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(1977–1981)

Trivia

"A Sharp Intake of Breath" came to an abrupt end in 1981 just as ATV lost its ITV franchise later through the year.
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It grew out of a single pilot, shown as part of "The Sound of Laughter" (ITV's answer to the BBC's "Comedy Playhouse") on Thursday, July 28th, 1977.
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Patricia Brake portrayed Sheila, his downtrodden wife originally. The role was subsequently played by Jacqueline Clarke of Dave Allen at Large (1971) fame.
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Each week, in an opening animated sequence, based on sketches by Mel Calman, we saw the show's title inside a speech bubble, which would then deflate, the air going into the mouth of a little potato-headed man, obviously intended to represent Peter Barnes.
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In a "News Of The World" interview published around the time of the show's third season, David Jason said: "I love old Barnsey. He's such an idiot." The show was devised and written by Ronnie Taylor, also responsible for the popular Leslie Crowther sitcom My Good Woman (1972). Other episodes were penned by Leslie Duxbury and My Partner the Ghost (1969) actor Kenneth Cope. When Taylor died suddenly, the third season was cut short. Vince Powell inherited the writing duties. Unfortunately, Powell's first script was a rehash of an old Bless This House (1971) plot in which Sidney James' character acquires a brand new company car. The shift in styles of humor was noticeable.
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After a patchy first series (further marred by some annoying canned laughter), the second tightened up the character of Barnes and, with its witty cartoons and chirpy Ken Jones signature tune, the show brightened up Monday (later Friday, then Sunday) evenings for the best part of five years. It ended abruptly when ATV became Central TV.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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