The 1990’s is not always best remembered for it’s comedy output even though there were a few hidden gems to be had, Barbara being one such example.
After a pilot in 1995, as part of ITV’s Comedy Firsts series, it would be four years before in 1999 a series proper materialised. Achieving respectable ratings of 5-6 million average and winning awards the show ran for 3series totaling 29 episodes before being axed in 2003. The third series was shown in two blocks of six between 2002 and 2003.
The show was unusual in that there were a full team of writers behind it as opposed to the usual single or two.
Meet Barbara Liversidge (spelt Liversage in the pilot) a no-nonsense, outspoken, nosey, middle-aged doctor’s receptionist with a sharp tongue.
Married to husband Ted, a taxi driver, for 40 years; they live in Pudsey, Leeds, West Yorkshire. Their twenty-something lovelorn son Neil does very little. Their daughter, the long-suffering Linda is married to Martin Pond (Benson in the pilot). Martin is a chef in the pilot, while in the three series is a TV presenter who has his own show Pond Life on a local TV channel. Jean is her preening sister who is married to the simpering Phil. Barbara’s colleague at the doctor’s surgery is Doreen. Benedict Sandiford did not appear in the pilot. John Arthur did not appear in the pilot.
Gwen Taylor – Barbara Liversidge
Sam Kelly – Ted Liversidge
Benedict Sandiford – Neil Liversidge
Sherrie Hewson – Jean Nesbitt
Elizabeth Carling – Linda Pond
Mark Benton – Martin Pond
Madge Hindle – Doreen
John Arthur – Phil
Julie Atherton – Chrissy
Jean Alexander – Queenie Liversidge (Ted’s Mother)
Graham Mark Walker
Original Transmission Dates: 10th July 1995 (Pilot), 27th June 1999 – 4th April 2003 (series)