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As Time Goes By (TV series)

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Written by
Bob Larbey

Country of origin
United Kingdom

Final episode date
11 August 2002


Created by
Directed by
First episode date
12 January 1992

As Time Goes By (TV series) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners184357p184357

Situation comedy, romance

Judi DenchGeoffrey PalmerMoira BrookerPhilip BrethertonJenny FunnellJoan SimsFrank MiddlemassMoyra FraserPaul ChapmanJanet HenfreyTim Wylton


As Time Goes By is a British romantic sitcom which aired on BBC One from 1992 to 2005, running for 9 series and 3 specials (running time 45, 50 and 60 minutes), and is currently being aired in the UK on the "Drama" channel at 19.20pm to 8pm as of January 2017. It is the second back to back rerun on the channel due to its popularity.


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Starring Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer, it follows the relationship between two former lovers who meet unexpectedly after not having been in contact for 38 years.

As Time Goes By (TV series) As Time Goes By TV series Wikipedia

The programme's original working title had been Winter with Flowers (from the German proverb "An old man loved is winter with flowers") but was changed during its first day of filming due to the cast's protestations. The new title was taken from the 1931 Herman Hupfeld song "As Time Goes By", which was used as the title music, the recorded version by Joe Fagin.The same song was also used for the movie Casablanca in 1942.

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The show was created by Colin Bostock-Smith, but written by Bob Larbey, who had co-written The Good Life with John Esmonde. In 2004, As Time Goes By was ranked #29 in Britain's Best Sitcom.

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The series was produced by Theatre of Comedy Entertainment, in association with DLT Entertainment Ltd. for the BBC.


As Time Goes By (TV series) Amazoncom As Time Goes By Complete Original Series Judi Dench

  • Jean Mary Hardcastle (née Pargetter, previously Hanson) (Judi Dench) – Judith's mother who later becomes Lionel's wife.
  • Lionel Hardcastle (Geoffrey Palmer) – Jean's husband and Rocky's son.
  • Judith "Judi" Deacon (née Hanson) (Moira Brooker) – Jean's daughter, and Sandy's best friend, later Alistair's wife.
  • Alistair Deacon (Philip Bretherton) – Initially publisher of Lionel's book, then Judith's husband.
  • Sandy Edwards (Jenny Funnell) – Jean's secretary and receptionist, Judith's best friend and later Harry's wife.
  • Penny Johnson (née Hanson) (Moyra Fraser) – Jean's sister-in-law (from Jean's first marriage to David).
  • Stephen Johnson (Paul Chapman) – Penny's husband.
  • Harry (David Michaels and Daniel Ryan) – Sandy's husband.
  • Mrs. Bale (Janet Henfrey) – Hardcastle country home housekeeper.
  • Lol Ferris (Tim Wylton) – Hardcastle country home gardener.
  • Richard "Rocky" Hardcastle (Frank Middlemass)- Lionel's irrepressible father who owns a country home in the Hampshire Countryside, alongside a vast fortune.
  • Madge Darbley- Hardcastle (Joan Sims)- Rocky Hardcastle's wife, 7 years his junior. Due to the death of actress Joan Sims in 2001, two years ahead of the filming of the reunion specials, she is explained away as having become an archaeologist in Egypt.
  • In the March 2011 PBS pledge drive programming special Behind the Britcoms: from Script to Screen hosted by cast members Moira Brooker and Philip Bretherton, the series creator/producer revealed that Jean Simmons had declined the first offer of the role of Jean (which was written with her in mind) due to her reluctance to uproot her life—specifically mentioning her dogs, garden, and family—in California.


    Second Lieutenant Lionel Hardcastle (Geoffrey Palmer) and Middlesex Hospital nurse Jean Pargetter (Judi Dench) met in the summer of 1953 and fell head over heels in love, calling her "Pooh", but then Lionel was posted to Korea. He wrote, but Jean didn't receive his letter (it becomes a topic in a later episode). Because of this mix-up, each assumed the other had lost interest. After his war service Lionel emigrated to Kenya, became a coffee planter, and married Margaret, whom he later divorced on grounds of "mutual boredom". Some time after his divorce he returned to England. Meanwhile, Jean had also married and bore one child, Judith (Moira Brooker). After her husband's death, Jean opened Type for You, a secretarial agency. Her daughter Judith, 32 years old during the series, is twice divorced (from Ken, who had "sad eyes", and Edward, who was "very clever") and, during most of the series, lives with her mother and also works at the secretarial agency.

    Lionel, now writing his memoir, hires a typist through Type for You, unaware that Jean owns the agency. His and Jean's awareness of each other occurs as Lionel picks up Judith for a dinner date. Although Lionel's and Jean's reunion is full of missteps and miscues, their romance gradually rekindles. In the third season, Lionel moves into Jean's house in Holland Park, London; they marry during the following season.

    In the first season Judith develops a crush on Lionel while Lionel's publisher, Alistair Deacon (Philip Bretherton), who likes to call her "Lovely Lady", takes a similar interest in Jean. Both crushes are brief; eventually Judith and Alistair fall for each other and, in the final season, marry. Other story arcs feature Lionel being asked to write an American TV mini-series, Just Two People, based on his early romance with Jean. The mini-series fails after much rewriting and network interference. Jean eventually retires from Type for You and later volunteers at a charity shop.

    Jean's very efficient secretary, and Judith's best friend, is Sandy (Jenny Funnell), who eventually moves in with the Hardcastles after splitting with her boyfriend Nick. After Jean's retirement, Judy and Sandy become co-managers of Type for You. Sandy dates Harry (David Michaels, later replaced by Daniel Ryan), a policeman and rugby player, whom she marries at the end of the series.

    Other notable characters include Lionel's irrepressible father, Rocky whose favorite saying is to "Rock On".(Frank Middlemass), who owns a large country house in Hampshire which he later gives to Lionel; the housekeeper, Mrs. Bale (Janet Henfrey), who has an unusual interest in the Shipping Forecast, and gives exact times that meals are ready, and the gardener, Lol Ferris (Tim Wylton), who says Jean is a "tender woman". (In the early seasons of the show, Lionel received news from Rocky's physician that his father was dying and had less than a year to live. But this plotline was dropped and Rocky continued to appear throughout the show's later seasons, including the final "Reunion Special" in 2005.)

    Rocky marries Madge (Joan Sims), as much a character as Rocky is, when he is 85 and she is 78. They travel the world, listen to country music, tool about in Madge's classic convertible (with steer horns on the grille), and hang out at the local pub, where Madge sings. In Series Nine, Madge is mentioned as being on an archaeological dig in Egypt; in reality Joan Sims died before filming began. Jean's first husband's neurotic sister Penny (Moyra Fraser), who always calls Jean "poor Jean", and Penny's flaky dentist husband, Stephen (Paul Chapman), who once accidentally declined the OBE, also make many appearances.


    The programme ran for nine series, from 12 January 1992 to 4 August 2002. Nearly every episode was thirty minutes long. The final series episode was followed by an hour-long compilation show on 11 August 2002, and by a two part "Reunion Special" broadcast on 26 and 30 December 2005. The reunion specials were the last appearance of Frank Middlemass, who played Rocky, before his death in 2006. Actress Joan Sims died in 2001 and the role of Rocky's wife, Madge Darbley-Hardcastle, was not recast; in Series Eight it is mentioned that she is away participating in an Egyptian archaeological dig.

    International broadcasts

    As Time Goes By has appeared in the United States on BBC America, and has been running weekly on PBS almost continuously since the early 2000s, with various cast members appearing on its perennial pledge drives. It has run in Canada on BBC Canada and TVOntario, in Australia on ABC 7TWO and 9Gem, in New Zealand on both UKTV and SKY Network Television, in Finland on YLE TV1, and on DSTV in Nigeria. RTÉ One has broadcast the series in Ireland repeatedly. It has been broadcast by Gold for viewers in the UK and Ireland as of 2010, and by UKTV in Australia as of 2011.


    As Time Goes By was adapted and recorded for radio. Three series were broadcast on BBC Radio 2 between 1997 and 1999. The first episode included a flashback to Jean and Lionel 38 years before, something that never happened on television. All episodes correspond to a TV episode and featured the original cast, apart from the original actor from the television program (Bretherton) not playing Alistair in Series One – Bretherton did play Alistair in both Series Two and Three. So far, only the first series has been released on BBC audio cassette. Series One was repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra from December 2014 to January 2015.

    DVD releases

    In Region 1 in North America the complete series has been released in individual sets and as a complete series from BBC Video. In the United Kingdom on Region 2, the series has been released several times; Universal Playback released the first four series on VHS and DVD format, with 2 Entertain acquiring the rights to release the remaining series on DVD, and additionally re-releaseing the Series one to four and a complete collection on DVD. Cinema Club acquired the right to release the complete series over two sets, with the first containing Series One to Four and the following set containing Series Five to Nine. Acorn Media has released to 'The Reunion Specials' on DVD. In Australia on Region 4, the complete series has been released as individual sets and as a complete collection.

    North America

  • Series 1 & 2 – released 17 September 2002 / re-released 30 August 2005 (2-disc set)
  • Series 3 – released 17 September 2002 / re-released 30 August 2005 (2-disc set)
  • Series 4 – released 2 April 2002 / re-released 30 August 2005 (2-disc set)
  • Series 5 – released 2002 / re-released 30 August 2005 (1-disc set)
  • Series 6 – released 2002 / re-released 30 August 2005 (1-disc set)
  • Series 7 – released 2002 / re-released 30 August 2005 (1-disc set)
  • Series 8 & 9 – released 2003 / re-released 30 August 2005 (2-disc set)
  • You Must Remember This – released 30 September 2003 / re-released 30 August 2005 (1-disc set)
  • The Reunion Specials – released 10 January 2006 (1-disc set)
  • Complete Original Series – released 30 August 2005 (11-disc set)
  • United Kingdom

  • Series 1 & 2 – released 17 March 2003 (3-VHS set / 3-DVD set distributed by Universal Playback)
  • Series 3 – released 25 October 2004 (3-VHS set / 3-DVD set distributed by Universal Playback)
  • Series 4 – released 21 February 2005 (1-VHS set / 1-DVD setdistributed by Universal Playback)
  • Series 1 – re-released 5 February 2007 (1-DVD set distributed by 2 Entertain)
  • Series 2 – re-released 5 February 2007 (1-DVD set distributed by 2 Entertain)
  • Series 3 – re-released 5 February 2007 (2 DVD set distributed by 2 Entertain)
  • Series 4 – re-released 5 February 2007 (2-DVD set distributed by 2 Entertain)
  • Series 5 – released 24 October 2005 (1-DVD set distributed by 2 Entertain)
  • Series 6 – released 20 January 2006 (1-DVD set distributed by 2 Entertain)
  • Series 7 – released 20 March 2006 (1 DVD set distributed by 2 Entertain)
  • Series 8 – released 22 May 2006 (1 DVD set distributed by 2 Entertain)
  • Series 9 – released 21 August 2006 (1 DVD set distributed by 2 Entertain)
  • The Complete Series 1–4 – released 11 September 2006 (6-DVD set distributed by Cinema Club)
  • The Complete Series 5–9 – released 2 October 2006 (5-DVD set distributed by Cinema Club)
  • The Reunion Specials – released 16 July 2012 (1-DVD set distributed by Acorn Media)
  • Complete Series 1–9 – released 2 November 2015 (11-DVD set distributed by 2 Entertain)
  • Australia

  • As Time Goes By – Series 1 and 2 (2 Disc Set)
  • As Time Goes By – Series 3 and 4 (3 Disc Set) – 10 November 2004
  • As Time Goes By – Series 5 and 6 (2 Disc Set) – 7 April 2005
  • As Time Goes By – Series 7 and 8 (2 Disc Set) – 6 October 2005
  • As Time Goes By – Series 9 - 9 August 2004
  • As Time Goes By – Series 1–9: Collectors Edition (11 Disc Box Set) – 6 October 2006
  • References

    As Time Goes By (TV series) Wikipedia

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