Duty Free, 1984

Published today in tribute to Keith Barron who passed away yesterday, aged 83.

Hugely popular in it’s day, these days it’s one of a number of sitcoms to get the repeat treatment on ITV3.

Duty Free was the ITV sitcom about two couples who take a holiday to Spain.  It ran for three series between 1984 and 1986 clocking up twenty two episodes, ending with a Christmas episode.  The first series was very funny, but despite coming from the hand of an established writer I never felt that the two series that followed lived up to the standard set by the first.

Although the series was set in Spain it was actually  filmed entirely in a Leeds TV  studio.  It was only for the concluding Christmas special was the budget found to film some scenes in Spain at the Don Carlos Hotel & Spa.


David and Amy Pearce are a working-class Northern couple who decide to take a holiday to Spain with David’s redundancy money.  Whilst staying in Marbella they meet a middle-class Conservative couple Robert and Linda Cochran.

Comedy ensues when David falls for Linda and begins a secret affair.  This has hilarious consequences as David launches himself from one disaster to another as he tries to conceal his affair, whilst also becoming uncomfortable with his own status and politics after meeting the Cochrans and trying to change his outlook, to impress Linda.  This leads to some real put down moments from his wife Amy.







Keith Barron – David Pearce
Gwen Taylor – Amy Pearce
Joanna Van Gyseghem – Linda Cochran
Neil Stacy – Robert Cochran
Carlos Douglas – Carlos the Waiter
Bunny May – Hotel manager (series 1)
George Camiller – Hotel manager (series 2 and 3)
Ray Mort – George (series 1 and 2)
Hugo Bower – Zimmerman (series 1)
Joseph Fazal – Spanish Policeman (series 2)


Channel: ITV
Written By: Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
Produced By: Yorkshire Television for ITV
Original Transmission Dates: 13th February 1984 – 25th December 1986


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