Meet the Groves 

3 April 2023 tbs.pm/77380

Seven people stand behind a railing

FAMILY PORTRAIT: At 7.50 tonight you are invited to make the acquaintance of ‘The Grove Family.’ From the right: Mr. Grove (Edward Evans), Mrs. Grove (Ruth Dunning), Lennie (Christopher Beeny), Grandma (Nancy Roberts), Jack (Peter Bryant – who makes his first appearance next week), Daphne (Margaret Downs) and Pat (Sheila Sweet)

 

MICHAEL PERTWEE, its creator, introduces the new television family which makes the first appearance on Friday

 

Cover of the Radio Times

From Radio Times for 4 April 1954

THE first thing I should like to establish about The Groves is that they are fictitious and that any resemblance between them and anyone by the name of Dale or Archer is purely coincidental.

The Groves were conceived, somewhat haphazardly, a few months ago in Ronnie Waldman’s office when I walked in and said, ‘Why don’t you have a family like everybody else?’ To which he replied, ‘Good idea. Go and write it.’

I hadn’t expected this and I don’t know, to this day, whether at the time he was really serious or whether long experience has taught him that this type of reply is the quickest method of removing callers from his office. Privately I think we both imagined this would be the end of just one more pleasant but impracticable idea.

Certainly the actual job of writing was a great deal more painful than making the suggestion. Characters by the dozen were created, lived briefly; and died. Only the fittest survived. Finally I came to the conclusion that I was probably still a little too young to cope entirely alone with a family of seven, including an aged grandmother. So I decided to approach someone who had borne the full burden of family life and I could think of no one who had two more difficult children to cope with than Roland Pertwee. I went to him and, together, we hammered out The Groves.

Highlights rather than the Humdrum

I am repeatedly asked if this series is ‘true to life’? My answer is that, primarily, we are setting out to entertain. Everything that happens could happen, but we shall show the highlights rather than the humdrum. If we are to entertain, and not irritate, a changing public once a week for a minimum of thirteen weeks we have to treat this as a series rather than a serial. To maintain a continuity of story over such a period would be practically impossible! I am sure most of us have experienced a sense of frustration, even with a six-week serial, when tuning in for the first time at, say, episode four we are ‘brought up to date’ with a resume which sounds something like this: ‘Mark has met Bill at Jack’s where Joan has been hiding since her fatal meeting with Rex and Jim at Barney’s. Meanwhile Neil, Jock, and Taffy have met Dick at Paddy’s to discuss what is to be done about Percy, Reg, and Oswald.’

Whatever the failings of The Groves I think I can promise would-be viewers that they can tune in to any of the episodes and, at least, understand what is going on. Each episode will have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Each will deal with a problem of its own, whether it be Grandma’s birthday, Lennie’s wholesale distribution of deadly poison or Mum’s frantic efforts to get slim.

The family have now emerged from paper into flesh and blood. We have met them. We like them and we believe in them On Friday they will introduce themselves to you. We hope you will like them, too.

 

Page 44 of the Radio Times for 4-10 April 1954. Friday's television programmes are shown.

 

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