A Sharp Intake of Breath

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A Sharp Intake of Breath
Sharp Intake of Breath.png
A Sharp Intake of Breath opening titles by Mel Calman
Genre Situation Comedy
Created by Ronnie Taylor
Written by Ronnie Taylor (1977–80)
Vince Powell (1981)
Directed by Les Chatfield (1977–79)
Stuart Allen (1980–81)
Starring David Jason
Jacqueline Clarke
Richard Wilson
(series 1–3)
Alun Armstrong
(series 1–2)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 22
Producer(s) Les Chatfield (1977–79)
Stuart Allen (1980–81)
Running time 30 Minutes
Production company(s) ATV
Original network ITV
Picture format 4:3
Audio format Mono
Original release 28 July 1977 (1977-07-28) (pilot)
28 February 1978 (1978-02-28) – 15 February 1981 (1981-02-15)

A Sharp Intake of Breath is a British sitcom starring David Jason, Jacqueline Clarke, Richard Wilson and Alun Armstrong which ran from 1977 to 1981. It was made for the ITV network by ATV. The opening titles featured cartoons by Mel Calman.

Jason played an everyman character called Peter Barnes and Jacqueline Clarke played his wife Sheila. Wilson and Armstrong played a range of petty officials and bureaucrats whose actions frustrated Barnes' attempts to deal with the necessities of everyday life. The title A Sharp Intake of Breath refers to the reactions of various characters to seemingly simple requests by Peter, generally followed by a denial.

Episode Listing[edit]


# Title Written by Original airdate
Pilot "A Sharp Intake of Breath" Ronnie Taylor 28 July 1977 (1977-07-28)
The pilot was part of ITV's The Sounds of Laughter series of six one-off comedies. Sheila Barnes was played by Patricia Brake in this episode.

Series 1:

# Title Written by Original airdate
1 "Your Life in Their Hands" Ronnie Taylor 20 February 1978 (1978-02-20)
Peter goes to the doctor at Sheila's insistence and spends a long time in the waiting room. Richard Wilson plays Dr. Macburney and Alun Armstrong plays another patient, Arthur Clegg.
2 "Happy Motoring" Ronnie Taylor 27 February 1978 (1978-02-27)
Peter's car is taken in for repair and he has a hard time getting it back. When it's finally fixed, Sheila has an accident while he's teaching her to drive. Alun Armstrong plays Terry, a mechanic, and Richard Wilson plays Mr. Myers at the garage.
3 "Somewhere in the Sun" Ronnie Taylor 6 March 1978 (1978-03-06)
Peter asks his boss for time off in June to go to Majorca and ends up having to go right away. Richard Wilson plays his boss, Mr. Fitch, and Alun Armstrong plays Jackson, another tourist.
4 "See You in Court" Kenneth Cope 13 March 1978 (1978-03-13)
Peter's wife wants a divorce after his drunken boss comes into her room while she's sleeping. Richard Wilson plays his solicitor, Mr. Fraser, and Alun Armstrong plays his friend Brian.
5 "The Gasman Cometh" Leslie Duxbury 20 March 1978 (1978-03-20)
After Sheila makes an inquiry about converting to gas heat, the Barneses find themselves besieged by gas company representatives. Alun Armstrong plays a salesman and Richard Wilson plays a man from the gas board.
6 "The Seven Year Hitch" Ronnie Taylor 27 March 1978 (1978-03-27)
For their seventh anniversary, Peter and Sheila return to the hotel where they honeymooned but find they are too late for dinner. Richard Wilson plays Mr. Kerr, the concierge, and Alun Armstrong plays Albert, a room service waiter.

Series 2:

# Title Written by Original airdate
1 "Your Move" Ronnie Taylor 19 February 1979 (1979-02-19)
Problems arise when Sheila discovers the house of her dreams.
2 "Your Very Good Health" Ronnie Taylor 26 February 1979 (1979-02-26)
An accident leaves Peter at the mercy of the National Health Service, but a weekend in the hospital is no rest cure, especially for the hospital staff.
3 "Where There's a Will" Ronnie Taylor 5 March 1979 (1979-03-05)
A bereavement plunges the Barnes household into mourning and Sheila receives a legacy with strings attached.
4 "Another Little Drink" Ronnie Taylor 12 March 1979 (1979-03-12)
5 "The Square on the Hypotenuse" Ronnie Taylor 19 March 1979 (1979-03-19)
6 "What about the Workers?" Ronnie Taylor 26 March 1979 (1979-03-26)

Series 3:

# Title Written by Original airdate
1 "The Spare Part" Ronnie Taylor 4 January 1980 (1980-01-04)
Peter tries to get a spare part for his washing machine. Richard Wilson plays Henshaw from the parcels office.
2 "Just Cause or Impediment" Ronnie Taylor 11 January 1980 (1980-01-11)
When Peter agrees to be best man at a wedding, he has trouble getting a morning suit at short notice, ends up at the wrong church, and loses the ring. Richard Wilson plays Basil Dawson, a tailor.
3 "Look Who's Coming For Ever" Ronnie Taylor 18 January 1980 (1980-01-18)
Peter's father-in-law comes to stay while his brother-in-law goes on holiday. Richard Wilson plays the father-in-law.

Series 4:

# Title Written by Original airdate
1 "Wheels" Vince Powell 11 January 1981 (1981-01-11)
Peter is supposed to deliver the company chairman's new Mercedes, but he takes it out for a drive and ends up detained by the police.
2 "Match of the Day" Vince Powell 18 January 1981 (1981-01-18)
Peter loses his ticket to an England vs. Germany match at Wembley and tries to get in another way.
3 "The Train Now Standing" Vince Powell 25 January 1981 (1981-01-25)
Peter goes to London to lodge a complaint with British Rail when a train no longer stops at his station.
4 "While the Cat's Away" Vince Powell 1 February 1981 (1981-02-01)
5 "The Weekend" Vince Powell 8 February 1981 (1981-02-08)
6 "Rear Window" Vince Powell 15 February 1981 (1981-02-15)

DVD Release[edit]

The Complete series will be released on DVD 04/05/2015

External links[edit]