George and Mildred Roper (Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce) have left their old house after receiving a compulsory purchase order from the Council and move to 46 Peacock Crescent in Hampton Wick. While Mildred enjoys the chance to better herself in her new surroundings, she is always being thwarted—usually by the lazy and generally unemployed George, who has no interest in climbing the social ladder, and continues to show a lack of interest in sexual relations with Mildred.
George and Mildred's yuppie next-door neighbours are Jeffrey Fourmile (Norman Eshley), a snobbish estate agent, and his wife Ann (Sheila Fearn). They have a young son called Tristram (Nicholas Bond-Owen), who gets on well with Mildred and George, and in series 3 a second child called Tarquin (Simon Lloyd) is born. The Conservative-supporting Jeffrey is greatly irritated by socialist George, who frequently annoys him.
Mildred's snobbish sister Ethel (Avril Elgar) and her wealthy husband Humphrey (Reginald Marsh) occasionally visit, as does Mildred's mother (Gretchen Franklin). Mildred often makes subtle and unsubtle digs at Ethel's age, or social status and pretensions, when Ethel visits. George's friend Jerry (Roy Kinnear), a jack-of-all-trades, also visits, much to Mildred's annoyance. Jerry is fond of referring to Mildred as "Mildew".
George and Mildred contains examples of:
- The Alleged Car: George's motorcycle.
- Awful Wedded Life: George and Mildred, and also Ethel and Humphrey.
- Awkwardly Placed Bathtub: In one episode the water in the bathroom is off due to plumbing work. Rather than lug water upstairs to take a bath, George decides to bathe in an old tin bath in the living room. Mildred brings the women from her keep fit class home and George attempts to hide by ducking under the surface of the water. Hilarity Ensues.
- British Brevity: Five series, 38 episodes total. Plans for a sixth series were cut short by Yootha Joyce's death in 1980.
- Cheerful Child: Tristram. He does have a fabulous ability to blurt out awkward truths, though.
- Crooked Contractor: Jerry may not actually be crooked as such, but he is unbelievably shonky.
- D.I.Y. Disaster: Jerry somehow manages to hook the Ropers' shower up to the Fourmiles' plumbing.
- Drop-In Character: Jerry.
- Friend to All Children: Even though George is odd and irresponsible, he is rather fond of Tristram, and looks after him quite well when he babysits.
- Good Parents: Jeffrey and Ann.
- Happily Married: Jeffrey and Ann.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Jeffrey is a snob, but living next to George would be genuninely ghastly.
- Lazy Husband: George
- Malicious Misnaming: Jerry is fond of referring to Mildred as "Mildew".
- Name and Name
- Nouveau Riche: Ethel and Humphrey, due to Humphrey making a fortune from offal. Ethel loves to rub Mildred's nose in it.
- Porn Stash: In one episode, Mildred gives away a box of George's old gardening magazines to the church jumble sale. George then confesses that only the top layer was gardening magazines and that the rest were porno mags. There follows a desperate attempt to retrieve the box before The Vicar looks in it.
- Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Happens twice in the Christmas 1977 episode, "There's No Business Like Show Business".
- While helping Mildred learn her lines as ugly stepsister Griselda for the Cinderella pantomime, George reads the following out loud (in a bored monotone):"I shall marry the handsome over." (Looks confused then turns the page.) "Prince."
- On the night, Mildred is down with 'flu and her replacement, George, is injured in a car accident, so Jeffrey has to go on stage as Griselda at the last minute, holding a copy of the script.Jeffrey: [reading from the script] Sorry I'm late, I was making myself. [turns the page] Beautiful. Move stage left.
- While helping Mildred learn her lines as ugly stepsister Griselda for the Cinderella pantomime, George reads the following out loud (in a bored monotone):
- Sexless Marriage: Continuing the thread from Man About the House, George and Mildred's marriage is devoid of intimacy. Mildred occasionally tries to get George interested, but he never reciprocates.
- Slobs vs. Snobs:
- George vs Jeffrey
- George vs Ethel, which is particularly funny since she could be the page image for Nouveau Riche
- Traffic Wardens: George had a job as a traffic warden for a while.
- Unconfessed Unemployment: George quit his job as a Traffic Warden, but kept going out each day dressed in the uniform so Mildred wouldn't find out. Mildred eventually found out when George's boss called up to tell her George had not returned the uniform.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: George learns that a girl he had an affair with on VE night gave birth to a boy nine months later and naturally concludes that he's the father. After meeting the boy (now a professional plumber) he learns that he's now married with a daughter and takes the first available opportunity to go round and gets to know his wife and child and then his alleged son comes in with paperwork indicating that his father's actually his mate who was there on the same night.