Life with the Lyons
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|Life with the Lyons|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||5|
|No. of episodes||40|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original channel||BBC TV (series 1)
ITV (from series 2)
|Original run||11 February 1955– 1 May 1960|
Life with the Lyons was unusual in that it featured a real-life American family. Ben Lyon and his wife Bebe Daniels had settled in London during the Second World War and featured with the comedian Vic Oliver in the radio series Hi, Gang! that ran from 1940 to 1949. Life With the Lyons followed on from this and, together with Ben and Bebe, featured their children Richard and Barbara Lyon. Although scripted, it expanded on real-life events.
Molly Weir was their Scottish housekeeper Aggie Macdonald, Doris Rogers was the nosy neighbour Florrie Wainwright and Horace Percival played Mr Wimple. Two cinema films were produced and the show then transferred to BBC television. It later transferred to ITV.
A 1955 episode of the series was shown on BBC Four on 27 March 2005 as part of the "TV on Trial" season. The episode was not shown "in the clear" – viewers had the choice of a version without commentary but with several on-screen logos, or a version with commentary by Roy Hattersley and Kathryn Flett.
Many of the radio episodes were not kept by the BBC and as of 2011 only three episodes were known to exist in the archives; these were aired on BBC Radio 7 in early 2011. Following this broadcast, the BBC were alerted to a privately held collection of over 200 episodes built up by Graeme Stevenson in Scotland, and a selection of these programmes were rebroadcast on Radio 7's successor BBC Radio 4 Extra between July and December 2011.
Missing TV episodes
Only six episodes survive in the television archives, one from the first series, two from the third and fourth each, and one from the final series.
In popular culture
In his song "Post World War Two Blues" (Past, Present & Future, 1973), Al Stewart sang, "We were locked up safe and warm from the snow / With 'Life with the Lyons' on the radio ..."