I love vintage theatre ephemera and was delighted on recent trips to Cardiff’s New Theatre to see several examples on display in the theatre’s foyer.
Also as a fan of classic Television Comedy, one particular programme jumped out at me displayed in a glass case, the comedy-farce production Boeing-Boeing which features the actors Richard O Sullivan and Sally Thomsett stars of Thames TV’s classic 1970s sitcom, Man About The House on the cover.
A farce written by the French playwright Marc Camoletti. The English language adaptation of Boeing-Boeing was translated by Beverley Cross and first staged in London at the Apollo Theatre in 1962.
The play centres on bachelor Bernard, who has a flat in Paris and three stewardesses all engaged to him without knowing about each other. Bernard’s life gets complicated with the arrival of his friend, Robert and chaos quickly ensues when carefully laid plans are thrown into disarray and all three of Bernard’s lovers arrive!
Mansion Palys Ltd presentation of Boeing-Boeing played at Cardiff’s New Theatre from November 17 to 22 1975 and also featured two other Man About The House stars, Yootha Joyce and Doug Fisher as well as actresses Penelope Nice and Judy Matheson.
Judy Matheson starred in many memorable stage and screen productions during the 1970s including Hammer films cult classics Lust of A Vampire and Twins of Evil as well as appearances on TV Series including Crossroads, Z Cars and Blakes 7,
Judy recently recalled working on Boeing-Boeing to Andy Howells.
“There were actually two tours. The first one broke box office records at the time, (obviously due to the popularity of Man About The House) so the producers mounted a second one, which also played to full houses.
I had worked with Richard O Sullivan once before; in a short film and we also shared an agent. I did read for it and was delighted to be offered the part of the French Air hostess. I admired him tremendously as an actor and still do.
I have many happy memories of working with all the cast – they were wonderful on stage and huge fun off.
Some funny things occurred on stage, such as Richard accidentally shutting a phone in a drawer and having to improvise talking on the phone shouting at the drawer, on his knees.”
Judy also has strong memories of bringing Boeing-Boeing to Cardiff’s New Theatre and for good reason!
“Cardiff was lovely. The audience was very warm and the directors of the theatre very welcoming. We had great fun after the shows, going out to clubs – the nightlife, as I remember it, was terrific.
I was particularly thrilled to be working in Wales, as my mother was Welsh. I’m not entirely sure where my mother came from, but her father worked in the Navy. I think it was from the Tenby area, but her mother, my grandmother, spent her last years in Aberavon, as my uncle worked in the steel works in Port Talbot.”
Although Judy enjoys working in the theatre medium, her favourite remains film of which she still has a huge following through her work on Hammer Horror productions alongside stars such as Peter Cushing and Ralph Bates.
“That is what I enjoy most as an audience. And I love the collaboration aspect of film.”
Judy has made several returns to South Wales over the years. A few years after her stage stint on Boeing-Boeing Judy returned to South Wales, this time Swansea, to film an episode of the long-running BBC series, Z Cars.
“The cast stayed in a beautiful part of The Mumbles, though most of it was filmed in Swansea Docks and in The Cape Horner Pub, which I believe is now defunct. It was one of my favourite professional experiences!”
Judy recently returned to South Wales to play a cameo in North Bank Entertainment’s film, The Haunting of Margam Castle, in which she features alongside her friends Caroline Munro and Jane Merrow. The film is set for release later this year.
Thanks to Judy Matheson for sharing her memories of Boeing-Boeing. and permission to use photographs.
If you have any memories of Boeing-Boeing or photographs from the production, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please email
Further comedy-farces reviewed: