Real-life husband and wife duo Judi Dench and Michael Williams starred in charming 1980s sitcom A Fine Romance as a couple of middle-class, middle-aged singletons who embark on an awkward romance after being paired up by friends.
Dench plays translator Laura Dalton, who is sent into a flap when placed in any kind of social situation, while Williams is shy landscape gardener Mike Selway who doesn’t say much. Despite their inability to communicate with each other, Laura and Mike eventually get it together for long enough to show the other their true feelings.
The success of the show’s gentle humour was largely down to the calibre of the cast and the writer’s subtle, observational scripts. For example, the simple storyline involving Mike trying to woo Laura over a meal, while she tries to trace her lost contact lens.
Judi Dench sang the theme tune to the show, a version of the 1930s song A Fine Romance, originally penned for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
The series was nominated for nine TV BAFTAs, with Dench’s performance winning her two in 1982 and 1985.
The show was re-made in the US for a one-off TV pilot in 1983, with Dench’s part played by Julie Kavner, who is best known for providing the voice of Marge in The Simpsons.
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 26×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 1 November 1981 – 17 February 1984 Four seasons
Writer: Bob Larbey / Producers: James Cellan Jones, Don Leaver
JUDI DENCH as Laura
MICHAEL WILLIAMS as Mike
SUSAN PENHALIGON as Helen
RICHARD WARWICK as Phil
GEOFFREY ROSE as Harry (Seasons 1-2)
GEORGE TOVEY as Charlie (Seasons 1-2)