The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ is a British television series based on the book of the same name written by Sue Townsend. It started in 1985 and starred Gian Sammarco, as the title character Adrian Mole, Stephen Moore as Adrian’s father George Mole and Julie Walters as Adrian’s mother Pauline Mole.

It was directed by Peter Sasdy.

Cast & Characters-

  • Adrian Mole (Gian Sammarco) is the main character of the series and also serves as narrator.
  • George Mole (Stephen Moore) is Adrian’s father and married to Adrian’s mother Pauline.
  • Pauline Mole (Julie Walters) is Adrian’s mother, who leaves her husband George to live with her neighbour Mr. Lucas in Sheffield. Walters was replaced by Lulu for series two.
  • May ‘Grandma’ Mole (Beryl Reid) is George Mole’s mother and Adrian’s grandmother.

Other characters

  • Bert Baxter (Bill Fraser) is Adrian’s foul-mouthed and strongly opinionated old age pensioner friend, whom Adrian has to look after as part of a school club he is part of. Bert owns an aggressive and unpredictable German Shepherd dog named Sabre, whom Adrian strongly dislikes.
  • Queenie Baxter (Doris Hare) is Bert Baxter’s partner, who later becomes his wife.
  • Pandora Braithwaite (Lindsey Stagg) is Adrian’s girlfriend.
  • Tania Braithwaite (Louise Jameson) is Pandora’s liberal-minded mother.
  • Ivan Braithwaite (Robin Herford) is Pandora’s father.
  • Nigel Partridge (Steven Mackintosh) is Adrian’s best friend.
  • Barry Kent (Chris Gascoyne) is a bully at Adrian’s school who beats Adrian up in exchange for money, until Adrian’s grandmother puts a stop to it.
  • Mr ‘Creep’ Lucas (Paul Greenwood) is the Moles’ former neighbour with whom Pauline has an affair in series 1.
  • Doreen ‘Stick Insect’ Slater (Su Elliot) is a woman with whom Adrian’s father George has an affair while his wife is in Sheffield with Mr. Lucas.
  • Maxwell ‘House’ Slater (Anthony Watson) is Stick Insect’s badly-behaved young son from a previous relationship.
  • Dr Grey (Bill Wallis) is the family’s jobsworth local doctor, whose bedside manner is generally rude and unsympathetic.
  • Mr Reginald ‘Popeye’ Scruton (Freddie Jones) is Adrian and Pandora’s abrasive and volatile headmaster, who is a huge admirer of the then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
  • Ms Fossington-Gore (Mary Maddox) is Adrian, Pandora and Nigel’s opinionated but supportive form tutor.
  • Mrs Claricoates (Marian Diamond) is the school’s kind-hearted and long-suffering secretary.
  • Hamish Mancini (Craig Souza) is an American teenager whom Adrian befriends during his barge-holiday with his mother and ‘Creep’ Lucas.

In addition, Brenda Cowling appeared in two episodes as the formidable matron of the Alderman Cooper Sunshine Home, in which Bert and Queenie were residents before their marriage.

Episodes

  1. The Mole family’s neighbour Mr. Lucas is left by his wife, Mrs. Lucas. He and Adrian’s mother Pauline have been having an affair, and they both leave to go to Sheffield, leaving Adrian and George, his father, on their own. Adrian meets old age pensioner Bert Baxter as part of the ‘Good Samaritan’ project at his school. Bert’s filthy house and habits disgust Adrian, but they become friends. School bully Barry Kent begins ‘demanding money with menaces’ from Adrian, until Adrian’s grandmother puts a stop to it by confronting the bully. Adrian takes a trip to Sheffield to see his mother and her lover, Mr. Lucas.
  2. Struggling to come to terms with his mother’s departure, Adrian wears red socks to school, which sees him sent home by the headmaster, Mr. Scruton. His furious father complains to Mr. Scruton, and Adrian’s love interest, Pandora Braithwaite, organises a ‘red sock protest’ at the school, which brings her and Adrian together. Meanwhile, Adrian’s friend Bert Baxter is taken to hospital with breathing difficulties.
  3. Adrian wakes up unable to talk, and is diagnosed with tonsilitis. Meanwhile, an Asian family, the Singhs, move into the street which prompts some racist comments by Adrian’s father. Bert Baxter leaves hospital and moves in temporarily with Adrian and George. The street celebrates the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer with a street party. Adrian’s sweetheart Pandora goes on holiday to Tunisia, and Adrian runs up an expensive phone bill making calls to her.
  4. A school trip to the British Museum in London ends in disaster when the children go out of control and Barry Kent ends up arrested for theft. Adrian’s phone calls to Pandora in Tunisia come back to haunt him when he receives the bill, which he hides from his father.
  5. Adrian is admitted to hospital to have his tonsils removed, which brings his mother Pauline back to Leicester to see him. After spending a couple of days with George and Adrian, Pauline eventually returns to live with them. Adrian burns the phone bill in a bonfire on Bonfire Night, but he is forced to confess all when the phone is cut off. His furious parents make him pay the bill using his savings. Bert Baxter is now in an old people’s home, where he meets a woman named Queenie, to whom he becomes engaged.
  6. It’s Christmas Day in the Mole house, and Adrian annoys his parents by inviting Bert and Queenie over for the day. He receives a racing bike as a present. Having been made redundant, Adrian’s father George gets a job with Manpower Services as a canal bank supervisor. Adrian breaks Pandora’s heart by having a brief liaison with a classmate, Barbara Boyer.

The series was mainly filmed on location in the Braunstone and South Wigston areas of Leicester. The Moles’ house and street were actually filmed in Ludlow Close, Harrow and Adrian’s school scenes at ‘Neil Armstrong Comprehensive’ were all filmed at Hammersmith School in West London (now Phoenix High). Whilst being set in Leicester, which is in the East Midlands, some of the characters speak with a distinct West Midlands accent (e.g. Birmingham, Coventry, etc.).

The opening and closing theme was “Profoundly In Love With Pandora” by Ian Dury. It was released as a single in October 1985 and reached number 45 on the UK Singles Chart.

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