chews the rag

The Rag Trade

The Rag Trade is a British television sitcom transmitted by the BBC between 1961 and 1963.

The scripts were written by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney, who later wrote Wild, Wild Women, which was a period variation of ''The Rag Trade'.

The actions centred around a small clothing workshop (hence the title, which associates with the textile industry), Fenner Fashions in London. Although ostensibly run by Harold Fenner (Peter Jones) and Reg the foreman (Reg Varney), the female workers are really led by militant shop steward Paddy (Miriam Karlin), ever ready to call a strike, with the catchphrase "Everybody out!"

Other major cast members in the series included Sheila Hancock (as Carole), Esma Reese Cannon (as Brother Lil), Wanda Ventham (as Shirley) and Barbara Windsor (as Judy).

The Rag Trade was later revived by ITV company LWT in 1977, with Jones and Karlin reprising their original roles. The 1977 version ran for two series and also featured Anna Karen reprising her role as Olive from On The Buses (a rare example of a sitcom crossover), and future EastEnders star Gillian Taylforth as two of the factory workers. The theme tune for the 1977 series was written and performed by Lynsey De Paul.

Episode List

Note that on original transmission many of the early episodes were not given titles so some of these have been 'retro-fitted' from original production notes and repeat screenings.

Season 1

  1. The Baby
  2. Getting Married
  3. Early Start
  4. The French Fashions
  5. The Sample
  6. Unhappy Customer
  7. Title unknown (Lost)
  8. Doctor’s Orders
  9. The Italian Designer (Lost)
  10. The Golliwogs (now re-titled Christmas Box for DVD)

Season 2

  1. Title unknown
  2. Title unknown
  3. Title unknown
  4. Title unknown
  5. Title unknown (Lost)
  6. Title unknown
  7. Stay-In Strike
  8. The Fish And Chip Shop (Lost)
  9. Safety Precaution
  10. Stainproofer
  11. Doctor
  12. Barber’s Shop
  13. Title unknown

Season 3

(All 13 episodes are believed lost)

  1. The Australian
  2. Triplets
  3. The Budgie
  4. The Baby Sitter
  5. Second Mrs. Fenner
  6. Chef’s Special
  7. The Italian Bit
  8. Baby Dolls
  9. After The Ball
  10. The Engagement Ring
  11. Crocodile Tears
  12. National Productivity Year
  13. The American Buyer

Season 4 (LWT re-launch)

  1. Stay-In Strike
  2. The Sample
  3. Fixing The Rate
  4. The Lunch Problem
  5. The Export Order
  6. The Italian Line
  7. Olive’s Baby
  8. The Wedding Dress
  9. The Sideline
  10. The Guv’nor’s Wife
  11. The New Girl
  12. The Bet
  13. The Accident
  14. The New Brother
  15. Christmas Rush

Season 5

  1. The Annual Ball
  2. The Leather Line
  3. Stress
  4. A Bad Patch
  5. Come Back Paddy
  6. Self-Defence
  7. Fenner’s Folly

DVD Release Information

The 8 surviving episodes (of 10), in the original Season 1, are available on DVD (released by DD Home Entertainment on 20/3/2006).

The 11 surviving episodes (of 13), in the original Season 2, are available on DVD (released by DD Home Entertainment on 23/10/2006). Note that 2 of these surviving episodes are not considered 'broadcast standard' and are included as 'Extras' due to the low quality of the print.

All 15 episodes, including the Christmas special, in Season 1 of the 1970s revival series by LWT, are available on DVD (released by Network DVD on 18/2/2008).

External links

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