TV Cream

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PERENIALLY KNOCKED yet persistently nifty sitcom warhorse blessed with one of the greatest TV themes ever (wah-wah guitar…tooting saxophone…synth drums…weird bbbaaaooooowwww sounds – this had everything) and constituting a sterling second source of income for RONNIE CORBETT. Timothy Lumsden (sporting, in retrospect ill-advisedly, permed hair) works in a library, rides and moped and still lives at home with battleaxe matriachal monster Phyllis (BARBARA LOTT, and she did) and simpering under-the-thumb father Sidney (WILLIAM MOORE, and we didn’t). And that was it. Tim tries to find a steady girlfriend. His mum cocks it up. Eggy soldiers for breakfast. “Mother, I’m 47!” Sister Muriel shaking her head in pity. “Language Timothy!” “Sorry father”. Pints of bitter down the uber-sitcom local with best mate Frank. Appalling cooking. Equally appalling pop culture references. Sappy girlfriends called Jennifer. Finally ended with our man fleeing the family bosom and marrying Pippa, last shot capturing Ron making a Thelma and Louise-esque jump betwixt tenth-floor hotel balconies.



  1. Glenn A

    June 19, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    I really enjoyed this as a teenager. Stand out episodes are the ones where Timothy escapes from home and is pursued by his parents in a Morris Minor and where he mixes up his girlfriend with a near double who happens to be a karate black belt and puts him in hospital. Cynics hated it, but it was quite amusing and proved Ronnie Corbett could work away from Ronnie Barker.

  2. Richard16378

    July 4, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Could be a bit silly at times, but great fun to watch in the right frame of mind.

    The neon pinball machine-ish title sequence worked will with the reggae-lite theme.

  3. Dave Nightingale

    July 4, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    You might appreciate this…some one’s only gone and remixed it!

  4. Anatole

    October 24, 2018 at 4:59 am

    My fav sitcom from the 80s but it feels like it’s fallen off the face of the earth. Can anyone point in the direction of ‘looks back’, critical analysis, etc online? I’d love to know more about its production and reception, particularly when daughter Muriel calls her mom Phyllis a stereotype (clearly responding to off-screen criticism)… how much Freud the screenwriters read… and, since I just watched it, S04E01, an episode strangely off-kilter with the rest of the series, when Tim meets a runaway teenage girl. Some slightly creepy overtones (it’s not clear if he wants to help her or run away with her), he returns her to her physically abusive father, and his back-and-forth with Phyllis sounds cruel rather than plaintive. It’s the only time in the entire series I felt sorry for her.

    Anyhow, highly recommendable!

  5. richardpd

    October 24, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    We were lucky to get some repeats on BBC4 a few years ago, but this is yet another sitcom that was “big in the day” but is almost forgotten now apart from the odd person saying “language Timothy!” when someone swears.

    • Glenn Aylett

      October 25, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      @ richardpd, Sorry never enjoyed the sort of critical acclaim the other Ronnie’s work did. It was seen as a moderately amusing suburban sitcom that seemed to suit Ronnie Corbett, as he was a small,henpecked man living with a dragon of a mother and a bozo of a father, a role that somehow Ronnie Barker wouldn’t have been suited to. Not a classic in the way Porridge was, but Sorry was one of those middle of the road sitcoms that was neither great nor bad. Also have to like it for the theme tune and the neon graphics of Ronnie C’s face.

  6. richardpd

    October 26, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    In the later years there seemed to be a lot of slightly surreal set pieces, a sort of cross beteween the ones on Terry & June (Beefburger on a record player!) & Father Ted “very lite”. The earlier ones didn’t

    Ones include Timothy accidentality burying his sandwiches & taking a dead goldfish into work (both were in the same type of box!), an inflatable Loch Ness Monster expanding in Timothy’s Mum’s car, a music box being mistaken for a petrol bomb, & Timothy smashing up a load of piggy banks with a Shillelagh to see what money was inside.

  7. Glenn Aylett

    October 27, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Another surreal episode, the one where Timothy dreams he’s back in school in the 1950s and his mother finds a school report he has hidden since 1954, as it wasn’t very good. A recurrent joke was the capital of Tanganyika. Again, Sorry! could be both surreal and amusing at the same time, and I prefer these episodes to the more mundane ones where Timothy’s having girlfriend trouble.
    If I was to give Sorry! a grade, I’d give it the equivalent of the old O level pass, grade B, good but not outstanding.

  8. richardpd

    October 27, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Another surreal one was like “It’s A Wonderful Life” where Timothy passes out after helping to push someone’s car off a level crossing, then dreams he was never born & his parents don’t recognise him.

    A B grade sounds fair.

  9. Tom Ronson

    March 30, 2022 at 2:53 am

    Always wondered what the deal was with the jazzy theme tune and the neon-effect opening titles. Timothy was a librarian, he didn’t work in a Soho strip club.

  10. Richardpd

    March 30, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    Supposedly the theme was commissioned for an urban drama (I presume to replace Empire Road) which was dropped, but I presume the BBC didn’t want to let it go to waste.

  11. Sidney Balmoral James

    March 30, 2022 at 11:15 pm

    Richardpd’s earlier comment is spot on – people still say ‘Language, Timothy!’ and I suspect some don’t even know why! A bit like ‘Meredith, we’re in’, which people were still saying when I was little, even though it dates back to an ancient music hall sketch about bailiffs. I’ve not heard anyone say ‘Get on with it!’ on a long time – but it was common enough when Saint Derek Griffiths was still on TV. We used to say it as children all the time. Mind you, we also used to say ‘I could crush a grape’, but I don’t think that is likely to be on everyone’s lips these days (and while I’m on the subject, how weird is it that Stu Francis and Stewart Francis look so similar?)

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