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Tides of Laughter

A female ‘end-of-the-pier’ double act find out a surprising secret about their landlady - and about each other.

1986 49 mins

Director: Paul Oremland


Double act Joy and Dot find themselves playing to diminishing audiences on Cromer Pier in 1958. Luckily, they have each other. One day they sneak into their landlady’s bedroom and discover a secret that has consequences for their relationship. Alongside the drama, variety entertainers from the era, including circuit stalwarts Iris Sadler and Bryan Burdon, fondly recall ‘end-of-the-pier’ culture.

Tides of Laughter is an unusual entry in the Six of Hearts TV series, which explored queer lives in the UK. It's the only fictional episode (although the talking heads interspersed within the story add a lot of colour). Strangely, homosexuality is almost an afterthought in the screenplay - it’s more interested in seaside entertainment culture, on and off the stage. Gilly Coman would go on to star in Carla Lane’s Bread, although the best performance is from stage actor Pamela Lane, who brings great pathos to the role of the intensely private landlady whose secret love is discovered by her guests.