Relative Strangers

Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of Channel Four, and over on the excellent Broken TV site, there’s a series of articles about the 40 most watched shows in the channel’s history. It contains a few surprises, but the one that struck me the most was that none of Four’s best-remembered home-grown sitcoms made the list. In fact, the only British sitcom series in the top 40 is … Relative Strangers.

Now, Relative Strangers is interesting enough to warrant a closer look, but the fact that it hit a high of 7.75m viewers is remarkable.

The announcement of the series in The Stage was rather low-key, surrounded as it was by so many other big shows.

The Stage – Thursday 23 August 1984

What this article fails to mention is that Relative Strangers is a spin-off series from Marks and Gran’s first ever sitcom. Holding The Fort ran for three series on LWT between 1980 and 1982, and starred Peter Davison and Patricia Hodge. Matthew Kelly played Fitz.

The Stage – Thursday 07 February 1980
The Stage – Thursday 14 August 1980

A couple of weeks before the first episode of Relative Strangers, Humphrey Barclay told The Stage how pleased he was with the show.

The Stage – Friday 28 December 1984
The Stage – Thursday 14 February 1985

The first series was nominated for an International Emmy Award and made the shortlist, as well as winning the silver medal at the New York Film And TV Festival.

The Stage – Thursday 03 July 1986
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