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Guilty Pleasure: Bless This House (1972)

Bless I don't know about you, but I've got a list of films I'm drawn to like a moth to a flame - the kind of low-brow movies that would never make my top 10 list, let alone a serious film critic's top 1000. But the kind of a film that's perfect for a Sunday afternoon to see you through a hangover. These films are Guilty Pleasures - and up there with the best of them is Bless This House.

For the uninitiated, Bless This House was a British sitcom from the 1970s based around the Abbot family, with a cast headed up by Sid James (Sid Abbot), Diana Coupland (Jean Abbot) and Cinedelica favourite Sally Geeson as Sally Abbot. And like all good British sitcoms, it had a movie spin-off, with a few cast changes for the big screen. In came Robin Askwith as the son (Mike), Peter Butterworth as neighbour Trevor and new neighbours Ronald and Vera Baines (Terry Scott and June Whitfield, later to get their own Terry and June sitcom).

The plot? Well, it's pure English suburbia, mixing home-brew brandy, environmental protest, antique stalls, neighbourly disputes and a bit of romance as the two warring neighbours see their respective offspring falling for each other. Packing in about as much comedy chaos as you can throw into 87 minutes.

Politically correct? Possibly not, but there's nothing really to cause offence here. What you do get is period nostalgia, bad 70s fashions, bad puns, great comic performances, a flimsy plot with the inevitable happy ending but above all, feelgood viewing that's unlikely to put undue strain onto your tired brain.

Reasons enough to own a copy - or catch it on its numerous showings on FilmFour.


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