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Publisher's Summary

Richard Beckinsale and Robert Lindsay star in this BBC radio sitcom about a single dad left holding the baby.

Bryan Archer's girlfriend has run off with the electrician, leaving him to raise their 18-month-old son, Albert, alone. Fortunately, Bryan's mum Pat is around to help out, but he still needs to get a job and earn enough money to pay the rent. Can he find an employer who'll let him bring Albert along? 

These 17 episodes follow Bryan's mishaps and adventures juggling work and childcare, as he tries out as a cosmetic salesman, takes a driving job - but gets caught up in crime - and finds employment as a temporary filing clerk, where he has a bit of bother with a missing file. On holiday with Albert in Frimlington, he finds his fellow holidaymakers aren't too welcoming, and a family Christmas turns farcical when he realises he's managed to get himself double-booked for the festivities. And there are challenges in store as he tries to get a loan to buy a house, attempts to save his sister's marriage and gets a scare when his little boy is taken into hospital for tests.... 

Created by award-winning writer Jim Eldridge, whose credits include King Street Junior and Parsley Sidings, this sitcom about a doting single dad originally starred the late Richard Beckinsale as Bryan in the pilot and original 1977 series. The second series, broadcast in 1983, saw Robert Lindsay taking his place and Pat Coombs reprising her roles as mum and baby Albert. The guest cast includes Douglas Blackwell, Dilys Laye, Gorden Kaye and Marcia Warren.

    Credits
Published by Penguin Random House Ltd
Licensed by BBC Studios Distribution Ltd
MCPS

 Production credits
Written by Jim Eldridge
Produced by John Fawcett Wilson
Incidental music: Max Harris
First broadcast BBC Radio 2, 5th January 1977 (Pilot), 5th November - 24th December 1977 (Series 1), 16th March - 4th May 1983 (Series 2)
Cast
Bryan Archer - Richard Beckinsale/Robert Lindsay
Mum/Albert - Pat Coombs
Dad - John Comer
Vernon Wordsworth - Frank Thornton
Anna Jameson - Sharon Duce
Alice - Anne Cunningham
The Magistrate/Dave/Mr Graham - Douglas Blackwell
Joe Billings/Fred - Harry Fowler
Mr Benson - John Arnatt
Sandra - Karin MacCarthy
Rex - Terence Alexander
Mrs Warburton - Jan Holden
Labour Exchange official - Milton Johns
Stephanie - Madeline Smith
Harry Ponder - John Junkin
Mr Simpson - Reginald Marsh
Linda - Joanna David
Nursery nurse - Heather Bell
Mr Wiggins - Peter Vaughan
Mavis - Cheryl Hall
Deirdre - Helen Worth
Jane - Diane Keen
Edward - Jon Laurimore
Welfare lady/Mrs Featherstone-Haugh/Mrs Hagger - Dilys Laye
Benefit official - Robin Parkinson
Uncle Eric - Michael Robbins
Mr Smith - David Ryall
Bank manager/Mr Benson - John Arnatt
Nurse - Penelope Reynolds
Police Sergeant - Robert Gillespie
Rose - Diana Berriman
Gran - Patricia Hayes
Maureen - Celia Bannerman
Store assistant - Kenneth Shanley
Mrs Willis - Diana King
Ron - Larry Martyn
Mary - Rosalind Adams
Mr Tibbies/Arnold - Roland MacLeod
Vera - Marcia Warren
Edward - Gorden Kaye
Joe - Ron Pember
Job Centre Clerk - David Graham
Vikkie - Sherrie Hewson
Mrs Weston - Frances Jeater
Amateur Photographer - John Tordoff
Terry - Derek Martin
Alison - Deidre Costello
Charlie - Peter Cleall
Andy - John Kane
Mr Charlesworth - Bernard Gallagher
Mrs Charlesworth - Lynda Baron
Sandra/Doreen - Wendy Murray
Lady Samantha - Sarah Berger
Vicar - Michael Bilton
Jenny - Brenda Blethyn
GP - Renu Setna
Nurse - Tammy Ustinov

©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

What listeners say about Albert and Me: The Complete Series 1 & 2

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  • K. J. Noyes
  • 11-01-2021

Dated but all the more fascinating for it

A lot of comedy from this era remain some of my favourite for now and ever more. This was a series I'd never heard of, but with names I knew, a writer I've also read previously and a concept that interested me, I was going to give this a go as a bit of a 'historical curiosity'.

Single dad in the 70s? Not something I knew was ever written about! Brian Archer has been left with baby Albert, now 18 months old, when his girlfriend left them for an electrician a year ago. He's now (mostly) unemployed, hopefully looking for love, short on money but still a loving dad.

I took to this more than I expected. Yes, there are many dated references, attitudes, stereotypes, some racial and sexual comments that made me wince a little, but this was actually rather funny, sometimes touching, and surprisingly informative about the era, just before I was born.

Brian is voiced by two well-known actors over the two series. He's got a roguish charm about him, a smart mouth and an 18-month old with (apparently) huge nostrils and a taste for eating furniture.

Listening to the voice cast bring to life a very different-feeling era, of housewives and the stigma of unmarried parents, union strife and the job club... wow, loved seeing what is actually a fairly contemporary-feeling situation in a very unfamiliar world.

Brian is an eternal optimist despite needing parental support, benefits and a lot of goodwill to get by. He reads his son fairy tales, takes him to work with him, is rather sweet with the ladies (even when they throw themselves at him a little on their doorsteps!). One of my favourite episodes was when he tries to keep a job selling ladies' perfumes (Dark Passion - a lot of verbal fun was had with this), with bored housewives trying it on and terrible stereotypes about men and women present themselves one after the other.

However overdone some aspects are, it did feel like the era was represented quite well, the moment captured. I quite liked seeing it through the eyes of this two-person family. The poignancy of the episodes when Albert's mum reappears (to Brian's worry that she wants to take her son), and when Albert is taken into hospital for tests, leading to guilt and worry, the humour mixed with pathos was nicely mixed together.

A great voice cast, missed Beckinsale in later episodes. The actor voicing Albert was a little annoying at times, but to make a baby vocal there was no other way really if you wanted them noticeable on a radio programme. The age of Albert was also muddied - potties, babbling, not walking, first foods - the mix of stages didn't make his age clear at all. Bit confused.

I am really glad I took a chance on this, very entertaining and rather enlightening about issues and attitudes of the era.

With thanks to Nudge Books for providing a sample Audible copy.

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