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After Henry

Prunella gives Joan's arm a tradingSYBIL FAWLTY lives one floor below the snooty one off PLEASE, SIR! and one floor above someone who looks and sounds like Lynda Day off PRESS GANG but, sadly, wasn’t. Except the biddy upstairs is actually her mum, and the tearaway downstairs is her daughter, and the gay bookshop owner round the corner is her best friend. Much moping and wordplay ensue. Granny obsesses about getting enough iron in your diet and the latest bit of gossip from Valerie Brown on the pension counter’s sister Mary. Mum cracks droll remarks and weeps about absence, through death, of titular husband. Sprog runs amok with crimpers and faded jeans. Studio audience unsure where the jokes are. [cref 8004 Began life on Radio 4], where perhaps it should have stayed.



  1. Applemask

    July 17, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Ended due to the deaths in 1992 of two main players: Joan Sanderson and Thames Television.

  2. Richard Davies

    July 30, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    My Dad really liked the radio version but wasn’t that pleased with Thames’s adaptation.

  3. Scattergun

    February 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Sybil actually lived above Snooty and below Lynda.

    For re-created schematics of exact internal layout and refurbishment of Dr Henry France’s house, please see my website, I’

  4. Andrew Barton

    October 15, 2021 at 9:32 am

    Thames changed the cast for the TV series.

    Obviously Prunella Scales and Joan Sanderson returned, but Thames felt Gerry Cowper (who would go on to be in EastEnders as Rosie Miller later) was too old to play Clare, so her role was recast. And Benjamin Whitrow clearly wasn’t available because Russell was recast too.

    That said, After Henry at least kept their same casts for radio and TV, unlike the later Brett sitcoms. No Commitments went through constant cast changes (except for Rosemary Leach, who was there for the whole run) and Smelling of Roses, which also starred Prunella, had to write out Arabella Weir due to commitments I believe with The Fast Show stage tour and a sitcom with Richard E Grant.

  5. Tom Ronson

    March 25, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    There’s an interesting (if somewhat niche) book to be written about the cyclical nature of sitcom commissioning. When the BBC broke new ground during the sixties with working class sitcoms such as Till Death Us Do Part and Steptoe and Son, ITV responded with the likes of On the Buses and Love Thy Neighbour, serving what the late and lovely Frank Muir (then head of comedy at London Weekend Television) called the ‘beans on toast audience.’ During the aspirational, Thatcherite eighties, there was a raft of middle class sitcoms on both channels – A Fine Romance, Ever Decreasing Circles, No Place Like Home, Don’t Wait Up, Three Up Two Down (with Michael Elphick and Ray Burdis as ‘bits of rough’ courting posh Angela Thorne and Lysette Anthony respectively) and, of course, After Henry. Even your man Lyndhurst from Only Fools and Horses got in on the act, donning a variety of comfy sweaters in the likes of The Two of Us and The Piglet Files. All that said, After Henry – whilst never to my tastes – does serve as a useful reminder of the days when Radio Four comedy wasn’t unrelentingly awful.

    • Andrew Barton

      June 18, 2022 at 8:56 pm

      Funnily enough, Angela Thorne of Three Up Two Down would later replace Nicola Pagett as Victoria on No Commitments.

    • George White

      June 18, 2022 at 9:53 pm

      Also the BBC then tried to recreate Steptoe with a now-lost series by Johnny Speight, Them about two tramps, even repeating the classically trained Irish thesp / Joan Littlewood veteran with Cyril Cusack and James Booth.

  6. Richardpd

    January 30, 2023 at 10:43 pm

    The BBC seemingly commissioned No Frills to make up for a TV version of After Henry slipping through their fingers.

    Kathy Staff played a recently widowed older woman who moves down to London from Oldham to live with her divorced daughter & teenage granddaughter.

    Unsurprisingly it only lasted one series, but was funny in places. Kathy didn’t seem to play her character much different from Nora Batty.

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