|Index||5 reviews in total|
A sitcom about a widow, her mother and her daughter living in three
flats under one roof would never get made today - some producer with an
eye on the under 25 market would probably insist on it being three
young girls flatsharing. But back in the 80s, After Henry was the sort
of gentle yet clever sitcom that thrived on British screens. The
relationships between Sarah, Eleanor and Claire were so realistic you
could imagine they really were related, with Prunella Scales
successfully shaking off memories of Sybil Fawlty. Joan Sanderson as
Eleanor is the real star here though. Sanderson may have ended up
typecast as the slightly snooty, abrupt old woman, but like many
typecast actresses, she ended up that way because she played that part
The show seemed to be running slightly short on ideas in its final run, but was still well worth watching. Sadly, Joan Sanderson died just before the 1992 run was transmitted, so the decision over whether to commission a further series was made for ITV. In a way, this may have saved the show from an undignified end, as suburban sitcoms suddenly became very unfashionable in the recession struck early 90s. A shame really, as all ITV's attempts at 'modern' urban sitcoms were appalling.
I discovered this show by chance on a trip to Ireland and was exhilarated by its comic freshness and unexpected poignancy. The three lead actresses and one lead actor had terrific chemistry, and the writing could make you belly laugh and sob almost simultaneously. It is a mystery to me that "After Henry" has not made its way to these shores, where I'm confident it would join the top ranks of most beloved Britcoms. Are the programmers at PBS all dead in their offices at this point? They would do well to retire their endless reruns of jukebox "specials" and seek out savvy, unfamiliar programs like "After Henry." (If I hear "Amazing Grace" warbled just one more time, there will be havoc in Mudville.)
I enjoyed this show very much and only wish it would be running again. Very humorous with a good mix of characters. The lives of a grandmother, mother and daughter all living in a 3 storey flat. One of the Britian's BEST comedies ever made.
Television chiefs in Britain, desperate for new comedy ideas, seize on any
successful radio series. When it first appeared, the idea of three
generations of women under the same roof, and the sympathetic depiction of
gay man not in the first flush of youth were quite fresh. "After Henry"
something in the transfer to TV, possibly because on TV it made fewer
demands on the imagination. The cast, principally Joan Sanderson (qv) as
Prunella Scales's mother and Benjamin Whitrow (qv) as the bookshop owner,
were fresher, too.
The Bottom Line - 2.5 out of 5
"After Henry" is a mid-grade Britcom. Britcom fans such as myself will enjoy seeing Prunella Scales (Mrs Fawlty from "Fawlty Towers"), as she is a fine actress and does admirably here. However, the show isn't memorably funny, the premise of multi-generational households is a well-tilled one and there's little new here, and the remaining cast is mediocre. The general impression left on the viewer after several episodes is that it's a rather run-of-the-mill program.
As an American who loves Britcoms, I try to watch and rent all that I can find on telly and in vid shops. I don't have the luxury of comparing "After Henry" to the regular programming that British viewers see each night. My comments on the show are in relation to the shows I have seen. The best shows would include "One Foot in the Grave", "Blackadder", "Fawlty Towers" and "Red Dwarf". "After Henry" is clearly not in that lofty class, but is passable. You could certainly find yourself watching worse... and better.
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