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Radio 4: The Programmes

After Henry

Sanderson and Scales relax between batches of eight hundred and fifty million episodesPHENOMENALLY successful Simon Brett-penned suburban smugathon sitcom in which three housesharing female generations of the same family – played by Joan Sanderson, Prunella Scales and Gerry Cowper – struggled to adjust to life without the titular ‘Henry’, marked out by an early sympathetic portrayal of a ‘gay’ character (not that he did very much ‘gay’ on Radio 4, mind). The BBC passed on a TV version, for some reason, so it was left to Thames to make it a primetime hit for the ‘other side’, albeit with Janine Wood replacing the older-than-she-was-playing Cowper.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Richard Davies

    September 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    My Dad liked this but didn’t really get into the TV version.

    A few BBC Radio comedies have been snapped up by ITV for the TV version.

    • Andrew Barton

      October 16, 2021 at 5:41 pm

      Yep, Up The Garden Path was another BBC Radio comedy picked up by ITV.

      Most of the radio cast was retained for TV (Imelda Staunton, Neil McCaul, Mike Grady, Nicholas Le Prevost, Rene Zagger and David Robb all reprised their roles), but Marty Cruickshank’s role of Maria was recast with Tessa Peake Jones, Phyllida Nash’s role of Louise was recast with Susan Kyd, and the Gwyn role was recast for television with Tom Mannion.

  2. Andrew Barton

    October 16, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    Benjamin Whitrow was unavailable to play Russell in the TV version, so the role, like the Clare one, was recast with Jonathan Newth.

    At least After Henry retained the same cast for the TV and radio versions compared to Simon Brett’s later sitcoms. Except for Rosemary Leach, No Commitments suffered from constant cast changes- the character of Delia disappeared after the 1st series due to Maxine Audley’s death, Victoria was recast with Angela Thorne for the rest of the run after series 5 due to Nicola Pagett’s personal issues, and work commitments saw the characters of Emily, Roger and Charlotte recast. In the cases of Roger and Charlotte, pretty annoying, as it was an actor one minute then recast the next.

    Smelling of Roses suffers the same problem – Duncan Preston and Annette Badland were in it infrequently due to work schedules,and Arabella Weir doesn’t even feature in Series 3 (and possibly the final series) due to doing the Fast Show stage tour and the sitcom Posh Nosh with Richard E Grant.

    This is probably why After Henry seems to be well remembered, while No Commitments and Smelling of Roses (which also starred Prunella) made little impression.

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