Close To Home, 1989

currently being repeated on Forces TV check listings for details!

Close To Home was an ITV sitcom that ran for two series between 1989 and 1990, running to nineteen episodes.  It was the sitcom with all the right ingredients: strong cast, good writer in Brian Cooke, but it failed to hit the spot.

The series was based on writer Brian Cooke’s US sitcom “Starting From Scratch”.  Indeed Close to Home’s central characters shared the same names as their American counterparts, the interior set design of the Shepherd’s house was almost identical as were many of the scripts for the nine episodes in Close to Home’s first series being largely based Cookes’s storylines for the U.S. version.

For the second series major changes were made.  A new writing team was put in place alongside a new producer and executive producer.  After changes to the production team further changes were made to story lines and settings with a substantial amount of location filming required for the city farm that would play a significant part in series two.

Perhaps the funniest character of this sitcom was veterinary nurse Rose.  One of those  great overlooked comedy creations .  During series one, episodes had a weekly running gag with Rose revealing a new and more unlikely revelation about her character’s back-story.  For series two the character became eclipsed as Rose becomes more a clownish figure who would invariably enter at unforeseen moments, wearing outlandish costumes which related to her almost mythical past experiences.

Summary

The setting is North London, James Shepherd is a vet and divorced father of two: daughter Kate and Son Robbie.

The series revolves around James Shepherd’s attempts to juggle life as the single father of two teenagers, while running a busy veterinary practice with the help of veterinary nurse Rose.  His attempts to find happiness with a new partner were frequently sabotaged by clingy ex-wife Helen.

In series one the setting is the Shepherd’s family home and stories revolve around domestic affairs and the vet’s practice with many a humorous incident arising from it.

For series two there’s a love interest for James.  Vicky who runs a city farm close to his practice.  This makes for more location scenes and changes the emphasis of the story away from the domestic situations of series one.

Clip

Sadly this is as near to a clip we could find

 

 

Cast

Paul Nicholas – James Shepherd
Angharad Rees – Helen DeAngelo
Jane Briers – Rose
Lucy Benjamin – Kate Shepherd
Andrew Read – Robbie Shepherd
Stephen Frost – Frank DeAngelo (series one)
Pippa Guard -Vicky (series two)

Details

Channel: ITV
Created By: Brian Cooke
Series Developed By: Perry Rosemond
Written By: Brian Cooke (7 episodes series one), remainder by various
Produced By: London Weekend Television
Original Transmission Dates: 1st October 1989 – 18th November 1990

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