Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Elaine Stritch & Donald Sinden in Two's Company (1975)

In this popular British television series we meet Dorothy McNab (Stritch), an American author living in London. She hires proper British butler Robert Hiller (Sinden) to run her home and thus begins an epic sparring partnership that lasts for 4 years - a long run for British television. McNab is brassy, outspoken and very American, Hiller is a traditionalist, who doesn't like Americans. They're both very competitive and are constantly trying to get the upper hand.

This series was very successful in Britain, and even had a good run on American television on the PBS stations in the 80's. It's since been somewhat forgotten, though can be found on DVD now. Above is part one of the pilot episode, uploaded to YouTube by cooperweekend.

As with many British sitcoms, this one inspired an American version. Set in New York, the situation was similar with an American author (Mimi Kennedy) hiring a British butler (Peter Cook).

Though The Two of Us (1981) wasn't as much of a success (it only lasted one season), it did have some fun moments. Above is the opening credits, uploaded to YouTube by matnally. The American series scores higher on the Obscurity Factor scale at about a 9

Obscurity factor: 2 (Known well in Britain, on DVD, available in part on YouTube)


  1. I did not realize "Two's Company" is on DVD. I will have to check it out. I believe I saw an episode back in the '80s. I loved "The Two of Us" during its original run. I was in college at the time, and it was the only show that I made a point to watch every week. (It seems like a hundred years ago doesn't it? Back in the days when if I missed it during the half hour it was on, that was it until summer reruns - if it even made it to summer reruns. Well, there were early VCRs at that time, but not in my dorm room and not attached to my tiny little television.)

  2. That's a nice memory of that show. I remember watching Two's Company pretty regularly back in the 80's on PBS - that and Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, which I thought were brilliant. I hear they're making Yes Prime Minister into a stage show in London now.

  3. That was fun. I wish I had caught it when I was a kid. The humor was better than I expected. I'm going to have to watch more. Thank you :)

  4. It's a cute one. I love Elaine Stritch.

  5. I've never seen Two's Company so I'm happy for this chance. However I never missed The Two of Us which featured a line reading I remember vividly; at one point earlyin the show Mimi Kennedy mentions in passing that the next day she is having luch with her old friend Cathy Otis. Later in the show in the midst of whatever calamity that had occured the phone rings and Peter Cook answers it and says: "I understand" and hangs up the phone and says: "Miss Otis Regreats that she is unable to lunch today, Madam." Heaven. And "Yes, Prime Minister" is currently playing in the West End the notices weren't great but the audiences have been sizable it features Simin Williams and David Haig. Thanks for posting this.

  6. I can only imagine how deadpan and dry Cook's reading of that line must have been. Rather brilliant writing...