Ever Decreasing Circles, 1984
Ever Decreasing Circles was the BBC sitcom that reunited Richard Briers with John Esmonde and Bob Larbey, with whom he had previously worked on The Good Life.
Running for 27 episodes over 4 years Ever Decreasing Circles was must see Sunday Night TV.
It was felt that Ever Decreasing Circles was much less brash than most sitcoms, even bordering on Comedy Drama in parts. This darker style comedy would continue into Richard Briers later projects.
Martin Bryce is an obsessive middle-aged man who is at the centre of his local suburban community. Married to Ann, he has a settled, orderly lifestyle. That is until he encounters their new next-door neighbour, ex-British Army officer and Cambridge Blue, Paul Ryman. In the words of Martin Paul is a “couldn’t care less, come on life….. amuse me, merchant”.
Paul does try to join in with the activities of Martin and his friends, but his fresh thinking causes Martin to see him as a rival, who might want to “take over” Martin’s self-appointed role as organiser.
Martin’s obsession with order and stability also leads him to get upset at Paul’s minor changes to routine, such as sitting at a different table in the local pub. A running joke throughout the four series is Martin’s insistence that the telephone receiver be placed a particular way on the cradle (this being an old-style telephone, where the receiver could go either way). Paul runs his own business, a hair salon, and later, a health studio.
Richard Briers (Martin)
Penelope Wilton (Ann)
Peter Egan (Paul)
Stanley Lebor (Howard)
Geraldine Newman (Hilda)
Written By: John Esmonde and Bob Larbey
Producer(s): Sydney Lotterby and Harold Snoad
Original Transmission: 29th January 1984 – 24th December 1989