She died too young
Thanks to Paramount, it is currently possible to gorge daily on classic episodes of Man About The House (1973-6) and George & Mildred (1976-9), and if one thing shines from this unashamed wallow in sitcom’s glory years, it’s Yootha Joyce. A tragic figure, which is doubtless why Morrissey immortalised her on the sleeve of Ask, she died aged just 53, in 1980, of hepatitis, linked to her ongoing battle with the booze. I don’t have any more details of her illness, so let’s not dwell on the rumours – needless to say, she was a comic genius, and her onscreen partnership with Brian Murphy (who’s still with us, and was apparently at her bedside when she died) remains one of the all-time greats. And any tribute would not be complete without a salute to Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke, who wrote every single episode of both series – and a large portion of Robin’s Nest (1977-81), which ran concurrently with G&M. Astonishing. Especially after having slaved over six episodes of a gag-based audience sitcom and nearly perished under the weight of it. To those that served: a sherry, a new hat and one of Mildred’s pursed-lipped glares.