A Sharp Intake Of Breath, 1978

A Sharp Intake of Breath is an ITV sitcom that aired for 3 series that ran to 21 episodes from 1978 to 81, after a pilot episode in 1977.  When the series ended it’s star went on to take up quite a well known roll as Del Trotter in some BBC sitcom called Only Fools And Horses.

The opening titles featured cartoons by Mel Calman who was best known for his ‘little man’ cartoons that featured in the national newspapers from the 1950’s – 1994.  After writer Ronnie Taylor passed away in 1979, writing duties for series 4 were taken up by Vince Powell.


Peter Barnes is an ordinary man for who comes constantly  seems to come up against innumerable problems just in proceeds of everyday “getting things done”.

Whether it’s trying to secure a small loan to being a best man, life seems to hand Peter – and by extension, his wife, Sheila – more than his fair share of obstacles and frustrations.

The only thing certain is that whatever Peter’s trying to do or arrange, he will entail encounter a jobsworth whose instinctive response is a perfectly timed ‘sharp intake of breath’.





David Jason – Peter Barnes
Jacqueline Clarke – Sheila Barnes
Richard Wilson – various roles (series 1, 2 and 3)
Alun Armstrong – various roles  (series 1 and 2)


Channel: ITV
Created By: Ronnie Taylor
Written By: Ronnie Taylor (series 1-3), Vince Powell (series 4)
Original Transmission Dates: 28th July 1977 (Pilot), 28th February 1978 – 15th February 1981

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