AS TIME GOES BY
Their two characters: Jean and Lionel, fell in love during the early 1950s, but when army officer Lionel was sent to Korea they lost touch after a letter he sent her never arrived.
Both assumed the other had lost interest, but 38 years later their paths cross again, when Lionel returns to England to write his memoirs of life in the army and as a coffee-planter in Kenya (imaginatively titled 'My Life in Kenya').
Seeking an agency temp to handle the typing, he is sent a young secretary in the form of Judith Pargetter and after hitting it off they agree to meet for dinner.
That evening, though, Lionel also chances upon meeting her mother and his long-lost sweetheart: Jean.
But could their love be rekindled after so long?
Across nine series, audiences followed their complicated relationships as other admirers vied for Jean and Lionel's affections (including double-divorcee Judith's crush on Lionel, and his smooth agent Alistair's fondness for Jean).
Eventually, though, Judith and Alistair fall in love and the path is cleared for Lionel and Jean to get back together and marry, although their strong characters and colourful past ensured there was always something for them to fret about and for viewers to laugh at.
The finely judged scripts were penned by Bob Larbey, who'd co-written The Good Life as well as another romantic sitcom with Judi Dench (A Fine Romance) and although its gentle brand of middle-class humour wasn't a cross-generational hit, As Time Goes By maintained a strong popularity and even occasionally contained edgier storylines that belied its twee image.
Perhaps surprisingly, the show also achieved the notoriously difficult feat of 'breaking' America, where Judi Dench (despite her string of high-profile film roles) became best known as Jean.
As Time Goes By Reunion Special
AS TIME GOES BY, one of the most popular and enduring British series on public television, starred Dame Judi Dench as Jean Pargetter and Geoffrey Palmer as Lionel Hardcastle, former lovers who reunited after 40 years.
This two part special picks up where the original series left off and reveals Jean’s great anticipation for grandchildren, much to husband Lionel's dismay. With son-in-law Alistair and daughter Judy having problems things don't look too promising, especially when it's left to Lionel to convince Alistair to visit the doctor for some tests.
Will Jean's dream of becoming a grandmother come true when Sandy and her husband Harry return from Canada? Find out what is in store for the Hardcastles and their extended family.
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