Goodnight Sweetheart, 1993
From the creators of Birds Of A Feather came this BBC time travelling sitcom about an accidental time traveller who leads a double life after discovering a time portal allowing him to travel between the London of the 1990s and the same area during the Second World War. The series clocked up 58 episodes over 6 series between 1993 and 1994.
The series was an outside production from Alomo Productions for the BBC and was hugely popular at the time, winning Nicholas Lyndhurst Most Popular Comedy Performer at the National Television Awards twice in 1998 and 1999, for his his role as Gary Sparrow. Creators, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran wrote the first series with writing duties shared with a team of writers for subsequent series.
Michelle Holmes plays Yvone Sparrow in series 1-3 and for series 4-6 Emma Amos takes on the role. Similarly Gary’s 1940’s wife Phoebe is played by Dervla Kirwan in series 1-3, with Elizabeth Carling taking on the role for series 4-6.
Since it’s original run the show has been regularly repeated on Digital channels GOLD and ITV3. A one off special entitled “Many Happy returns” was aired in 2016 as part of the BBC’s landmark sitcom season.
In a 2019 interview actor Nicholas Lyndhurst was asked if he thought it would ever return?
He said: “The reboot we did was only ever supposed to be a one-off. It did (well in the ratings) and a readers’ poll was astounding, it was like 65% wanted it back, but the thing is with Sweetheart it was the last sitcom that they spent any money on.”
“So when we had an air raid shelter scene it was full of people and there were explosions and things going off and I don’t know whether they could do that or would want to spend that money again.”
Gary Sparrow is a disillusioned TV repairman, disillusioned with life, stuck in a boring marriage with his ambitious wife Yvonne, and best friends with Ron, a printer whose marriage is on the brink of breakdown.
However life is about to change as whilst on a TV repair call-out in East London, Gary accidentally discovers a time portal which leads to war time London. There he meets Phoebe, a pretty barmaid who works in the Royal Oak pub, and Reg Deadman, a dim-witted but friendly policeman.
As the series progresses Gary flits between both time periods, struggling to balance his two lives and keep Yvonne and Phoebe happy, getting tangled in webs of lies and deceit as he invents cover stories to explain away his constant absences to both.
If all this isn’t enough Gary eventually marries in 1940’s London and has son with Phoebe, whilst present day wife Yvonne suffers a miscarriage. In the final episode life for Gary changes for good when the time portal closes leaving him stranded in war time London for good and best friend Ron to explain to present day wife Yvonne what’s been going on.
Created By: Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
Developed By: Alomo Productions
Original Transmission Dates: 18th November 1993 – 28th June 1999