Don’t Wait Up

Don’t Wait Up occupies an unusual place in my sitcom life. Growing up, it felt like it was on all the time, and yet, after its run ended, it just sort of fell off the radar really. That surprises me in retrospect, what with its pedigree. The series was written by George Layton, who drew on his own experiences of divorce, and starred Tony Britton, the brilliant Dinah Sheridan, and a young Nigel Havers making his sitcom debut. Layton previously starred in the Doctor series, and alongside Esther Rantzen on That’s Life, as well as writing other sitcoms like On The Buses, Robin’s Nest, and Executive Stress.

Don’t Wait Up was about divorce, and while not the first sitcom about the subject, stands tall in my mind as being the first show that sort of introduced me to the concept. Even at the time it felt like a cosy show, exploring a subject not often (it seemed to me) talked about at the time. Compare it to Joking Apart, which is much more angry and bitter show by Steven Moffat for example.

Here’s a great scene of exposition, handled in a really good, and interesting way.

The show ran for six series on BBC One, between 1983 and 1990, with a total of 39 episodes. My memory of it, like Ever Decreasing Circles, is a lot of beige. The 1980s weren’t as colourful as the retrospectives like to believe. They were very … beige.

The opening titles were a sort of mix of later shows, Birds Of A Feather, and Keeping Up Appearances (also directed by Harold Snoad).

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