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Class Act

ITV (ended 1995)


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Class Act

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Class Act was an excellent comedy drama series starring Joanna Lumley which aired in the mid 90s. The drama surrounded the attempts of the aristocratic Kate Swift (Lumley) to regain the fortune which her husband had swindled her out of before he was murdered. Kate begins the series in prison where she befriends Aussie, Gloria O'Grady (Nadine Garner), who returns with her to her home after she is released. Gloria acts as Kate's unpaid maid and helps with all her schemes. They are quickly joined in their escapades by journalist Jack Booker (John Bowe) who revealed his sources and as a result got Kate into prison in the first place.

Whilst Jack helps or more often hinders Kate and Gloria, he also attempts to get his job back on the newspaper run by Joe Addison (Neil MacCaul). Detective Inspector Latham (John Gaddas) always seems to be on the trio's tail, either foiling their plans or rescuing them from danger. Despite the trouble she causes, Latham has a soft spot for Kate. Kate's elderly and randy father, Horace (Richard Vernon) and a tame duck called Geraldine also make regular appearances.

The best features of the series were the will they or won't they relationship between Kate and Jack, the quick fire repartee between the main trio and of course the central character of Kate, who is at once vengeful, violent and beautiful.

The series was produced by Verity Lambert, who was the very first producer of Doctor Who. She also produced the BBC's Jonathan Creek and The Cazalets.moreless
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  • An ex rich snooty socialite, an Australian ex criminal and a gutless ex journalist, team up to solve the mystery of her missing husband, in this classic comedy drama.

    This just worked on so many levels, its a shame there was only two series made, and they have never been released on dvd over here.

    Kate Swift (Joanna Lumley at her nasty best) finds herself taking the rap for her husband Duncan Swift when he vanishes leaving her penniless and facing a prison sentence.Her only hope was if the gutless journalist Jack Booker (John Bowe) refused to name his sources, and in return face a sentence himself..No chance! Kate finds herself banged up with an Australian inmate Gloria O Grady (Nadine Garner) who befriends Kate when she tries to intimidate her but comes off worse.

    On release Gloria tags along with Kate and helps her out when the maid has decided she has squatters rights in Kate's house, Kate in return lets Gloria move in as a companion/unpaid slave.

    Meanwhile Jack has been sacked and shot, he survives and realises the connection to Kate, he goes to warn her and she punches him, Gloria finds a bomb in a biscuit tin, that she mistakes as a harmless burner she can put down the toilet "dunny!", they all wait outside for the bomb to "crack the pan a little" and as Kate is returning the whole place goes up, "So I was a little bit wrong!" Gloria remarks,as the three look at the rubble and Kate realises someone is also trying to kill her.

    Homeless they move in with "Daddy" he is also in a really fancy house but totally broke.

    Her only hope is to find out what happened to Duncan's money and it seems prostitute Beryl Chapman (Lucy Benjamin) might have the answers, also on the trail of the missing money is Inspector Latham (James Gaddas also at his best) and he is determined to get something on Kate Swift, especially as Kate and her two side kicks Gloria and Jack are now interfearing in his investigation and doing a much better job than he is.

    Kate's sarcasm and witt was hillarious, Gloria's attitude to Kate and everyone was also hilarious, she was the stroppy teenager type who took no crap from anyone and even if she did something wrong she'd never admit to it, she kind of became like Kate's daughter, Kate even reffers to her as "my little girl!" in one episode.

    The relationship between Jack and Kate was funny for other reasons, she had him on a string, she made him live in the shed and continuously tret him like dirt, but he was always there for her when she needed him, there was also the will they won't they angle there, as they both got jellous when the other had a date, but Kate would always tell him she was too good for him.

    Latham and Kate matched eachother for sarcasm, like he'd tut that she hadn't been killed and remark he should leave it a little longer next time before he comes to the rescue, Kate's response? a slap across the face usually.

    The smallest details made the show funny, like Kate's reaction when she puts a raw egg in the microwave because she's hungary, and it explodes because she has no idea how to cook it, or constantly referring to Gloria's pet duck Rennata as her dinner, and Kate's horror at realising she is too old to go undercover in a gentleman's club, so she has to send in Gloria, not to mention the fact she slaps everyone she considers has insulted her.

    If the title hadn't already been taken "Keeping Up Appearances" would have been perfect, as although she was now dirt poor Kate still handed out bouncing cheques and acted superior to everyone she met, she made Gloria answer her door, phone and be the cook and made Jack get a job to pay rent for a shed.

    Every episode they were involved in one caper or another, it was quite adventurous too, as they usually got into sticky situations while trying to solve the latest money problem or stop some criminal they didn't trust, it was a strange group of people all from different classes, that really worked well together, it was a Class Act!moreless