Sunday, 19 February 2012

I'm Worried About Jim
As a child the radio was always on. It was always the Light Programme which later morphed into BBC Radio 2
Part of the audio diet of the station each morning was the soap opera Mrs Dale's Dairy. This story of middle class England  centred around Dr. Jim Dale and his family.  Each episode started with Mrs. Dale - Mary - writing in her diary.  And every entry seemed to start with I'm worried about Jim.
The series started in 1948 and ran for over 5000 episodes - broadcast every weekday afternoon and repeated the next morning when we heard it. The original actress who played the part of Mrs Dale left the series in a bit of a controversy and died soon after. She was followed by Jessie Matthews who continued to the end of the series in 1969.
Mary & Jim Matthews had a son and daughter. Bob was in the motor trade and his business partner was named Hill so the firm was Hill & Dale Motors.  There was a long running story line about an invention by Bob called Sidepark. . This device was a retro-fitment to enable cars to drive sideways into a parking space. It was never destined to come to fruition for the obvious reason that unless every car was so equipped it would be unworkable. Bob was played, I remember, by Nicolas Parsons and another character - a rather bohemian guy called Jago was played by Derek Nimmo.  A couple of decades later I saw these two gentlemen together with Peter Jones and Kenneth Williams at recordings of Just a Minute at the Drill Hall in Lower Regent Street, London.
I was reminded recently of the Sidepark device  when I came across this advert from 1951.  Was this the inspiration for Bob Dale?

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