Britain's longest-running sitcom, Last of the Summer Wine clocked up over 30 series, with the very last episode having transmitted in the UK in 2010, bringing to an end the programme's 37-year run. An affectionate comedy about people in the autumn of their years, the series is set in glorious countryside and packed with slapstick humour. It follows the hilarious misadventures of a trio of older men as they explore the world around them, experiencing a second childhood with no wives, jobs or responsibilities.
Follow the misadventures and mishaps of the staff, as well as various interludes with customers, of the retail ladies' and gentlemen's clothing floor departments of a fictional London department store called Grace Brothers. The antiquated Grace Brothers department store is the workplace of many memorable characters including pompous Captain Peacock, Mrs Slocombe (who sports a different hair colour every week) and camp, senior menswear assistant Mr Humphries. With its innuendo-laden comedy and penchant for slapstick, Are You Being Served? was a mainstay of 1970s television and has also found many fans in America.
Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced "bouquet") is a character with few, if any, saving graces. Her pompous, self-serving attitude makes life miserable for all around her. She goes to incredible lengths in her quest for perfection. Hers is a spick-and-span house. Her downtrodden husband, Richard, acts as chauffeur in their immaculately kept car. Their son has a superior name, Sheridan. Even the empty milk bottles sparkle on the doorstep after their obligatory rinse in the dishwasher. In marked contrast to Hyacinth's meticulously ordered life, however, the rest of her family are as common as muck and can always be guaranteed to show her up. Can she ever live down the disgrace?
Love gets a second chance - 38 years on - in this warm and witty comedy starring Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer as long-lost sweethearts Jean Pargetter and Lionel Hardcastle, who lost touch after a whirlwind romance in the early 1950s when he was posted to Korea. They reunite 38 years later when Lionel returns to England to write his memoirs, and Jean's agency supplies him with a secretary. Though both are free agents (Lionel is divorced and Jean is a widow), they are old now and set in their ways, so they don't fall into each other's arms. A few misunderstandings need clearing up, Lionel is dating Jean's daughter, and Jean has to fight off advances from Lionel's trendy young publisher Alistair.
When Father Peter Clifford arrives from Manchester, he knows he will be facing some opposition. After all, what is a young, inexperienced English priest doing in Ireland, of all places? He soon finds out that the town of Ballykissangel poses many more challenges. Rural village life is very different from the big cities. For a start, he needs to be able to drive if he is to get around. And then there are the local gossip-mongers - here everyone knows everyone else's business and a secret doesn't stay secret for long. Has this former inner city priest has bitten off more than he can chew? Contending with the long-established ways of the villagers and their eccentricities and superstitions is a full-time job.
Flora Thompson's charming love letter to a vanished corner of rural England is brought to life in this warm-hearted adaptation. Set in the Oxfordshire countryside in the 1880s, this rich, funny and emotional series follows the relationship of two contrasting communities: Lark Rise, the small hamlet gently holding on to the past, and Candleford, the small market town bustling into the future. Seen through the eyes of young Laura, their inhabitants endure many upheavals and struggles as the inexorable change comes; their stories by turns poignant, spirited and uplifting.
Written by Roy Clarke, Open All Hours is set in a small grocer's shop run by an uncle and his nephew, Arkwright and Granville. Among the heady company of Britain's top sitcoms, this series still sits easily as one of the best. Open All Hours takes the viewer back to a simpler era. Arkwright's pennypinching, shop-proud ways and lust for local nurse Gladys, combine for many a belly laugh and make this a very much loved comedy.
Jack-of-all-trades Jimmy Venables is probably the only man in Britain who gets divorced and ends up with his mother-in-law. That's not how he planned it, but since when does life go according to plan? When his ex-wife volunteers to go to East Africa to help the victims of a natural disaster, weekend-dad Jimmy agrees to take care of their two teenage kids full-time in an attempt to win her back. Unfortunately, his posh mother-in-law Diana sees Jimmy as the true natural disaster and virtually moves in herself to keep order, keep an eye on things and undermine Jimmy whenever possible.
Three generations of a family play host to customers at a seafront cafe in this warm and funny observational comedy series. Sarah's moved back home from London, having lost her boyfriend and her job, so for now she's helping out her mum Carol in the welcoming cafe. Divorcee Carol owns the place, and her mother Mary, a broad minded soul in her 70s, is a permanent fixture. Colourful characters pop in and out of the cafe, including old school friends like Richard, who secretly fancies Sarah and gets wildly jealous of the obvious attraction between her and John, a former clasmate who's returned to the town as a successful businessman.
Alec Callendar is a balding, small-town solicitor, with big-time dreams. His is a typically suburban legal practice, but privately he wishes he were more like his hero, Perry Mason. One day, into his life walks an angel, Zoe Angell, who has come to consult him about a divorce. On the face of it, an aging widower and a 27-year-old physical education teacher should have nothing in common. But a mutual love of old musicals and a whimsical sense of humor spark a romance which surprises not just Alec and Zoe, but also the entire office staff, his two grown-up children and the rest of their families and friends. Alec and Zoe fall deeply in love, despite seemingly endless pitfalls. Can Perry offer Alec any advice on how to handle an independent careerwoman of the '90s? If not, there is plenty of conflicting advice from everyone else.
Throughout the ages men of flair, faculty and outstanding courage have contributed to England's glorious heritage. Others, like the snivelling worm Edmund, Duke of Edinburgh (alias The Black Adder), the bitter and twisted son of a medieval king, have emerged from the dust of dodgy documents to claim their wrongful position in history.