A Fine Romance

 

Highlights

  • British sit-com from LWT starring Judi Dench and Michael Williams
  • Winner of two BAFTA’s for Dench in 1982 and 1985
  • Created and Written by Bob Larbey
  • Theme song performed by Judi Dench
  • Series ran from 1981 until 1984

A Fine Romance is a British situation comedy starring husband-and-wife team Judi Dench and Michael Williams. Dench’s sister and brother-in-law were played by Susan Penhaligon and Richard Warwick. It was produced by London Weekend Television (LWT) and written by Bob Larbey. It was first broadcast on 8 November 1981. It lasted for 26 episodes over four series; the final episode was broadcast on 17 February 1984. The series takes its name from a song in the 1936 film Swing Time, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, which Dench recorded as the theme music.

Laura constantly dwells on her beautiful sister’s fairy-tale marriage while still retaining an attitude of a child, locking herself in cupboards when things do not go her way. Although immature and tending to fly off the handle, she assists Mike in organizing his struggling business, volunteering her time to type his correspondence and do the bookkeeping. Phil and Helen often regret ever bringing the two together, because they are nearly always involved in the couple’s squabbles. Overall, however, Mike and Laura find they cannot live without one another, though they are not able to put it into words.

The series involves Laura Dalton, played by Dench, a single, middle-aged translator who is somewhat socially inept. Her glamorous younger sister Helen, played by Penhaligon, who is first seen in Janet Reger lingerie, and her husband Phil (Richard Warwick) pair her up with Mike Selway (Williams), a shy landscape gardener. The story follows their awkward romance and insecurities. Bad luck seems to follow them everywhere, from the ferry to Calais to an attempted romantic evening watching television.

The series was nominated for nine BAFTA British Academy Television Awards and a winner of two, both for Dench’s performance in 1982 and 1985.

Episodes

Series One (1981)

  • 1.1. First Meeting (1 November 1981)
  • 1.2. Different Answers (8 November 1981)
  • 1.3. The Restaurant (15 November 1981)
  • 1.4. Unlucky In Love (22 November 1981)
  • 1.5. How To Avoid Bankruptcy (29 November 1981)
  • 1.6. Keep Them Apart (6 December 1981)
  • 1.7. Playing Games (13 December 1981)

Series Two (1982)

  • 2.1. A Helping Hand (17 January 1982)
  • 2.2. A Trip To The Dentist (24 January 1982)
  • 2.3. Was That A Proposal? (31 January 1982)
  • 2.4. The New Secretary (7 February 1982)
  • 2.5. Boulogne (14 February 1982)
  • 2.6. Furniture (21 February 1982)

Series Three (1983)

  • 3.1. Missing (4 November 1983)
  • 3.2. The Hotel (11 November 1983)
  • 3.3. The Dinner Party (18 November 1983)
  • 3.4. Business Problems (25 November 1983)
  • 3.5. Parenthood (2 December 1983)
  • 3.6. Extreme Measures (9 December 1983)

Series Four (1984)

  • 4.1. The Telephone Call (6 January 1984)
  • 4.2. In Hiding (13 January 1984)
  • 4.3. Mike’s New Girlfriend (20 January 1984)
  • 4.4. A Weekend Away (27 January 1984)
  • 4.5. Problems (3 February 1984)
  • 4.6. A Romantic Meal (10 February 1984)
  • 4.7. Happy Ever After? (17 February 1984)

All four series of A Fine Romance have been released on DVD by Network.

DVDRelease date
The Complete Series 123 January 2006
The Complete Series 217 April 2006
The Complete Series 314 August 2006
The Complete Series 416 October 2006
The Complete Series 1 to 4 Box Set6 October 2008

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