The Grove Family
The Grove Family is a British television soap opera, generally regarded as the first of its kind broadcast in the UK, made and transmitted by BBC Television from 1954 to 1957. The series revolved around the life of the family of the title, who were named after the BBC's Lime Grove Studios where the programme was made.
The programme was written by Roland and Michael Pertwee, the father and elder brother respectively of actor Jon Pertwee. As was commonplace in British television at the time, the series was broadcast live and very few episodes survive in the archives: only three of the original 148 episodes. One of the few surviving shows was transmitted on BBC Four in 2004. A film version produced in 1955 by the Butchers company, written by the Pertwees and starring the television cast, exists as an example of the series. The film was titled It's a Great Day.
In 1991, during a special day of programming transmitted on the BBC Two network to commemorate the closing of Lime Grove, a new edition of the programme was shown: a modern production of one of the original scripts with the roles filled by popular television soap opera actors of the day including Leslie Grantham, Anna Wing, Sue Johnston, Nick Berry, Sally Ann Matthews as well as Paul Parris and Kellie Bright.
Peter Bryant, who starred as Jack Grove, went on to become a script editor and producer on the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who. Christopher Beeny, who appears as a teenager in this show, later featured in Upstairs, Downstairs (1971–75), and actress Ruth Dunning (Gladys Grove) went on to win a BAFTA award for her work on Armchair Theatre.
In 1954, The Grove Family had drawn in almost a quarter of British people with a television. The huge success of the programme spread to the Queen Mother, who on a visit to the BBC remarked that the family was "So English, so real!"
- Edward Evans as Bob Grove
- Ruth Dunning as Gladys Grove
- Peter Bryant as Jack Grove
- Christopher Beeny as Lennie Grove
- Nancy Roberts (actress) as Gran
- Margaret Downs as Daphne Grove
- Sheila Sweet as Pat Grove