Agony (TV series)
Agony main title screen featuring Maureen Lipman as Jane Lucas
|Created by||Len Richmond
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||20|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original release||11 March 1979– 1 March 1981|
Agony is a British sitcom that aired on ITV from 1979 to 1981. Made by London Weekend Television, it stars Maureen Lipman as Jane Lucas who has a successful career as an agony aunt but whose own personal life is a shambles. It was created by Len Richmond and real-life agony aunt Anna Raeburn, both of whom wrote all of the first series. The second and third series were written by Stan Hey and Andrew Nickolds.
Agony was the first British sitcom to portray a gay couple as non-camp, witty, intelligent and happy people.
- Maureen Lipman - Jane Lucas
- Simon Williams - Laurence Lucas
- Maria Charles - Bea Fisher
- Peter Blake - Andy Evol
- Jeremy Bulloch - Rob
- Peter Denyer - Michael
- Diana Weston - Val Dunn
- Jan Holden - Diana
- Robert Austin - Junior Truscombe (series 2 and 3)
- Bill Nighy - Vincent Fish (series 2)
Jane Lucas is an agony aunt, who is highly successful in her career working at radio call-in show (for Happening Radio 242) in London and writing the "Dear Jane" advice column for Person magazine, but whose own marriage and personal life is a complete disaster. Her Jewish mother, Bea, interferes in all aspects of her life, and her gentile psychiatrist husband Laurence is unreliable and emotionally inept during the course of their on/off relationship. Jane's friends and colleagues include her assistant Val, her boss Diana, and her gay neighbours Rob and Michael, all of whom come to her with problems of their own. Meanwhile, Jane has to contend with the constant advances of oversexed, smarmy radio disc jockey Andy Evol and the equally libidinous Vincent Fish.
Although a sitcom, Agony often included subjects in its storylines that were considered taboo at the time such as drug use, racism, and homosexuality, and often included darker, more dramatic storylines such as Jane being held hostage by a crazed maniac, the suicide of one of her friends, and the abduction of her newborn baby.
Writing in The Guardian, television critic Nancy Banks-Smith praised the series, describing it as "a wide-awake, wise-cracking comedy with a cracking good comedienne in Maureen Lipman" and that "the one-liners are one a second, fast and fresh and funny."
Series One (1979)
- "Help" (11 March 1979)
- "An Unmarried Couple" (18 March 1979)
- "Conjugal Wrongs" (25 March 1979)
- "Wedlock, Deadlock" (8 April 1979)
- "Forever and Never" (15 April 1979)
- "Too Much Agony, Too Little Ecstasy" (29 April 1979)
Series Two (1980)
- "Back to Reality" (13 April 1980)
- "Working Girls" (20 April 1980)
- "Coming Out... and Going In Again?" (27 April 1980)
- "Television Can Damage Your Health" (4 May 1980)
- "Problem Parents" (11 May 1980)
- "Second Time Around" (18 May 1980)
- "A Woman Alone" (25 May 1980)
Series Three (1981)
- "From Here to Maternity" (18 January 1981)
- "Arrivals and Departures" (25 January 1981)
- "Hospital Romances" (1 February 1981)
- "Communications Breakdown" (8 February 1981)
- "Holy Wars" (15 February 1981)
- "Lucas v Lucas" (22 February 1981)
- "Rings Off Their Fingers" (1 March 1981)
Agony was revived in 1995, this time on the BBC as Agony Again. In addition, Agony was remade for American television under the name The Lucie Arnaz Show, with Len Richmond as the writer. This ran for six episodes on CBS in 1985 and starred Lucie Arnaz.
All three series of Agony, including a 3-disc set of the complete series, have been released on DVD in the UK (Region 2) by Network DVD.
|The Complete Series 1||5 November 2007|
|The Complete Series 2||25 April 2008|
|The Complete Series 3||17 August 2009|
|The Complete Series 1 to 3 Box set||5 October 2009|
- "Agony, LWT,". Summary of the Series featuring the Episode. British Classic Comedy. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- Nancy Banks-Smith (12 March 1979). "Television: Agony". The Guardian.
- Mark Lewisohn, "Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy", BBC Worldwide Ltd, 2003