As most of my good friends (and some of my clients) know I am a BIG fan of the British seventies sitcom ‘George and Mildred’ (1976-1979), starring the excellent pairing of Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy. From being a small child, I would delight in watching this programme; obviously enjoying the slapstick comedy of it, as most of the innuendo would have gone straight over my head. The one thing I do remember is Yootha’s facial expressions – her look of disdain was classic!
After watching this series for most of my life – I have got a real affection for the two actors who play the main characters and in particular Yootha. I have even done a fair amount of research about her and have an autograph or two, as well.This teddy bear illustration, was created in July 2003 for my Bear-a-thought 2004 calendar. I decided to feature this illustration on my blog this month as, unbelievably, it is the 40th anniversary of Yootha Joyce’s death this year. On a happier note, August was also her birth month, so a doubly-good reason to feature my tribute to these characters.
My friend, Jennifer A. Stephenson created the wonderful outfits that ‘George’ and ‘Mildred’ are wearing in this picture. We wanted to cover George in an almost Victorian style bathing suit, which belies his prudishness. On the other hand, Mildred, is looking much more modern and slightly garish compared to her conservative husband. I know Jennifer enjoyed dressing these two bears and we had fun working out what earrings to give Mildred (what to choose…sea anemones, giant daisies?). We also had to throw in a bit of fake leopard print fabric for Mildred, as well as put her in a yellow top, which happened to be Yootha’s favourite colour.
Eagled-eyed readers may have noticed that I have set this picture in Whitby, which is one of my very favourite haunts. I thought Blackpool was more ‘George and Mildred’, but in the end chose the Yorkshire coast. I set up these characters on a quiet part of the beach to do the initial sketches, but as usual got a crowd of interested spectators around me, wanting to have their photograph taken with the bears. Perhaps they thought that the message on the beach towel was an invitation 🙂