Second Thoughts (TV series)

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Second Thoughts
Created byJan Etherington
Gavin Petrie
StarringLynda Bellingham
James Bolam
Belinda Lang
Julia Sawalha
Mark Denham
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series5
No. of episodes49
Running time30 minutes
(including commercials)
Production company(s)LWT
DistributorITV Studios
Original networkITV
Picture format4:3
Original release3 May 1991 (1991-05-03) –
14 October 1994 (1994-10-14)
Second Thoughts
Running time30 minutes
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Home stationBBC Radio 4
StarringLynda Bellingham
James Bolam
Belinda Lang
Created byJan Etherington
Gavin Petrie
Written byJan Etherington
Gavin Petrie
Original release1 November 1988 (1988-11-01) – 23 July 1992 (1992-07-23)
No. of series5
No. of episodes31

Second Thoughts is a British comedy television programme that ran from 3 May 1991 to 14 October 1994. It was broadcast on the ITV network and made by the ITV company LWT. It was followed by a sequel, Faith in the Future. Second Thoughts followed the lives of two middle-aged divorcees, Bill MacGregor and Faith Greyshott, from very different backgrounds trying to develop a relationship, despite the pressures pulling it apart (namely Faith's two teenage children and Bill's devious ex-wife Liza, who works alongside him).

Second Thoughts was based upon the real-life relationship of the writers, husband and wife Jan Etherington and Gavin Petrie. It originally aired as a radio series on BBC Radio 4 broadcast between 1 November 1988 and 23 July 1992. The radio series consisted of four series and a Christmas special broadcast in 1992 with a total of 31 episodes. The radio scripts were used for the television series on ITV. The fifth series was the only series not to be based on the original radio scripts.

During the recording of an episode of Series 4, Lynda Bellingham was surprised by the "This Is Your Life" host Michael Aspel on set. as she was to be the star of an episode of "This Is Your Life". Her co-star James Bolam was in on the surprise, and Lynda appeared truly shocked when Michael Aspel appeared on the set to present her with the big red book and to tell her "This Is Your Life" to the thundering applause of the studio audience.[1]

Second Thoughts ended on 14 October 1994, but has since been repeated on ITV3. The original radio series was often replayed on BBC7, and continues to be repeated on BBC7's re-branded replacement, BBC Radio 4 Extra.


  • Bill Macgregor (James Bolam) – An art editor of a style magazine where he works alongside his bitchy ex-wife Liza.
  • Faith Greyshott (Lynda Bellingham) – Faith is a freelance illustrator who occasionally does work for the style magazine Bill works for.
    She has two teenagers from her previous marriage, Hannah and Joe. The children and the dog often come before Bill.
  • Liza Macgregor (sometimes known as Liza Ferrari) (Belinda Lang) – Bill's ex-wife, Liza is a histrionic woman with expensive tastes. Liza works for the same magazine as Bill and is constantly interfering with Bill and Faith's relationship.
  • Hannah Greyshott (Julia Sawalha) – Faith's teenage daughter and eldest child.
  • Joe Greyshott (Mark Denham) – Faith's teenage son. Joe is obsessed with football and only shows interest in girls when they like football.
  • Hilary (Louisa Rix in series 1; Paddy Navin in series 2 and 3) – Faith's best friend who is unlucky in love.
  • Richard (Geoffrey Whitehead) – Bill's boss at the magazine. Richard is married to Marjorie, but having an affair with Liza.
  • Marjorie (Georgina Melville)
  • Callum (Ian Henderson) – Bill's cousin.
  • Defor the Dog (Levi)

Episode guide[edit]

Series 1: 1991[edit]

# Title Airdate
1"Found and Lost"3 May 1991 (1991-05-03)
Faith introduces Bill to her children as they prepare to move in together.
2"Match of the Day"10 May 1991 (1991-05-10)
Faith attempts to get Bill to get to know the children better.
3"Night Moves"17 May 1991 (1991-05-17)
Bill & Faith attempt to spend a first night of passion under Faith's roof.
4"She who hesitates"24 May 1991 (1991-05-24)
Bill wants Faith to be spontaneous but comes to regret it.
5"Nursing a conscience"31 May 1991 (1991-05-31)
When Bill is taken ill, he learns that Faith's bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired.
6"The Late, Late Show"7 June 1991 (1991-06-07)
Bill is taught a lesson about family life, when Faith expects him to play the heavy stepfather.
7"A marriage of inconvenience"14 June 1991 (1991-06-14)
Bill and Faith decide to take the plunge and marry forthwith. But they find that such split decisions often have repercussions…

Series 2: 1992[edit]

# Title Airdate
8"Rebel without a Pause"3 January 1992 (1992-01-03)
Hannah wants to learn to drive, so it falls upon Faith to teach her.
9"Overtaken by Events"10 January 1992 (1992-01-10)
Faith thinks Joe should learn about contraception.
10"Health and Efficiency"17 January 1992 (1992-01-17)
With Faith away at a Health Farm, Bill decides on some home improvements.
11"The Rhythm of Strife"24 January 1992 (1992-01-24)
Bill cuts all his ties with his bachelor lifestyle when he decides to sell his flat to Liza.
12"Maybe, Baby"31 January 1992 (1992-01-31)
With Hannah and Joe growing up, Faith is getting broody.
13"Love and Hisses"7 February 1992 (1992-02-07)
Richard offers Bill the opportunity to launch Vista magazine in America.
14"Room with a queue"14 February 1992 (1992-02-14)
Hannah is leaving for University, and everyone has their sight set on her room-including the dog.
15"Foreign Exchange"21 February 1992 (1992-02-21)
Bill and Faith take in an Italian foreign exchange student, Gina (Nadia Sawalha) to stay in Hannah's room.
16"Recipe for Disaster"28 February 1992 (1992-02-28)
Faith is looking forward to having some friends over to dinner.
17"Affair Assessment"6 March 1992 (1992-03-06)
Bill has been working late to cover up for the adulterous Richard, and it is beginning to affect his home life with Faith.
18"Come as you were"13 March 1992 (1992-03-13)
The Office Party gives everyone a chance to meet. Meanwhile, Liza finds a new man.
19"Love, Honour and Delay"20 March 1992 (1992-03-20)
Bill and Faith attempt to marry again.

Series 3: 1992–1993[edit]

# Title Airdate
20"Sleeping Partner"18 October 1992 (1992-10-18)
Faith is shocked to find that Hannah has been sleeping with boyfriend.
21"Youth and Consequences"25 October 1992 (1992-10-25)
Faith has to face facts, mid-life crises don't just happen to other people.
22"Vice Principle"1 November 1992 (1992-11-01)
Faith's working life is disrupted when Bill decides to work from home.
23"Double Booked"8 November 1992 (1992-11-08)
Faith & Bill mark the anniversary of them becoming lovers.
24"Is Everybody Happy?"15 November 1992 (1992-11-15)
Faith does her best to repair Richard & Marjorie's relationship, but what about the deteriorating relationship between Bill & Joe.
25"Occupational Hazard"22 November 1992 (1992-11-22)
With Joe & Hannah leaving home, Faith looks forward to be home alone with Bill. But Bill has other ideas.
26"Hello, Goodbye"29 November 1992 (1992-11-29)
Bill returns from Germany, with high hopes for a romantic weekend...
27"Labour of Love"6 December 1992 (1992-12-06)
Bill struggles to come to terms with redundancy. Meanwhile Faith has a new job.
28"Short Change"13 December 1992 (1992-12-13)
Faith and Bill decide to downsize, but Hannah and Joe have other ideas.
29"Sobering Thoughts"8 January 1993 (1993-01-08)
Bill starts his new job working under Liza, and Faith starts a temperance drive.
30"Old Problem"15 January 1993 (1993-01-15)
Bill is keeping quiet about his birthday, and Joe keeps quiet about his new job.
31"Heartburn"22 January 1993 (1993-01-22)
Bill visits the doctor with stomach pains, and is told it's all down to stress.
32"Faint Possibility"29 January 1993 (1993-01-29)
Faith is concerned when Hannah faints at work.
33"Otherwise Engaged"5 February 1993 (1993-02-05)
Joe has second thoughts about marrying Louise, when glamorous Gina returns.
34"Management Decision"12 February 1993 (1993-02-12)
Bill & Faith's relationship is already strained, at that's before Bill is sent away on a weekend training course with Liza.

Series 4: 1993[edit]

# Title Airdate
35"Last Words"29 October 1993 (1993-10-29)
Faith is upset, assuming Bill & Liza have been having an affair, meanwhile Bill is suffering from alcoholic's remorse.
36"Into the Fire"5 November 1993 (1993-11-05)
Bill & Faith part ways, and the Bachelor life beckons for Bill as he moves in with Richard above the Wine Bar.
37"One More Time"12 November 1993 (1993-11-12)
Bill & Faith are back together-under new terms; Faith wishes to be romanced, and in return she'll impress him with her "domestic skills", whether he likes it or not.
38"Auld Acquaintance"19 November 1993 (1993-11-19)
Bill & Faith head for Scotland, to let Bill rediscover his roots.
39"Mr. Fixit"3 December 1993 (1993-12-03)
Faith & Bill decide on an extension, however their builder turns out to be full of advice.
40"Whose Birthday is it Anyway?"10 December 1993 (1993-12-10)
Faith is planning a Family Lunch for Joe's birthday, but fate, family & Liza have other ideas.
41"Playing away"17 December 1993 (1993-12-17)
Hannah takes a keen interest in a married piano player.

Series 5: 1994[edit]

# Title Airdate
42"What's new?"26 August 1994 (1994-08-26)
Faith is worried that Joe is depressed, however his spirits revive when Gina comes to stay.
43"Work Experience"2 September 1994 (1994-09-02)
Liza announces she is pregnant but whose the father?
44"She's Leaving Home"9 September 1994 (1994-09-09)
When Joe is arrested at a football match, Faith throws him out.
45"Mortal Thoughts"16 September 1994 (1994-09-16)
Bill attempts to persuade Faith to make a will, but she believes it's tempting fate.
46"Dress Circle"23 September 1994 (1994-09-23)
Bill is confirmed as Vista editor, but with Faith too ill to attend a important dinner, Hannah agrees to accompany him.
47"Sporting Chance"30 September 1994 (1994-09-30)
Bill is advised to take up golf, in order to impress the board.
48"Full House"7 October 1994 (1994-10-07)
Faith's god-daughter is getting married, she & Bill are invited as is Faith's ex-husband who she has invited to stay.
49"Friday the Thirteenth"14 October 1994 (1994-10-14)
Faith & Liza finally meet, but will it all end in tears.

DVD releases[edit]

All five series of Second Thoughts have been released on DVD. The first series was released in June 2005, but there was a 6-year gap before the second series was released on 11 July 2011. (During the gap, Network DVD was busy sorting out and planning release schedules on other TV shows.) The third series was released just 4 months later, on 7 November 2011, followed by the fourth series on 16 January 2012, and the fifth and final series on 5 March 2012, with a complete series set consisting of all five series together that followed.

DVD Release date
The Complete Series 1
6 June 2005
The Complete Series 2
11 July 2011
The Complete Series 3
7 November 2011
The Complete Series 4
16 January 2012
The Complete Series 5
5 March 2012
The Complete Series 1 to 5 Box Set
8 December 2014


External links[edit]