1 9 8 1 – 1 9 9 1 (UK)
67 x 30 minute episodes
Simon Peel (Donald Sinden) and Oliver Smallbridge (Windsor Davies) contest a bitter rivalry in everything they do. Not only are they next-door-neighbours but also competing antique dealers (they used to be business partners).
Exacerbating their rivalry is the occasional appearance of Veronica Barton, the lady they both wanted in their lives.
Peel is divorced from his wife Stephanie and raising his son David as a single parent. Smallbridge is a widower raising his daughter Lyn.
In the opening episode, the children astound their respective fathers by revealing that they’re having a relationship and intend to marry (which they did in the last episode of the first series).
When the newlyweds emigrated to Canada (after series three) the writers contrived to have Peel and Smallbridge renew their business partnership, which lasted for three more series.
David and Lyn returned from Canada in series seven (with different actors in the roles) having produced a grandson, Martin. The baby, of course, introduced yet another feuding topic: who is the better and more doting grandparent?
Hereafter it was left to tried and trusted sitcom diversions to keep the kettle boiling – battles for the attention of women, burglaries in the antique shops, and so on – and the introduction of new characters, like Simon’s Aunt Eleanor, who came to live among the men in the town of Deveraux Dale.
This ITV comedy was originally written by Johnnie Mortimer. He eventually shared the writing with Vince Powell and John Kane (and occasionally Dick Hills).
Windsor Davies passed away in January 2019, aged 88.
Robin Kermode (1)
Christopher Morris (2)
Lyn Smallbridge/ Peel
Julia Watson (1)
Tacy Kneale (2)