As Time Goes By (TV series)
|As Time Goes By|
From left: Sandy, Jean, Lionel, Alistair and Judy
|Genre||Situation comedy, Britcom|
|Created by||Colin Bostock-Smith|
|Written by||Bob Larbey|
|Directed by||Sydney Lotterby|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||9|
|No. of episodes||67 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Philip Jones (1992–2002)
Trevor McCallum (1996)
John Reynolds (1996–2005)
Don Taffner (2002–05)
John Bartlett (2005)
Donald Taffner, Jr. (2005)
|Editor(s)||John Jarvis (1992)
Chris Wadsworth (1992–2002)
Mykola Pawluk (2005)
|Running time||64x30 minutes
|Production company(s)||Theatre of Comedy
|Original channel||BBC One|
|Original run||12 January 1992 –
30 December 2005
As Time Goes By is a British sitcom that aired on BBC One from 1992 to 2005. Starring Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer, it follows the relationship between two former lovers who meet unexpectedly after not having been in contact for 38 years.
The programme's original working title had been Winter with Flowers (from the German proverb "An old man loved is winter with flowers") but was changed during its first day of filming due to the cast's protestations. The new title was taken from the 1931 song "As Time Goes By", which was used as the title music, recorded by Joe Fagin.
The series was produced by Theatre of Comedy Entertainment, in association with DLT Entertainment Ltd. for the BBC.
In the March 2011 PBS pledge drive programming special Behind the Britcoms: from Script to Screen hosted by Moira Brooker and Philip Bretherton, the series creator/producer revealed that Jean Simmons had declined the first offer of the role of 'Jean' (which was written with her in mind) due to her reluctance to uproot her sunny life—specifically mentioning her dogs, garden, and family—in California. Dench was later cast for the role.
- Jean Mary Hardcastle (née Pargetter formerly Hanson) (Judi Dench) – Judith's mother, Penny and Stephen's sister-in-law, Lionel's wife, Rocky's daughter-in-law, Madge's stepdaughter-in-law, and Alistair's mother-in-law,
- Lionel Hardcastle (Geoffrey Palmer) – Rocky's son, Jean's husband, Judith's stepfather and Alistair's stepfather-in-law, and Madge's stepson
- Judith "Judi" Deacon (née Hanson) (Moira Brooker) – Jean's daughter, Penny and Stephen's niece, Sandy's best friend, Lionel's stepdaughter, Rocky's and Madge's step-granddaughter, and Alistair's wife
- Alistair Deacon (Philip Bretherton) – Initially publisher of Lionel's book, then Judith's husband, Jean's son-in-law and Lionel's stepson-in-law, Penny and Stephen's nephew-in-law, Rocky and Madge's step-grandson-in-law
- Sandy Edwards (Jenny Funnell) – Jean's secretary and receptionist, Judith's best friend and Harry's wife
- Richard "Rocky" Hardcastle (Frank Middlemass) – Lionel's father, Jean's father-in-law, Judith's step-grandfather, Alistair's step-grandfather-in-law, and Madge's husband
- Madge Hardcastle (Joan Sims) – Lionel's stepmother, Jean's stepmother-in-law, Judith's step-grandmother, Alistair's step-grandmother-in-law, and Rocky's wife
- Penny Johnson (née Hanson) (Moyra Fraser) – Jean's sister-in-law (from Jean's first marriage to David), Judith's aunt, and Stephen's wife
- Stephen Johnson (Paul Chapman) – Penny's husband, Jean's brother-in-law, and Judith's uncle
- Harry (David Michaels) – Sandy's husband
- Harry (Daniel Ryan) – Sandy's husband
- Mrs. Bale (Janet Henfrey) – Hardcastle country home housekeeper
- Lol Ferris (Tim Wylton) – Hardcastle country home gardener
- Daisy: Justine Glenton (1 episode), Zoe Hilson (4 episodes)
Second Lieutenant Lionel Hardcastle (Geoffrey Palmer) and Middlesex Hospital Nurse Jean Pargetter (Judi Dench) met in the summer of 1953 or 1954 (depending on the episode) and fell in love, but when Lionel was sent to Korea they lost touch. Jean didn't receive his letter from Korea, and so each assumed the other had lost interest. After his war service, Lionel emigrated to Kenya to become a coffee planter. While there, he married Margaret, whom he later divorced on the grounds of "mutual boredom," after which he returned to England. During this time, Jean married and had one child, Judith. After her husband's death, Jean opened "Type for You," a secretarial agency. Judith Hanson (Moira Brooker) marries and divorces twice (once to "Ken," who had "sad eyes", and "Edward," who was "very clever"). During most of the series, Judith lives with her mother, for whom she also works at the secretarial agency.
Thirty-eight years after Lionel and Jean met, Lionel, now in England, hires a typist through the secretarial agency "Type for You" to finish his book My Life in Kenya, unaware Jean owns the agency. When Jean and Lionel recognise each other, their romance gradually rekindles over many months. In the third season, Lionel moves into Jean's house in Holland Park, London, and they marry during the following season.
In the first season, Judith develops a crush on Lionel, while Lionel's publisher, Alistair Deacon (Philip Bretherton), takes a similar interest in Jean. Both crushes are brief, and eventually Judith and Alistair fall for each other and, in the final season, marry. Other plotlines feature Lionel being asked to write an American TV mini-series, Just Two People, based on his early romance with Jean. The mini-series fails after much rewriting and network interference. Jean eventually retires from "Type For You," and later volunteers at a charity shop.
Jean's very efficient secretary and Judith's best friend is Sandy (Jenny Funnell), who eventually moves in with the Hardcastles after splitting with her boyfriend Nick. After Jean's retirement, Sandy becomes a manager at "Type For You". Sandy dates Harry (David Michaels, later replaced by Daniel Ryan), a policeman and rugby player, whom she marries at the end of the series. Other notable characters include: Lionel's father, Rocky (Frank Middlemass), who owns a large country house in Hampshire, which he later gives to Lionel; the housekeeper, Mrs. Bale (Janet Henfrey), who has an unusual interest in the Shipping Forecast, and the gardener, Lol Ferris (Tim Wylton). Rocky marries Madge (Joan Sims) when he is 85 and she is 78, and they often travel around the world. In Series Nine, Madge is mentioned as being on an archaeological dig in Egypt; in reality Joan Sims died before filming began. Jean's first husband's neurotic sister Penny (Moyra Fraser), who always calls Jean "Poor Jean", and Penny's dentist husband, Stephen (Paul Chapman), who once accidentally declined the OBE, also make many appearances.
The programme ran for nine seasons, from 12 January 1992 to 4 August 2002. Nearly every episode was thirty minutes long. The final series episode was followed by an hour-long compilation show on 11 August 2002, and by a two part "Reunion Special" broadcast on 26 and 30 December 2005. The Reunion Specials were the last appearance of Frank Middlemass, who played Rocky, before his death in 2006. Actress Joan Sims died in 2001 and the role of Rocky's wife, Madge Darbley-Hardcastle, was not recast; in Series 8 it's mentioned that she's away participating in an Egyptian archaeological dig.
As Time Goes By has appeared in the United States on BBC America, and has been running weekly on PBS almost continuously since the early 2000s, with various cast members appearing on its perennial pledge drives. It has run in Canada on BBC Canada and TVOntario, in Australia on ABC and 7TWO, in New Zealand on both UKTV and SKY Network Television, in Finland on YLE TV1, and on DSTV in Nigeria. RTÉ One has broadcast the series in Ireland repeatedly. It has been broadcast by Gold for viewers in the UK and Ireland as of 2010, and by UKTV in Australia as of 2011.
As Time Goes By was adapted and recorded for radio. Three series were broadcast on BBC Radio 2 between 1997 and 1999. The first episode included a flashback to Jean and Lionel 38 years before, something that never happened on television. All episodes correspond to a TV episode and featured the original cast, apart from the original actor from the television program (Bretherton) not playing Alistair in Series One - Bretherton did play Alistair in both Series Two and Three. So far, only the first series has been released on BBC Audio Cassette.
Series one (1997)
- "Episode One" (18 March 1997)
- "Episode Two" (25 March 1997)
- "Episode Three" (1 April 1997)
- "Episode Four" (9 April 1997)
- "Episode Five" (16 April 1997)
- "Episode Six" (23 April 1997)
- "Episode Seven" (30 April 1997)
Series two (1998)
- "Episode One" (18 January 1998)
- "We'll Always Have Paris" (25 January 1998)
- "Living Together — But Where?" (1 February 1998)
- "Covering Up" (8 February 1998)
- "Moving In" (15 February 1998)
- "Branching Out" (22 February 1998)
Series three (1999)
- "The Mini Series" (14 February 1999)
- "Dealing With Sally" (21 February 1999)
- "Problems, Problems" (28 February 1999)
- "A House Full of Women" (7 March 1999)
- "Getting Rid of Gwen" (14 March 1999)
- "The Affair" (21 March 1999)
- "The Anniversary Party" (28 March 1999)
The complete series was released in DVD region code 2 by Cinema Club, in DVD region code 1 by BBC America and as five sets in DVD region code 4 by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The reunion special is also available on DVD now, distributed by Acorn Media UK.
Australian DVD Releases:
- As Time Goes By - Series 1 and 2 (2 Disc Set)
- As Time Goes By - Series 3 and 4 (3 Disc Set) - 10 November 2004
- As Time Goes By - Series 5 and 6 (2 Disc Set) - 7 April 2005
- As Time Goes By - Series 7 and 8 (2 Disc Set) - 6 October 2005
- As Time Goes By - Series 9–9 August 2004
- As Time Goes By - Series 1-9: Collectors Edition (11 Disc Box Set) - 6 October 2006
- "As Time Goes By: Information from". Answers.com. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- page 18: "In the early 90s he was brought the script for As Time Goes By, which was at first titled Winter with Flowers.[dead link]
- "As Time Goes By Crew List". Archived from the original on 22 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-12.
- "The Den of Geek interview: Colin Bostock-Smith". Den of Geek. 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- BBC - Britain's Best Sitcom - Top 11 to 100
- "Comedy - As Time Goes By". BBC. 2007-10-02. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "Ulkomaiset tv-sarjat". Yle.fi. 2008-04-19. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1998). Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy. London: BBC Worldwide. ISBN 978-0-563-36977-6. OCLC 43091221.
- As Time Goes By at epguides.com
- Lavalie, John. "As Time Goes By [BBC Radio 2] (a Titles & Air Dates Guide)". epguides.com. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- As Time Goes By at bbc.co.uk
- As Time Goes By at the Internet Movie Database
- As Time Goes By (TV series) at AllRovi
- As Time Goes By at British TV Comedy
- As Times Goes By at British Comedy (with radio episode guide)