For the past 6 weeks our TV watching has just about been confined to the DVDs of As Time Goes By. We bought the whole series for Christmas. For those who don't know it, the stars are Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer. It is the story of a young subaltern and a young nurse who fall in love in 1952. He is sent to the Korean War and because a letter goes astray they lose touch. They meet again 38 years later and rekindle their romance. In 1992 when the series was first shown Geoffrey Palmer was 65 playing 58 and Judi Dench was 57 playing 55. When the last show was made in 2005 he was 78 and she 70.
What was so good about the series is how well it captured the mores of people of my age. Lionel is a grumpy old man who believes people should mind their own business but he has a sentimental streak. Jean is warm hearted but insatiably curious about other people. She fanatsises in every situation, he keeps his feet on the ground, even buried in the ground. They are surrounded by zany characters. Alistair, Lionel's publisher, has a superman complex and an incomprehensible mod vocabulary, and is courting Jean's daughter Judi - twice divorced and looking for commitment - not exactly Alistair's middle name. Jean's beautiful young secretary, Sandy, moves in with the old couple, which leads to problems over a shared bathroom, but gives Jean another lost sheep to care for. Sandy falls for a young policeman but has difficulty in keeping his mind off rugby. Penny, Jean's first husband's selfish and domineering sister, and her monumentally boring dentist-husband threaten to move next door. Rocky, Lionel's eccentric father decides to marry the even more eccentric Madge, who drives about in a pink Cadillac with bull horns. These parts were played by Frank Middlemass and Joan Sims, both sadly now dead.
Gentle, clean, and genuinely funny. If you haven't seen it buy the recordings.