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Classic TV Comedy: To The Manor Born: S01 E03 – Rhythms of the Earth

31/03/2019

To the Manor Born is a BBC television sitcom that first aired on BBC1 from 1979 to 1981. A special edition appeared in 2007. Starring Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles, the first 20 episodes and the 2007 special were written by Peter Spence, the creator, while the final episode in 1981 was written by Christopher Bond, the script associate. The title is a play on the phrase “to the manner born,” from Shakespeare’s Hamlet (“Though I am a native here and to the manner born, it is a custom more honoured in the breach than the observance.”)

In To the Manor Born, Penelope Keith, who was known for her role as Margo Leadbetter in the suburban sitcom The Good Life, plays Audrey fforbes-Hamilton, an upper-class woman who, upon the death of her husband, has to move out of her beloved manor house to the estate’s old lodge. She manages, however, to keep her butler, and her much loved Rolls-Royce 20/25 motorcar. The manor is then bought by Richard DeVere (played by Peter Bowles), a nouveau riche millionaire supermarket owner originally from Czechoslovakia. DeVere and fforbes-Hamilton have a love-hate relationship which is eventually resolved in the final episode in 1981, in which they marry. In the 2007 special, they celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

The programme proved popular and it received high audience figures for many of its episodes, especially the series 1 final episode, the most watched British television programme (excluding live events) of the 1970s. In 2004, To the Manor Born came 21st in Britain’s Best Sitcom, a public poll to find Britain’s favourite situation comedy

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