Noele Gordon (Meg Mortimer) told me that this wasn't true when I went to Birmingham recently to see the series being
made. "We see so much of one another during the week - all day Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday rehearsing, and then Thursdays
and Fridays recording well into the evening - that when we do finally pack up for the weekend, we take off as fast as we can,
all in opposite directions!"
"Not," went on Noele - or Nolly, as everyone calls her - "that we don't get on well together. We're all the greatest
of friends - we'd have to be, working as closely as we do. But because we're together so much of the time,
we need to live our own lives off the set, and forget about our characters in the series for a while."
For Nolly, who has won the TV Times Favourite TV Personality Award a staggering six times, this generally means going
home to the elegant house which she shares with her mother.
"It's divided into two," she said, "and we each have our own flat, which means we do have our independence. But
it means, too, that we can be together when we feel like it, and Mother always comes in to see me, and makes me a nice supper."
Nolly's Mum was with her, too, when we met in the star dressing room at Birmingham's plush ATV studios. She is
obviously one of her daughter's keenest fans.
"We were shoping at lunchtime," Nolly explained, "so she's come in to have tea."
Zeph Gladstone, who plays Vera in the series, has feeding problems. Every lunch hour, she said, she has to rush
back to her Birmingham flat to feed her pet dog - Horatio. She's also another member of the cast who makes for London
at the weekends, where she owns two adjoining terraced houses in Clapham. She lives in a tiny flat in one of them, and
rents the rest - which must make her one of the most glamorous landladies in the business.
"A landlady's a landlady," she replied firmly, "and I never mix business with pleasure." At the same time though,
it's her business to look fairly tarty when playing Vera. And she admits with a smile that she quite enjoys shopping
for what she calls Vera-type clothes.
Unmarried, but with plenty of boyfriends, Zeph confessed: "I'd love to settle down one of these days, but up until
now, I just haven't met the right guy."
In another dressing-room, Ronald Allen (David Hunter) had just heard that he was the likely winner of the TV Times Best
Dressed Actor contest. "They're talking about on-screen, not off it," he told me modestly. But, in fact, I learned
later that, apart from the uniforms and anything very exceptional like fancy dress, everyone on the set provides their own
"Just occasionally" - he griined - "I let David be seen in jeans and an old shirt, because I don't like the viewers to
get the idea that he's just a walking clothes horse, who doesn't do any real work."
During the week, when Ronnie's working on the show, he stays at his flat in Birmingham. And he, too, tends to go
straight home every night after work, to cook his own supper and concentrate on learning his lines. "After that," said
Ronnie, "I'm generally too tired even to watch television!"
Recently, though, he told me, he'd had a guest for supper - pretty little Sue Hanson, who plays Diane in the series.