Rosemary & Thyme

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For the Simon & Garfunkel album, see Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.
Rosemary & Thyme
Rosemary and Thyme
Genre Crime fiction
Created by Brian Eastman
Clive Exton
Starring Felicity Kendal
Pam Ferris
Opening theme Variation on "Scarborough Fair"
Ending theme idem
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 22
Producer(s) Carnival Films / Yorkshire Television
Running time 20x60 minutes
1x90 minutes
1x120 minutes
(including adverts)
Original network ITV, STV, UTV
Original release 31 August 2003 –
6 August 2007

Rosemary & Thyme is a British television mystery series starring Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris as gardening detectives Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme. The show began on ITV in 2003. The third series ended in August 2007. The theme is murder mysteries in the setting of professional gardening jobs. It was created by Brian Eastman to entertain his wife, Christabel Albery, who is an avid gardener. The show was directed by Brian Farnham (10 episodes, 2003–2006), Simon Langton (8 episodes, 2004–2006), and Tom Clegg (3 episodes, 2003). Clive Exton, who helped create the show,[1] contributed 10 of the 22 scripts.


A cozy mystery series set in beautiful English and European gardens, Rosemary & Thyme features two women brought together by a sudden death who discover their shared love of the soil. Being gardeners means that they overhear secrets and dig up clues which lead them to handle floral problems, solve crimes and capture criminals.

Main characters[edit]

Laura Thyme (Pam Ferris): The daughter of a farmer and a home gardener; she was a Woman Police Constable (WPC) in North Kensington and a member of "The CADS" (The Coppers' Amateur Dramatic Society) until she had children (Matthew, a policeman and Helena, a sculptor). After twenty-seven years marriage, her policeman husband abandoned her for a younger woman he met at work.

Rosemary Boxer (Felicity Kendal): Has a doctorate in plant pathology and was a University of Malmesbury lecturer in applied horticulture[2] for eighteen years, before her academic position was suddenly and sneakily removed (which pushes her to punch her ex-boss, a former beau, who fired her underhandedly). Rosemary owns a 1980 Land Rover Series III.

The series' title was taken from the English poem "Scarborough Fayre".

Sample of the theme tune of Rosemary & Thyme, 33 seconds long taken from the full 4 minute version.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

While many guests starred, only two people (other than Kendal and Ferris) have appeared in more than one episode, Ryan Philpott and Daisy Dunlop, who appeared as Laura Thyme's children Matthew and Helena.


Series 1 (2003)[edit]

# Title Writer Director Original air date Viewers[3]
1 "And No Birds Sing" Clive Exton Brian Farnham 31 August 2003 (2003-08-31) [49 minutes] 11.11
While Rosemary Boxer investigates diseased trees at the home of an old friend, Laura Thyme is still reeling from being recently abandoned by her husband for a much younger woman. Leaving her home behind she finds herself in the same hotel as Rosemary, and together they uncover a sinister plot concerning Rosemary's ill friend.
2 "Arabica and the Early Spider" Clive Exton Tom Clegg 5 September 2003 (2003-09-05) [49 minutes] 8.00
Now working together, Rosemary and Laura are enlisted by an aging rock star to help renovate the grounds of his newly-bought mansion. However when the singer is found dead and the skeleton of a horse is found nearby, the pair discover a past rivalry is rearing its head once more.
3 "The Language of Flowers" Clive Exton
Isabelle Grey
Tom Clegg 12 September 2003 (2003-09-12) [49 minutes] 7.01
The two gardeners are asked by the Caldecott family to restore a grand water cascade in the grounds of their mansion-turned-health spa. Stumped by the long-decayed mechanics of the feature, Rosemary and Laura soon realise all is not well: a killer is on the loose and family ties are the motive behind a murder.
4 "Sweet Angelica" David Joss Buckley Brian Farnham 19 September 2003 (2003-09-19) [49 minutes] 6.94
Trying to uncover the source of disease in the lawn of a special language college, Rosemary and Laura are shocked to find a dead body at the roadside nearby. A ceremonial knife causes a stir at the school and everything appears to be centred around Angelica, one of the school's students.
5 "A Simple Plot" Chris Fewtrell Tom Clegg 26 September 2003 (2003-09-26) [49 minutes] 6.51
Rosemary takes Laura to see a Professor friend, who is having trouble with his allotment. Flowers are dying at random and he suspects the nearby building site is to blame. A political dispute becomes evident. After the Professor is killed, Rosemary finds herself in danger.
6 "The Tree of Death" Peter Spence
Simon Brett
Brian Farnham 3 October 2003 (2003-10-03) [50 minutes] 7.25
Restoring a churchyard for an upcoming fayre, Rosemary and Laura befriend the local vicar, but soon become entangled in a murder enquiry when a man is found impaled by an arrow next to an ancient yew tree where they are working. The suspects are many, and it is up to the two gardeners to save the day.

Series 2 (2004)[edit]

# Title Writer Director Original air date Viewers[3]
7 "The Memory of Water" Stephen Gallagher Brian Farnham 3 October 2004 (2004-10-03) [134 minutes] 7.08
Whilst restoring a walled garden at Lyvedon Manor, Rosemary and Laura find themselves entangled in the watery death of Jim, the mysterious cousin of the house's owner. Horticultural help arrives in the form of ex-cons from the local prison, and it is up to the two sleuthing gardeners to solve the mystery. Then Jim is seen alive by Rosemary, but a dead body is found on the river. A number of the players are named after characters in the Sexton Blake canon.
8 "Orpheus in the Undergrowth" David Joss Buckley Simon Langton 8 October 2004 (2004-10-08) [47 minutes] 6.81
Laura and Rosemary are called upon by an old friend to help create a memorial garden in Notting Hill, based around the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. Helena, Laura's daughter, is angry with her mother, mistakenly blaming her for the breakup of her marriage. Meanwhile, Rosemary's discovery of a Smooth Ink-Cap Fungus provides vital clues to the mysterious death of a recovering alcoholic.
9 "They Understand Me in Paris" Clive Exton Brian Farnham 15 October 2004 (2004-10-15) [47 minutes] 6.27
At Villa Glavany, in the French Riviera, Rosemary and Laura are helping their friend Dorothy prepare the 150-year-old gardens for a public opening. Neighbour James Pretty is stopping at nothing to ensure that this does not happen. And how will Rosemary and Laura explain to Agathe, the French housekeeper, when they find Dorothy's husband dead in the living room? For Laura, this return trip to France brings back memories of "little cakes" she discovered years ago on a school trip—what she believed to be called "Raspberry Martyrs" but are actually called "Framboise Marthe".
10 "The Invisible Worm" Guy Andrews Simon Langton 22 October 2004 (2004-10-22) [47 minutes] 6.22
Roses are dying at Stagford Lodge Preparatory School, and classics master Richard Oakley calls upon the two gardeners to help restore the flower beds. On the last day of term, the mysterious ritual involving a member of staff dressed as a Stag turns sour when Simon Todd, the geography master, is found dead in the undergrowth, killed by a harpoon from the headteacher's prized harpoon gun. Rosemary and Laura must weed out the killer from the school's sinister staff before it is too late.
11 "The Gongoozlers" Clive Exton Simon Langton 29 October 2004 (2004-10-29) [47 minutes] 6.18
Quinnie Dorell, a famous round-the-world yacht sailor, is roped in to boost the ratings of Gavin Patterson's failing TV garden makeover programme. Her fear of heights means that it falls to Rosemary to present an overview of the developments from scaffolding high above the gardens, but a loose bolt causes her to plummet to the ground. Then visiting journalist Rosie FitzCarron is electrocuted in the swimming pool. Then a fiery car crash. With Rosemary recovering in hospital, it is up to Laura to solve the seemingly unconnected events.
12 "The Italian Rapscallion" Clive Exton Brian Farnham 5 November 2004 (2004-11-05) [47 minutes] 5.84
Rosemary and Laura travel to the Ligurian Coast in Italy, where their old friend Emma Standish is getting ready to open her new restaurant. But a tour around the famous Giardini Tremonti comes to an abrupt end when one of their party, Janice Alexander, is found battered to death in the shrubbery. Then another body is found, tossed over the edge of a cliff-top garden. With so many flamboyant personalities in the area, it takes all of Laura and Rosemary's sleuthing skills to solve the mystery.
13 "Swords into Ploughshares" Chris Fewtrell Gwennan Sage 12 November 2004 (2004-11-12) [47 minutes] 6.11
Laura is stunned when it is announced that Rosemary has been shot dead in Engleton Park. She later discovers that Rosemary's college pal Gemma Jackson was posing as her to gain access to the Roman dig nearby, and was killed. Lord Engleton's connection with the Archaeological department provides clues as to who may have committed the crime. When another body is found dumped in the mansion's greenhouse, Rosemary and Laura conclude that the killings are linked to secret artefact burials.
14 "Up the Garden Path" Peter Spence Simon Langton 18 December 2004 (2004-12-18) [47 minutes] 7.52
Grania Monkton's secrecy over her hiring of the two gardeners makes Rosemary uncomfortable when they are asked to solve the case of the mysterious blight that has afflicted the competing gardens in line for the trophy of the annual Rowfield Garden Open Day Scheme. Her suspicions are confirmed when Donald Westward, who is seriously disliked by all residents of the village, is found dead under a collapsed branch, and his garden savaged. Suspects are plenty, particularly unfriendly gardener Judd, and the Skinners, who don't fit in with the rest of the village. But it is up to our two heroines to capture the criminal and save the competition.

Series 3 (2005-07)[edit]

# Title Writer Director Original air date Viewers[3]
15 "The Cup of Silence" Stephen Gallagher Brian Farnham 23 December 2005 (2005-12-23) [70 minutes] 5.77
A famous columnist is murdered while Rosemary and Laura rid a hotel's vineyard of pestering weeds. Strapped for cash with no land-rover, the gardeners pull out all the stops in an attempt to kill the weeds without breaking their backs. With the future of the entire area in doubt, can Rosemary and Laura solve the case and save this year's vintage?
16 "In a Monastery Garden" Peter Spence Brian Farnham 21 January 2006 (2006-01-21) [47 minutes] 5.20
Not everybody seems happy with Rosemary and Laura's presence in Wellminster Cathedral's old monastery garden. When a body is discovered amongst the herbs, the ladies realise they could be in serious danger. What dark secrets have this tight-knit community been concealing?
17 "Seeds of Time" Clive Exton Simon Langton 28 January 2006 (2006-01-28) [47 minutes] 5.05
Rosemary and Laura are called upon to help re-organize the seed collection of famous botanist Edwin Pargeter. With the help of a friend at Kew Gardens, they discover that there is more to Edwin's seeds than meets the eye. When a mysterious Chilean man is found dead in the Pargeters' back garden, it becomes clear that someone is trying to get their hands on some uniquely rare seeds.
18 "Agua Cadaver" David Joss Buckley Brian Farnham 4 February 2006 (2006-02-04) [47 minutes] 5.69
Invited by a former boyfriend, a noted scholar of Spanish Islamic History, to his beautiful home in the hills of Southern Spain in Alcazaba "near Malaga" and Ojen Pueblo, the next town, to restore an old Moorish garden inspired by the Alhambra, Rosemary must not let the attentions of a jealous wife distract her and Laura from an intriguing mystery involving murder and mountainside's water supply.
19 "Three Legs Good" Clive Exton Simon Langton 11 February 2006 (2006-02-11) [47 minutes] 5.01
Rosemary and Laura work on re-planting the historic Regent's Park garden, filled with its colorful flowers and an array of permanent visitors. But hidden amongst these frequenters of the park are many secrets soon to be revealed, all mysteriously connected to a three-legged dog.
20 "The Gooseberry Bush" Clive Exton Simon Langton 18 February 2006 (2006-02-18) [47 minutes] 5.48
Hired to create a memorial garden as a wedding gift, Rosemary is left holding the baby when she and Laura discover an abandoned child under a gooseberry bush. Is there a connection between the baby and the murder of a local artist? Also there is a woman with a butterfly tattoo on her upper right back.
21 "Racquet Espanol" David Joss Buckley Brian Farnham 30 July 2007 (2007-07-30) [47 minutes] 5.39
Tragedy strikes at a Spanish tennis camp as the body of one of the Pro-Am tournament players is discovered. Initially dismissed as a drunken accident, Rosemary and Laura suspect foul play as they realise the resort is not as idyllic as it appears.
22 "Enter Two Gardeners" Clive Exton Simon Langton 6 August 2007 (2007-08-06) [47 minutes] 5.27
Rosemary's cousin Charles is an actor in an amateur production and she and Laura are working on the garden of its open-air theatre. Then one of the actors shoots himself during a rehearsal, and the police find the gun was loaded with live ammo instead of blanks. It seems there's a murderer at work. Is someone out to sabotage the play, or is some other motive at work?


On 12 May 2006, ITV announced that the third series was the last. The final two episodes of series three ("Racquet Espanol" and "Enter Two Gardeners") were not aired with the rest of the series during 2005-06. They were eventually broadcast in late July and early August 2007.

Because of the outdoor nature of the show and the brevity of the British summer, it became the practice to set two episodes of each series in overseas locations. Two stories were already ready for shooting in Portugal when changes in production personnel caused delays. By the time that shooting was rescheduled, some actors were otherwise committed, and the ITV Network Centre was left with no option but to cancel filming for a fourth series.

Clothing design[edit]

The design of the clothing and jewellery for Pam Ferris's character in the second and third series of the programme was by Yves Barre.


Three novelisations, credited to series creator Brian Eastman and ghostwritten by crime writer Rebecca Tope, were published in Britain by Allison and Busby and in Australia by Hardie Grant Books:

  • And No Birds Sing (published in 2004, based on the pilot episode)
  • The Tree of Death (published in 2005, based on the final episode of Series 1)
  • Memory of Water (published in 2006, based on the feature-length opening episode of Series 2)

Related media[edit]

Composed and conducted by Christopher Gunning, a CD of incidental music and the opening theme (performed by John Williams) from the first two series of Rosemary & Thyme.

"The Case of the Dead Wait", by Peter Lovesey (January 2007 Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine)

DVD releases

DVD Name Episodes Release Date Rating
Region 1
Region 2
Region 4
Series One 6 14 June 2005 6 October 2003 2 April 2007[4]
Series Two 8 28 February 2006 27 December 2004 2 June 2007[5]
Series Three 8 6 February 2007 3 April 2006 4 August 2007[6]
The Complete Series 22 5 February 2008
4 October 2011 (re-release)
7 August 2006
4 July 2011 (re-release)
3 November 2007[7]
5 May 2008 (slimline)[8]
6 March 2013 (re-release)[9]


  1. ^ [1] Archived 24 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "ITV TV Shows". Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  3. ^ a b c "Top 30 Programmes". BARB. 2013-04-21. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  4. ^ "Rosemary And Thyme Series 1 on DVD". Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Rosemary And Thyme Series 2 on DVD". Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Rosemary And Thyme Series 3 on DVD". Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Rosemary And Thyme Complete Series on DVD". Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Rosemary And Thyme Complete Series Slimline on DVD". Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Rosemary And Thyme The Complete Collection on DVD". Retrieved March 1, 2015. 

External links[edit]