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Sorry! (TV series)

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Title card
Black comedy
Created byIan Davidson
Peter Vincent
Directed byDavid Askey
StarringRonnie Corbett
Barbara Lott
William Moore
Marguerite Hardiman
Derek Fuke
Roy Holder
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series7
No. of episodes42 + 1 short
ProducerDavid Askey
Running time30 minutes
Original release
Release12 March 1981 (1981-03-12) –
10 October 1988 (1988-10-10)

Sorry! is a BBC television sitcom that aired on BBC1 from 12 March 1981 to 10 October 1988.[1] It starred Ronnie Corbett and was created and written by Ian Davidson and Peter Vincent, both of whom had previously written for Corbett on The Two Ronnies.

The theme music was composed by Gaynor Colbourn and Hugh Wisdom, arranged by Gaynor Colbourn and conducted by Ronnie Hazlehurst.


Sorry! is centred on Timothy Lumsden who, 41 years old in the first three series (his age increased to 42 and then 48 in subsequent series - Corbett was actually 50-57 during the series' run), is a librarian who still lives at home with his domineering mother Phyllis and henpecked father Sidney. Although quite shy around women, Timothy longs to find love and leave home, but Phyllis is always against the idea and constantly manipulates her son into staying at home. One of the catchphrases of the series is Sidney's "Language, Timothy!", typically said in response to something that has been misunderstood as inappropriate or offensive. Timothy usually responds "Sorry, Father", but sometimes snaps "Shut up, Father!", to which Sidney replies "fair enough".

Timothy's friend Frank and sister Muriel urge Timothy to stand up to his mother once and for all. Muriel had successfully left home and married Kevin, and so is viewed with distrust by her mother.


Barbara Lott, who played Timothy's mother, was only ten years older than Corbett.


Series 1 (1981)[edit]

Title Airdate Overview
"For Love or Mummy" 12 March 1981 Timothy Lumsden is a 41-year-old librarian whose mother won't let him cut the apron strings. He takes an attraction to Annette, a new member of his Amateur Dramatics Group, and is determined to take her to a dance aboard a river boat. After his mother puts all of his trousers in the wash, he has to wear a cat costume from a previous drama production, to attend the dance.
"Buttons" 19 March 1981 Timothy, who has been cast as the rear end of a horse in the latest production of Cinderella, is smitten with Vanessa, a woman who is friends with his casting director, even if it does mean he has to fight one of his rivals, Tiny Heseltine, to win her.
"The Godfather" 26 March 1981 After a morning trying to get rid of some bin bags, Timothy gives his godson, Gavin, some guidance about bullying. Gavin tells him about Duggie Bullford, who is constantly bullying him. Timothy is determined to settle the matter with Duggie's father.
"Bachelor Seeks Anywhere" 2 April 1981 Timothy is interested in an advertisement for sharing a cheap flat with a couple of girls. Can he reply to the ad without Mother knowing and can he persuade a singing tramp to leave the library?
"Does Your Mother Know You're Out?" 9 April 1981 Timothy's mother, Phyllis, wants him to paint the understairs cupboard for the meter man's next visit. But he is more focused on winning a bet with his colleague, Victor, that he will see Gone with the Wind with the library assistant, Caroline.
"Curse of the Mummy" 16 April 1981 The Lumsdens get a visit from Timothy's sister Muriel, to whom their mother refuses to speak because she disapproves of Muriel's husband Kevin. Muriel prevails upon Timothy to leave home and come with her and, helped by Timothy's best friend Frank, they escape. However Timothy's parents give chase and freedom seems very unlikely.

Series 2 (1982)[edit]

Title Airdate Overview
"Cromer or Bust" 22 April 1982 Timothy has booked a second honeymoon for his Mother and Father in Cromer, so he can have a party while they're away. All is slowly going to plan until Father has an accident with a barrel of beer.
"Perchance to Dream" 29 April 1982 Timothy is preparing for a job interview but has a recurring dream that the interviewer is his old headmaster, who wants to cane him. He visits a psychotherapist who tells him not to worry but to enjoy the experience of the interview. Unfortunately he enjoys it rather too much with an overly laid back attitude. And those dreams still persist with Mother replacing the headmaster.
"Sons and Lovers" 6 May 1982 Timothy is not pleased when his cousin Brinsley, who bullied him as a child, comes to stay, especially as Mrs Lumsden gives him preferential treatment, banishing Timothy to the attic to give Brinsley his bedroom. In fact she even tells Timothy to move out though fortunately the constant fussing over him is too much for Brinsley, who makes his own decision, thus negating the need for Timothy to emigrate.
"Great Expectations" 13 May 1982 When rich Aunt Esme visits the family, Timothy and his father are so embarrassed by Mother's attempts to get Esme to leave her her money that they sneak off to the pub but prang the car in the process. A shifty garage owner mends it at cut price, thanks to Aunt Esme, but since Mrs. Lumsden has reported the car stolen, the police give chase and there is a second accident before Timothy learns who will benefit from the will (it's not the Lumsden family).
"The Next Best Man" 20 May 1982 Frank will marry Jennifer but has asked his friend Richard to be best man - to Timothy's annoyance. However, after Timothy has indirectly caused Richard to break a leg, he gets his request with Mrs. Lumsden inviting the happy couple to tea. Timothy decides to sabotage the occasion though ironically, he is the one who also ends up with a broken leg.
"Could Do Better" 27 May 1982 The night before Frank's wedding, Timothy meets and gets on extremely well with bridesmaid Liz, who also has a restrictive family life and is accident-prone like himself. The next day, Timothy has to come to her aid but, as best man, has to get the ring to the church on time, and almost fails to make it due to a succession of mishaps. On arrival, he encounters disappointment and a lucky escape both at the same time.

Series 3 (1982)[edit]

Title Airdate Overview
"The Rabbit and the Pussycat" 28 October 1982 Timothy ends up becoming involved in a treasure hunt for a golden rabbit which is supposed to be buried somewhere close by.
"You're Going Nowhere" 4 November 1982 Muriel and Kevin invite Timothy and Freddie to stay the weekend with them to help their romance along. When Timothy's dreadful mother finds out, she pretends to be dying to coax Timothy back home.
"Bottom of the Class" 11 November 1982 Timothy is promoted from prompter to Bottom in the local dramatic society production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
"Spellbound" 18 November 1982 When the mobile library breaks down in the country, Timothy takes shelter from the rain in a barn where three elderly women tell his fortune.
"It Never Rained in Those Days" 25 November 1982 Mother's birthday is coming up again and it's time for the rest of the family to pay some suitable homage. Meanwhile, Timothy is obsessed with the fair Jean from Acacia Avenue but is too cowardly to approach her.
"The Big Sleep" 2 December 1982 After an accident at the tennis club, Timothy is taken to hospital where he wrongly believes that he is terminally ill.

Christmas sketch (1982)[edit]

Title Airdate Overview
The Funny Side of Christmas 27 December 1982 Sketch (6 minutes)

Series 4 (1985)[edit]

Title Airdate Overview
"My Huckleberry Friend" 28 April 1985 After Mrs. Lumsden complains that burglars seem to find her house too lowly to rob, Timothy meets Sharon, a young runaway living in a squat.
"Move Over Mrs Lumsden" 5 May 1985 Mother is aiming to be the Ladies' Luncheon Club chairperson and invites the influential Aurelia for dinner on the same night that Timothy is having a pianola delivered before going on a date - inevitably ruined by his mother. Muriel decides Father should live with her and Kevin.
"One of Our Naughty Bits Is Missing" 12 May 1985 Timothy tries to supply an adult book to the men's ward at the local hospital but chaos ensues.
"Confessions of a Jobbing Gardener" 19 May 1985 Timothy's mother is worried that his father is getting up to no good with a local widow.
"A Little Something Set Aside" 26 May 1985 Timothy's Mother finds out that he has a modest sum of money in his savings account
"Collapse of Small Party" 2 June 1985 After his parents are invited to attend the Chartered Accountants' Ball, Timothy decides to throw a party whilst they are out.

Series 5 (1986)[edit]

Title Airdate Overview
"The Primal Scene, So to Speak" 10 May 1986 Timothy accidentally finds out about an affair that a local businessman is having who ends up offering him a large amount of money and a book contract to keep his mouth shut.
"Every Clown Wants to Play Hamlet" 17 May 1986 Timothy has the role of prompter for the local amateur dramatic society's production of Hamlet, and he has his eye on the woman playing Ophelia.
"Bells for Uncle Barstable" 24 May 1986 There might be church bells ringing for Timothy and his piano teacher, Miss Clanger.
"Natural Wastage" 7 June 1986 Timothy is determined to prove that he can still be as lively as a kitten.
"My Family and Other Monsters" 14 June 1986 Timothy is challenged by his new girlfriend, barge-dwelling Fenella, to leave home and come away with her. First, he has to attend a family christening, to which he has accidentally brought a duck.
"It's a Wonderful Life, Basically" 21 June 1986 When Timothy wishes he had never been born, a Fairy Godmother makes his wish come true.

Series 6 (1987)[edit]

Title Airdate Overview
"A Chief Inspector Calls" 1 June 1987 Wuzzo, a convict Timothy has met on the prison library run, escapes and asks Timothy to bring his girlfriend Cilla to meet him - in the Lumsdens' shed.
"Dream Time" 8 June 1987 Timothy is rehearsing for Private Lives but is looking forward to his parents going to visit an uncle in Australia, which means that he can have time alone with the desirable Jennifer Blenkinsop.
"Amaze Your Friends!" 15 June 1987 Timothy attends a weekend self-assertiveness course but his mother suspects that he is staying with Jennifer and makes a fool of herself by going to Jennifer's house to accuse her. On his return, Timothy decides to put his new found confidence into effect, with surprising results.
"Gone, But Not Forgotten" 22 June 1987 Phyllis appears to have died in mysterious circumstances, but is there more to it, when Timothy will only inherit the entire estate if he doesn't marry for 30 years.
"Little Foxes" 29 June 1987 Timothy rescues an injured fox from the local hunt and after taking it to the vet, releases it back into the countryside. He manages to see through his mother's ridiculous lie that he and Jennifer are actually brother and sister.
"Do You Take This Man – And His Mother?" 6 July 1987 Every single detail has been arranged on Timothy's wedding day so nothing can go wrong.

Series 7 (1988)[edit]

Title Airdate Overview
"Mothers and Brothers" 5 September 1988 Muriel attempts to persuade Timothy that the only way to escape their mother's clutches is for him to buy his own home.
"Every Day, In Every Way" 12 September 1988 Timothy is given a lucky charm but he realizes in very little time that its powers in shaping his destiny are nothing compared to those of his mother.
"A Fool and his Money" 19 September 1988 Timothy is tricked after he runs into an old friend
"Flying Lessons" 26 September 1988 Timothy makes a date with the girl of his dreams but Mother finds a way to blackmail him into not showing up for their date.
"Winter's Tales" 3 October 1988 Mother makes one last attempt to clip his wings as Timothy stands on the verge of finally gaining his freedom.
"Up, Up and Away?" 10 October 1988 Timothy finally escapes his mother's clutches and leaves home to live with his partner Pippa.

DVD releases[edit]

The first two series of Sorry! were released on DVD under Playback Entertainment (Region 2, UK) in 2004. The DVD was put out of print in 2006, but the first series was re-released on DVD in 2007 under 2entertain & BBC Worldwide. It includes three audio commentaries by Ronnie Corbett. The second series was re-released in March 2008. The third, fourth, fifth and sixth series were released (for the very first time) on 2 August 2010 and 21 February 20 June and 26 September 2011. The seventh (and final) series was released on 4 June 2012[2] along with the complete set of 7 DVDs.[3]

In region 4, the first four series have been released.

DVD title No. of discs Year No. of episodes DVD release
Region 2 Region 4
Complete Series 1 1 1981 6 2 July 2007 12 September 2007
Complete Series 2 1 1982 6 17 March 2008 19 March 2008
Complete Series 3 1 1982 6 2 August 2010 8 October 2008
Complete Series 4 1 1985 6 21 February 2011 2 February 2011[4]
Complete Series 5 1 1986 6 20 June 2011 2011
Complete Series 6 1 1987 6 26 September 2011 201?
Complete Series 7 1 1988 6 4 June 2012 201?
Complete Series 17 7 1981–1988 42 4 June 2012 TBA


  1. ^ "BBC - Comedy Guide - Sorry!". Archived from the original on 4 April 2005.
  2. ^ "Sorry!:Series 7 DVD 1988". Amazon.co.uk. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  3. ^ "Sorry!: The Complete Collection (7 Discs)". amazon.co.uk. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Buy Sorry! - The Complete 4th Series on DVD-Video from EzyDVD.com.au". ezydvd.com.au. Archived from the original on 7 April 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2015.

External links[edit]