I had not planned to write an entry about this delightfully clever British sitcom because it has been running on local PBS stations since… well… almost forever! (Also, it is not a mystery series.) I have a feeling everyone knows about As Time Goes By already. But I have gotten several letters from Cozy Mystery readers who have urged me to get the word out to those of you who may have never watched the show.
First of all, let me say As Time Goes By is one of my husband’s and my favorite shows. It is a character-driven sitcom with very humorous and touching dialog. I truly cannot adequately express what a good show this is. There is only one “negative thing” I can say about the show, which isn’t really negative, simply a word of caution: If you are not familiar with the show, you really need to watch it in its correct chronological order. I tried the show years ago by simply “dropping in” on it after watching another PBS show (Keeping Up Appearances) and I did not like As Time Goes By at all. This is why I am urging you to watch the shows in the correct chronological order.
As I said, it is a character-driven show. To enjoy the show, you really need to know the characters. When I tried to watch it out of sequence, I did not like the character who turned out to be my favorite character of the show. (I hope that makes sense!) I thought he was a caricature of a total idiot. Once I got to know him (Alistair) from the beginning, as the show introduced him and kept adding to him, I couldn’t wait until he appeared on the screen.
There are five characters in the show. The two main characters are Jean (Judi Dench) and Lionel (Geoffrey Palmer). They are two “more mature” people who were once each other’s first loves – many years ago. They meet quite by chance – and get reacquainted with each other.
Jean runs a secretarial agency which specializes in temporary placements. Jean’s adult daughter Judith (Moira Brooks) and Sandy (Jenny Funnell) work for the agency, and eventually move into Jean’s and Lionel’s home. (I know this sounds contrived, but it really does make sense if you follow the story line chronologically.)
The fifth character is Alistair (Philip Bretherton). As I mentioned, he turned out to be my favorite character in the series. Alistair is a very rich playboy who endears himself to the family. They (sort of) adopt him into the fold, even though he really doesn’t have much in common with any of them. (Did I mention he is VERY rich?)
As Time Goes By progresses through the years, and follows all five of the characters as their lives go through many different changes. I strongly recommend this very British sitcom. Great acting, terrific scripts, and delightful characters.