The second series of 'In Sickness & In Health' begins with the aftermath of Else's funeral. With his wife gone, Alf automatically loses half of his pension, even though he faces the same steep bills each month. The landlady, Mrs.Hollingbery ( Carmel McSharry ) hates his guts, becoming convinced that Alf wants to molest her so she locks him first out of his flat and then in his bedroom. But things eventually cool between them. When Alf's old neighbour Min ( Patricia Hayes ) turns up in the final episode, along with her senile sister Gwenneth ( Irene Handl ), war breaks out between the women.
Una Stubbs appears in almost every episode as Alf's daughter Rita. The timing of this release is especially sad as Ken Campbell, who played Alf's garrulous neighbour Fred Johnson, passed away recently. Ex-'Goodie' Graeme Garden makes a guest appearance in episode five, as a prospective Labour candidate to whom Alf gives a right ear-full.
The funniest episode ( in my opinion ) is number four, when Alf visits a supermarket for the first time in his life, and is baffled by such things as automatic doors and trolleys. He thinks nothing of helping himself to lager as he goes about shopping. At the checkout, when he has not got enough money to pay for his goods, all hell breaks loose.
In the last one, Min and Gwenneth invade Alf's flat, and force him out of his bedroom. Fantastic performances from both Hayes and Handl.
Once you have got past the melancholic first episode, this is a hilarious collection, and a strong reminder of what Britain was like in the '80's, certainly not a golden age despite what some politicians would have you believe. Often the funniest moments were when Alf and his drinking mate Arthur ( Arthur English ) were in the pub, swapping their varying views on life. Carmel McSharry had a tough job replacing Dandy Nichols as the new thorn in Alf's side, but I thought she coped rather well. I am glad they resisted the temptation to recast the role of 'Else', any one other than Nichols would have been unthinkable.
Great B.B.C. comedy. I hope that Series 3 is not far off, and it would also be nice to have the remaining 'Till Death Us Do Part' shows on D.V.D. as well.