This gentle sitcom, written by Carla Lane, who later went on to write the Liver Birds and Bread, was undoubtedly the most successful vehicle for her style and I am pleased that Acorn Media have got hold of it for release on video. Ria, played by Wendy Craig, appears to be a very happily married mother with two teenage sons, and her husband Ben, played by Geoffrey Palmer, is a lugubrious dentist. His hobby is collecting butterflies, however, you could be excused for thinking that it is arguing with his sons, the thoughtful Russell and the ever cynical Adam

After 19 years of what seems to be ideal wedded bliss, Ria starts to think that she is being taken for granted and longs for some excitement in her life. This arrives in the form of Leonard, a handsome businessman who she bumps into one day, whom she dreams will sweep her off her feet.

The whole of this series has now been released by Acorn Media both on DVD and video and can be ordered, at a discount, from Choices Direct using the links provided on the right.

SERIES 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Series One.

The first series consisted of 6 half hour episodes, and was broadcast on Friday night at 9pm between the 10th November and the 15th December 1978 on BBC 2. With no official titles for the episodes, those given have been culled from various sources and watching episodes.

TitleTX DateNotes
The Two Meet10.11.78Volume 1
The Silence is Broken17.11.78Volume 1
Comtemplating Work24.11.78Volume 1
How About Lunch?1.12.78Volume 2
The Protest8.12.78Volume 2
He's Got To Go15.12.78Volume 2

Series Two.

The second series, roughly a year later, was a further 7 half hour shows, broadcast on BBC 2 on a Monday evenign at 9pm between 26th October and 3rd December 1979. There was also a Christmas Special broadcast at primetime (7.25pm) on BBC 1.

TitleTX DateNotes
Leaving26.10.79Volume 3
Fox Hunting5.11.79Volume 3
Worrying12.11.79Volume 3
A Dog's Life19.11.79Volume 3
Keeping Fit26.11.79Volume 4
An Attractive Visitor3.12.79Volume 4
Lunch10.12.79Volume 4
Xmas Special22 Dec 79Volume 4

Series Three.

Series Three finds Ria and Ben unhappy about Adam's choice of career and Ria seeking help from a television chef to improve her cooking, which astonishes the family. Ruby, the laconic cleaning lady, confesses that she has a kleptomania problem and Ria's birthday trip to London is full of surprises. Consisting of 7 half hour shows, this reverted back to BBC 2 at 9pm on a Tuesday evening between the 9th September and 21st October 1980.

TitleTX DateNotes
An Empty Cage9.9.80
Ruby's Crisis16.9.80
Problems, Problems30.9.80
Happy Birthday7.10.80
Give Me Shelter14.10.80

Series Four.

Ria, the supposedly happily married mother of two teenage sons and wife of the steadfast and reliable Ben, is forlorn when Leonard, her secret male admirer, goes to New York for six months. There is a temporary glimpse of accord in the Parkinson household when sons Adam and Russell finally sign on at the employment office, after living off their parents for two years and then secure a window cleaning round. Ria decides on a foolproof way to prepare dinner for her family and to stop the sarcasm - complete frozen dinners.

In this series Ben too has an admirer, and old university friend who openly flirts with him - much to his amazement. The Parkinsons spend a romantic weekend in Paris but are not prepared for what they find at home on their return. When Russell drops a bombshell the family unites in an effort to cheer him up.

The final series, three years after the last series, was broadcast between the 7th September and 19th October 1983, but was preceeded by a special short in a Christmas compilation a year earlier. The 7 episodes that comprised the last series went out at 9pm Wednesday evenings on BBC 2, but was not the final time Ria and Leonard were seen as in 2000, a short reunion took place on the Children in Need evening on BBC 1.

TitleTX DateNotes
Xmas Short27.12.8210 minutes
Cleaning Windows28.9.83
Break Up12.10.83
Loose Ends19.10.83