Butterflies, 1978

From the pen of Carla Lane (Liver Birds and Bread) came this clever sitcom about a frustrated housewife and her family.  Strangely, despite it’s popularity it was broadcast on BBC2.  Over four years it produced 28 episodes and four series.

In November 2000, the cast (save for Michael Ripper who had recently died) reunited for a 13-minute episode in aid of Children in Need.  The premise is Ria’s 60th birthday and the lack of change to her situation.

Many people see this as the forerunner to My Family.


Meet the Parkinson family, your everyday family, Father Ben is a Dentist and likes to collect Butterflies, the kids are like any other teenage kids, squabbling all the time.  Then there’s the Mother Ria, a frustrated housewife who feels her family take her for granted and therefore finds herself looking for that something more.  This she finds in the unconventional friendship with Leonard, a successful businessman.

The comedy comes from Ria’s poor cooking, family squabbles and Ria’s unconsummated relationship with the outwardly-successful Leonard.

Despite it’s age, this still stands out as very funny, even today










Ria Parkinson – Wendy Craig

Ben Parkinson – Geoffrey Palmer

Adam Parkinson – Nicholas Lyndhurst

Russell Parkinson – Andrew Hall

Leonard – Bruce Montague

Thomas (Leonard’s chauffeur) – Michael Ripper

Joyce Windsor played the house keeper


Channel: BBC2
Written By: Carla Lane
Original Transmission Dates: 10th November 1978 – 19th October 1983



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