To the Manor Born


English     6.9     1979     United Kingdom


Sitcom about the love-hate relationship between upper-class Audrey fforbes Hamilton and Richard DeVere, the nouveau rich businessman who buys her manor house when she can no longer afford to keep it.


CinemaSerf wrote:
Fresh from her success in the BBC sitcom "The Good Life", Penelope Keith ("Audrey") is the lady of "Grantleigh" - a Gloucestershire stately pile she shares with husband "Martin". The first of the 22 episodes informs us that he has died, and that her world is about to be turned upside down. He squandered all the "fforbes-Hamilton" family money and she is going to have to sell up! The auction ensues and this estate, which they have managed for 400-odd years, ends up in the hands of a self-made millionaire Czech immigrant "Richard de Vere" (Peter Bowles) who made his money in supermarkets. Imagine - it's almost sacrilegious to her! Anyway, the remainder of the series' depict their constant sparring; she the superior, broke, aristocrat; he the nouveau riche upstart. Essentially a two hander, there are a couple of fun foils: "Marjorie" (Angela Thorne) her down-trodden best friend; her stoic butler "Brabinger" (John Rudling) and his mother, the wonderful Daphne Heard ("Mrs. Polouvicka") who has an old Czechoslovakian saying for every situation, and they all keep the well written comedy flowing well. It's a very British thing, this - I doubt if the humour will travel particularly well, but at the time up to 24 million of us watched their drama unfold. The combination of snobbery, pomposity and witty repartee from the pen of Peter Spence really clicks. The characters, gently stereoptyped as they are, work really well with a sophistication that endures still.