'Ooh Betty!' How times have changed for TV's Frank Spencer

When Michael Crawford starred in the 1970s sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em he performed all his own stunts as his hapless character Frank Spencer got himself into all sorts of hair-raising scrapes.

The actor, who went on to have a successful career in musicals such as Phantom Of The Opera, will soon be seen reprising his role as the beret-wearing Frank in a one-off special for Sport Relief. And he's noticed how times have changed since he risked life and limb to create the now-classic scenes from the comedy. One such scene featured Frank wearing roller skates while holding onto the back of a moving articulated lorry!

The 74-year-old star said he believed one of the most dangerous scenes he filmed with on-screen wife Betty, played by Michele Dotrice, involving a car hanging over a cliff, would no longer be allowed.

Michael Crawford and Jenson Button for Sport Relief

Michael Crawford and Jenson Button for Sport Relief (Gary Moyes/BBC)

Michael told the Radio Times: “When Michele’s mother saw that scene, she slapped her daughter’s face and she never spoke to me again.

“Of course these days it’s all much more difficult with health and safety rules. We didn’t have those 42 years ago.”

Discussing other stunts which would have been abandoned today, he added: “I think the one where I am taking my driving test and I drive off the end of the pier into the sea. I don’t think they’d allow that now.”

actor Michael Crawford during a one-off special of Some Mothers Do 'Ave Em for Sport Relief

Actor Michael Crawford during a one-off special of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em for Sport Relief (Gary Moyes/BBC)

Michael said he had refused a number of requests to revive his famous character since the sitcom ended on Christmas Day in 1978 and denied there were plans for a new series.

The actor will reunite with Michele for the Sport Relief sketch, which will be shown on BBC One on March 18.

The scene will see Frank land himself in a few of his usual comedy disasters, culminating in a meeting with Olympic cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins at the cycling centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

Sport Relief Night airs on BBC1 on March 18 at 7.00pm.

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