Take a Letter, Mr. Jones was a short-lived British sitcom from Southern Television starring John Inman and Rula Lenska which aired in 1981.


 [hide*1 Plot


It starred John Inman as Graham Jones, able secretary to executive Joan Warner (Rula Lenska). Episodes primarily focused on the office and home of Mrs. Warner, a divorced woman in her 30's trying to balance her career and family in (still-sexist) 1980s England; Margaret Thatcher may have been in 10 Downing Street, but Mrs. Warner was still suffering in a man's world. Mr. Jones and Mrs. Warner worked for the fictional multinational corporation called 8-Star

While Take A Letter, Mr. Jones worked to dispel stereotypes about female executives, it seemed to pander to others:

  • Mr. Jones could not escape the oddity of being a "male secretary" to a female boss - at least not without insinuation that there was sexual interest between him (a 40-something bachelor) and Mrs. Warner. To the programme's credit (although not very realistically), no one who found it odd that Mr. Jones was a male secretary questioned his sexuality.
  • Female secretaries at 8-Star used sex to get along with their male bosses: when one mentions that she laddered her tights in the boss' office and suggests that the company should offer a clothing allowance, Mr. Jones quips that "It might just be cheaper to get him to cut his fingernails".
  • Much comedy is culled from Mrs. Warner's "mad Italian" maid Maria, an overweight, over-excitable, Italian woman whose English is below par (played by British actressMiriam MargolyesOBE). Along with being maid, Maria helped care for Mrs. Warner's 6-year old daughter Lucy (Claudine Bowyer).

Episode list[edit]Edit

# Title Director Writers Original air date
1 "The Interview"[1] Bryan Izzard[1] Chesney and Wolfe[1] 5 September 1981[1]
2 "The Protector"[2] Bryan Izzard[2] Chesney and Wolfe[2] 12 September 1981[2]
3 "The Holiday"[3] Bryan Izzard[3] Chesney and Wolfe[3] 19 September 1981[3]
4 "The Japanese Contract"[4] Bryan Izzard[4] Chesney and Wolfe[4] 26 September 1981[4]
5 "The Trade Fair"[5] Bryan Izzard[5] Chesney and Wolfe[5] 3 October 1981[5]
6 "Business Before Pleasure"[6] Bryan Izzard[6] Chesney and Wolfe[6] 10 October 1981[6]

Context and afterlife[edit]Edit

John Inman starred in Take A Letter, Mr. Jones between seasons of the BBC comedy Are You Being Served?Take A Letter, Mr. Jones was never a ratings success (only running one season), but in recent years it has been resurrected by many American PBS stations, where Are You Being Served? is also a hit.

A US VHS set of the series was released by Questar in 1995

A UK DVD of the series was released on 16 March 2009. A repeat of the series was shown on Film24[7] in 2010.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.