For the Love of Ada

1970 | United Kingdom

Gentle comedy series of the boy-meets-girl variety with a unique twist in that the boy and girl in question were both in their seventies. 

The stars of this series were long-time British comedy favourites who were enjoying a new lease of television life. Irene Handl was already in her forties when she came into acting in the 1950s but soon cornered the market in daffy but lovable malapropism-speaking cockney roles. She immediately illustrated her flair for comedy in shows such as Educating Archie and Hancock's Half Hour and later on appeared in Maggie and Her and Never Say Die. But it was as Ada Cresswell, the widowed septuagenarian in For The Love of Ada that she enjoyed her biggest TV success. 

Similarly, Wilfred Pickles had appeared in numerous TV series after starting his career as a radio newscaster on national radio back in the 1940s, one of the first newsreaders to be heard speaking in a broad Yorkshire accent. He had also fronted the sentimental Ask Pickles in which he sat alongside his real-life wife, Mabel, and reunited members of families that had not seen each other for many years or made wishes came true - a format that was copied years later for the equally successful Surprise, Surprise and other similar shows.

For the Love of Ada
Wilfred Pickles and Irene Handle - For the Love of Ada

The premise for 'Ada' was that one day, whilst visiting the grave of her late husband, Ada meets Walter Bingley, the gravedigger who had laid her husband to rest some years before. The two begin a gentle companionship, but over a period of time love blossoms and much to the surprise of Ada's daughter, Ruth (Barbara Mitchell), and son-in-law Leslie (Jack Smethurst), the two get engaged and move in together at Walter's Cemetery Lodge abode. 

Even at their fine age the course of true love doesn't always run smoothly for Ada and Walter, but by the end of series two they are joined in matrimony, and by the fourth series they have become grandparents to baby Anthony. The series spawned a less-than successful movie (1972) and the format was picked up in the USA by ABC as A Touch of Grace, which ran for 22 episodes in 1973 and starred Shirley Booth and J Patrick O'Malley.

Published on December 13th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.