Ever Decreasing Circles, 1984

After the success of The Good Life each of the actors would go on to have success in their own projects.  Ever Decreasing Circles was written for Richard Briers reuniting him with John Esmonde and Bob Larbey, with whom he had previously worked on The Good Life.

Running for twenty seven episodes over four series, Ever Decreasing Circles was must see Sunday Night TV.  After four series it bowed out in 1989 with a feature length Christmas Special

It was felt that Ever Decreasing Circles was  much less brash than most sitcoms, even bordering on Comedy Drama in parts.


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.

Paul runs his own business, a hair salon, and later, a health studio.  He 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” his self-appointed role as organiser.  Martin looks upon Paul as a “couldn’t care less, come on life….. amuse me, merchant”.

Martin’s obsession with order and stability 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)







Martin Bryce – Richard Briers
Ann Bryce – Penelope Wilton
Paul Ryman – Peter Egan
Howard Hughes – Stanley Lebor
Hilda Hughes – Geraldine Newman


Channel: BBC1
Written By: John Esmonde and Bob Larbey
Producers: Sydney Lotterby and Harold Snoad
Original Transmission Dates: 29th January 1984 – 24th December 1989


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