The gentle, ambling humor of this BBC comedy series is due partly to its fine dialogue and partly to remarkable performances from Oscar® winner Dame Judi Dench (Mrs. Brown, Shakespeare in Love) and Geoffrey Palmer (Mrs. Brown, Anna and the King). Jean (Dench) and Lionel (Palmer) attempt to rekindle a love affair abandoned during the Korean War, with charming and unforgettable results. In the couple's later adventures, Jean's sister-in-law moves in after mistakenly assuming her husband is having an affair, Lionel deals with Americans who want to "spice up" his script, and, oh yes, they're planning their own wedding. Series 6 episodes; CC, 2 hours 40 min. on 2 DVDs. (Series 1 and 2)
The fundamental things--engaging characters, impeccable performances, and witty, literate scripts--apply in As Time Goes By
, the beloved 1992 British comedy series starring Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer as former lovers Jean and Lionel. He is a divorced ex-army officer. She is a widow who runs the Type for You secretarial agency. They had "a great romance" during the Korean War, but they lost communication. Thirty-eight years later, the two run into each other again and rekindle what had been started so long ago. This series follows the two--along with Jean's twice-divorced daughter, Judith (Moira Brooker); Jean's assistant, Sandy (Jenny Funnell); and Lionel's young trendy publisher, Alastair (Philip Bretherton)--and takes a wry look at love among the youth and the more "mature." The first three episodes of the series introduce the slightly cantankerous yet vibrant characters, set up their history, and lay the groundwork for Jean and Lionel to tentatively circle around each other, trying to decide at what level they should continue their friendship, that is, if they should even continue being friends at all. Mixing modern romance with nostalgia for yesteryear, writer Bob Larbey and director Sydney Lotterby create a delightful comedy and a touching love story.
At the beginning of the series' second season. Lionel has written a dry memoir, My Life in Kenya, and reluctantly prepares for the book launch. As the date approaches, the tentative couple have a too-close encounter with Penny (Moyra Fraser), Jean's former sister-in-law, who invites them to spend the weekend at her country home. Finally, My Life in Kenya is published and Lionel steels himself for the book signing, while an anxious Jean buys up 140 copies herself. These episodes bring the second season to a touching and satisfying conclusion.