in Sally, Gaye and Jenny's apartment is shot loose by Adrian, it comes falling to the floor and hits Bertram on the head, knocking him unconscious. However, Bertram seems to suffer no ill effects from this.
    • During the Foodfight! finale, Esme knocks Gripper out by smashing a champagne bottle on his head, although he recovers quick enough to shove Bertram through a table and try to rip Sidney apart.
  • Tempting Fate: During the Foodfight!, Adrian doesn't throw any cakes, but rather gleefully takes photos of the chaos. Too bad a poor choice of words leads to him getting a cake to the face:
    Adrian: Keep 'em comin'!
  • Third-Act Misunderstanding: Sort of happens in a way, but is mostly invoked by Sidney. Learning that Sophie's going to meet up with Mr. Snooper, he makes Esme show up at the house and pretend to be a horny woman that Mr. Snooper had a fling with, while he phones Esme's fiancĂ© Gripper to attack Mr. Snooper for "stealing his woman", which he does, before being attacked by Miss Dempsey and thrown out of the building. It works like a charm, and Sophie storms out of the house in a huff.
  • Time Skip: After Gripper attacks Bertram, the film skips ahead by one week.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Henry and Emily, a couple who Mr. Snooper advises to get a pair of steps to help their marriage:
    Emily: Well, Henry... you heard Mr. Snooper's advice. D'you think we should try it?
    Henry: If you want to Emily, but... personally, I don't think a pair of steps is goin' to be the answer.
  • Title Theme Drop: A dramatic version of the film's theme plays during the Foodfight! in the climax.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: The film opens on Terry saying goodbye to a friend as he departs on a train, and letting him know his wife makes terrific love.
  • Troll: Sally is quite mischievous when she wants to be, both making fun of Gaye's A-Cup Angst and interrupting Terry and Jenny's make-out session purely for her own enjoyment.
  • Twerp Sweating: Terry, around Jenny's stoic family. On his way out he trips over a trolley of cakes which makes a terrible mess.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Mr. and Mrs. Dreery, the fat man in the flat cap that yells at Mr. Snooper and his long-legged younger-looking wife.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: On his way to Esme's apartment, Sidney has to share the elevator with the lovers who don't stop making out the whole ride.
  • Undercrank: Played for Laughs in Gripper's two fight scenes:
    • When Gripper swings Bertram around Esme's apartment.
    • When Miss Dempsey swings Gripper over her head and tosses him out the window.
  • Verbal Backspace: Terry after he makes a comment that he's glad Jenny doesn't look like her mother:
    Terry: I'm supposed to meet a Miss Jenny Grubb. You wouldn't be...?
    Mrs. Grubb: Jenny is my daughter.
    Terry: Oh thank goodness, er hmm, thank goodness I've come to the right place!
  • Wedding Finale: The climax takes place at Sidney and Sophie's wedding.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • We don't find out what happened to the photographer Sally was supposed to meet when she met Bertram.
    • After staking out and spying on Sidney for days, Sophie's hired Private Detective James Bedsop disappears out of the movie. He doesn't show up for the wedding of Sophie and Sidney, although considering what Mr. Bedsop had been doing for most of the film, his absence is understandable.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Sidney shows up at Esme's door dripping wet lying about trying to drown himself so she'll invite him in and forgive him.
  • "You!" Exclamation:
    • When Bertram sees Sally has come to visit him in the hospital, his first reaction is "Gosh, you?".
    • When Sophie catches Esme after she's pulled down Mr. Snooper's trousers, she reacts in horror bellowing "You?! Esme Crowfoot?!".
  • You No Take Candle: Mr. Bedsop talks like this when disguised as an Indian:
    Mr. Bedsop: Excuse, gentle Saab. Me no spoking very good the English.


Video Example(s):


Miss Dempsey's New Look

When Sophie Plummet tries to win the heart of Percival Snooper, Miss Dempsey, his devoted housekeeper with a crush, reinvents herself to keep Snooper all to herself.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SheCleansUpNicely

Media sources: