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Ever Decreasing Circles

Ever Decreasing Circles“WE’RE RESPECTABLE PEOPLE, not the London School of Economics!” Best sitcom of the 1980s, beyond a doubt, still unfairly misremembered or simply maligned to this day. RICHARD BRIERS (Martin) lives perfectly-ordered, uber-anal life working for Mole Valley Valves, running 57 different varieties of youth clubs and social get-togethers and generally fussing about the upkeep of The Close. Married to PENELOPE WILTON (Anne) who finds him alternately insane and insatiable. Next-door class A cad PETER EGAN (Paul) is better than Martin at everything, including being nice to Anne. Other neighbours Howard and Hilda build wicker donkeys, sport matching sweaters and pop round for cups of tea. And that’s more or less it. Aside from lunatic pensioners, road protests, errant washing machines, Civil War re-enactments, referee controversies, cricket tournaments, snooker tournaments, the Open University, Neighbourhood Watch fraudsters and misplaced telephone receivers. From the magisterial pens of Esmonde and Larbey. “There’s a dead monkey in there!” “My God!”



  1. Matthew Rudd

    August 4, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    As sublime as sitcom has ever been. “I resign!”

  2. Applemask

    October 27, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    “Hello, Martin!”

  3. Matt Patton

    April 25, 2010 at 2:30 am

    Now the only television show my mother actively looks forward to every week, and I think she’s seen every episode but the Christmas special at least four or five times. And they’re just as funny every time. Not something you can say about SEINFELD.

  4. Lee James Turnock

    May 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Lemmy from Motorhead’s favourite sitcom. FACT!

  5. Matt Petty

    August 24, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I remember one episode which hinted at a bit of rather cruel schoolboy history between Martin and Paul. Or did I dream it?

  6. Paul Bovey

    February 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    This was the first thing I ever saw Richard Briers in so, for me, his defining role will always be Martin Bryce, rather than Tom Good. I love the episode where he’s been fooled into thinking he was unfaithful on a business trip abroad: “Can’t remember!”

  7. Mel

    February 22, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    When this was first shown I was in my early teens, and I hated it. I couldn’t understand why an unhappy man being taunted by his neighbour was funny, it just made me squirm. Now I can see it for the work of genius is really is. I would agree that it’s the best sitcom of the 1980’s hands down. Each episode is perfect, every one a masterclass in both acting and writing. I know why it’s not as fondly remembered as “The Good Life”, it’s not as easy going, at times it strays into something beyond comedy, but I’d take Howerd and Hilda over Margo and Jerry any day, Margo and Jerry never had a pollywallydoodle room.

  8. Richard16378

    February 22, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    I’m sure I would like EDC better if I saw it now, it wasn’t easy to find it funny when it was first shown.

  9. Paul Bovey

    February 25, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Yes, it definitely goes beyond comedy. Underneath the bland suburban existence there’s something tragic there, like One Foot in the Grave and the best Ayckbourn plays.

  10. Briers Forever

    February 26, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Just in case you haven’t caught it, the sublime Ever Decreasing Circles is being repeated every morning at 7am on Gold. EnjoY!

  11. scott fisher

    February 16, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I really used to look forward to watching this sitcom on a Sunday evening before school. Their is a dark edge to the humour which I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. Always remember being sad that Martin and Ann were moving to Oswestry in the final special.

  12. John Tate

    August 28, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Superlative at every turn ,seldom matched never bettered.

  13. Barbersmith

    February 11, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Notable for being the only time “I’m pregnant” has been properly affecting in a sitcom. OFAH, watch and weep.

  14. Sidney Balmoral James

    August 31, 2022 at 12:55 pm

    I wonder if this was to be re-run in full now people would approach in different spirit – with a good deal more sympathy / pity for Martin. Peter Egan certainly seems a bit creepy in early episodes, and obviously after Anne, something which was toned down in later series, when he was seen with girlfriends etc (one episode has Martin even catching him in bed with girlfriend when they are – in slightly unlikely turn of events – sharing a cottage). Richard Briers is good in everything – slightly unjust that someone like Nigel Hawthorne got lauded, and indeed, a knighthood, for basically one role, and Briers was never considered to be in the same league, although he played Shakespeare with aplomb. Peter Egan another underrated talent – would like to see him in another big role.

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