James Shelley, an educated, sardonic, permanently unemployed "professional freelance layabout," has many battles with authority, the tax-man, his landlady and his girlfriend Fran.

Creator:

Peter Tilbury
Reviews

Episodes

Seasons


Years



6   5   4   3   2   1  
1984   1983   1982   1981   1980   1979  
2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Romeo & Juliet (TV Movie 1978)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Two teenagers fall in love, but their feuding families and fate itself cause the relationship to end in tragedy.

Director: Alvin Rakoff
Stars: Patrick Ryecart, Rebecca Saire, Celia Johnson
Thérèse Raquin (TV Mini-Series 1980)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Based on the novel by Emile Zola, Therese Raquin is a tale of passion, obsession, and the psychological aftermath of an unforgivable deed. Recommended for mature audiences.

Stars: Kate Nelligan, Mona Washbourne, Brian Cox
Return of the Saint (1978–1979)
Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

This series chronicles the swashbuckling exploits of Simon Templar, a modern day Robin Hood of sorts.

Stars: Ian Ogilvy, Gayle Hunnicutt, Stratford Johns
Busted (TV Movie 1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Director: Jon Amiel
Stars: Alan Rickman, Michael Feast, Lorna Heilbron
Would I Lie to You? (TV Series 2007)
Comedy | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two teams, lead by their team leader (either Lee Mack or David Mitchell), have to try and make the other team believe their crazy stories.

Stars: David Mitchell, Lee Mack, Rob Brydon
Sykes (1972–1979)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Eric Sykes and Hattie Jacques play twins. They live together and lead a slightly surreal life, annoying their snobby next-door neighbour Mr Brown and getting into frequent trouble with the ... See full summary »

Stars: Eric Sykes, Hattie Jacques, Deryck Guyler
The Barchester Chronicles (TV Mini-Series 1982)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

When a crusade against the Church of England's practice of self-enrichment misfires, scandal taints the cozy community of Barchester when their local church becomes the object of a scathing, investigative report.

Stars: Donald Pleasence, Janet Maw, Nigel Hawthorne
Sweeney! (1977)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Hard-bitten Flying Squad officer Jack Regan gets embroiled in a deadly political plot when an old friend asks him to investigate the death of his girlfriend. Framed on a drunk-drive charge ... See full summary »

Director: David Wickes
Stars: John Thaw, Dennis Waterman, Barry Foster
Mesmer (1994)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A biography of the eighteenth century Viennese physician, Franz Anton Mesmer, who used unorthodox healing practices based on his theory of "animal magnetism."

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Donal Donnelly, David Burke, Peter Dvorsky
A Bit of a Do (TV Mini-Series 1989)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

This series was set in a fictional Yorkshire town and based on the books by David Nobbs, the creator of Reginald Perrin and Henry Pratt. Each episode took place at a different social ... See full summary »

Stars: David Jason, Gwen Taylor, Nicola Pagett
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

The murder of a Soviet defector forces his old handler, British spymaster George Smiley, out of retirement. His investigation leads to an old nemesis, the Soviet spymaster known only as Karla. This will be their final dance.

Stars: Alec Guinness, Eileen Atkins, Bill Paterson
The Return of Shelley (TV Series 1988)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Stars: Hywel Bennett, Andrew Castell, Caroline Langrishe
Edit

Cast

Series cast summary:
Hywel Bennett ...  James Shelley 39 episodes, 1979-1984
Belinda Sinclair Belinda Sinclair ...  Fran 29 episodes, 1979-1984
Josephine Tewson ...  Mrs. Hawkins 23 episodes, 1979-1982
Edit

Storyline

James Shelley, an educated, sardonic, permanently unemployed "professional freelance layabout," has many battles with authority, the tax-man, his landlady and his girlfriend Fran.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 July 1979 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Thames Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(39 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Comedy Connections: Drop the Dead Donkey (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Lay about with Shelley
31 July 2013 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

Despite their protestations ITV are not known for their sit-coms. It is usually a mirth fee zone but every now and then a gem is discovered and Shelly is a bona fide, premium grade comedy classic.

Hywel Bennett plays the over educated professional layabout Shelley whose mission in life is to avoid work and muse about life. It was anti establishment and anti Tory which gave it a political edge.

It had sharp writing and funny without resorting to knockabout comedy. In Hywel Bennett they found the perfect actor. Bennett was someone who was a rising star in the late 1960s but problems in his personal life meant he hit skid row in the early 70s and was out of the limelight until the late 1970s.

Shelley established him back to the forefront, he might had looked older and less baby faced than before but still attractive enough to make Shelley appealing enough to women and an everyman philosopher without turning to bombast.

Later series had to deal with issues when his screen wife left the show and had him musing to a tape recorder to his daughter now relocated to Canada. Some years later Shelly returned in new episodes, more wiser, more cynical but still funny as ever. A lasting tribute to Hywel Bennett.


8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed