1 9 8 4 – 1 9 8 8 (UK)
52 x 30 minute episodes
Simon Harrap (Richard O’Sullivan), an executive at the ‘Eyecatchers’ advertising agency in London’s Covent Garden, found himself alone and in sole charge of adolescent daughter Samantha (Joanne Ridley) when his wife Ruth passed away (she had died when Samantha was three).
To help him cope, his snooty mother-in-law, Nell Cresset (Joan Sanderson), joined the household (and became a director of his company), and they also took on a housekeeper.
Initially, this was the goofy Scots girl, Maddie (Leni Harper), later replaced by fellow-Scot, the amiable but accident-prone Isobel (Sandra Clarke).
Humour came from Simon’s attempts to set an example and to keep Samantha on the straight and narrow (particularly with regard to homework and boys) while at the same time failing to curb his own gallivanting and recklessness.
His friend, brother-in-law and business partner was the heavily married-with-three-kids Derek Yates (Tim Brooke-Taylor), and Liz (Joanne Campbell) was his secretary.
The swift production of the first three series (26 episodes were screened within 16 months) was a response to the fear within the production team that Joanne Ridley would outgrow the early teenage role.
As nature did indeed take its expected course, later episodes depicted Sam as more mature, gaining independence in her movements and relationships.
The series was created by Keith Leonard and adapted for television by John Kane. Episodes were written by Kane with Bernard McKenna and Colin Bostock-Smith.
The theme song was sung by Peter Skellern.