Paradise Postponed (ITV 1986 with Michael Hordern and David Threllfall)

UK / ITV Network – Thames – Euston/ 1×90 minute episode 10×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 15 September – 24 November 1986

Writer: John Mortimer / Producer: Jacqueline Davis / Director: Alvin Rakoff

With the creation of Leslie Titmuss John Mortimer came up with one of the truly brilliant characters of British TV and provided David Threllfall with the role of a lifetime, like one of J.B. Priestley’s or R.F. Delderfield’s great doorstep novels of the thirties Paradise Postponed follows the fortunes of the Simcox family over a period of forty years but that’s a somewhat simplistic generalisation for what is a brilliant, sprawling, classic comedy drama.

Told over 11 episodes with episode one running to a feature length 80 minutes, the series opens with the death of Simeon Simcox (Michael Hordern), Rector of Rapstone Fanner, before flashing back 40 years to the childhoods of the Simeon kids and the entry of working class Leslie Titmuss who is somewhat taken under the wing of Rector Simcox. Back in the present day the Simcox family are none too impressed to learn that the major beneficiary of their father’s will is Leslie Titmuss.

Over the course of the episodes the action flits between the present day and episodes from the lives of Titmuss and the Simcox’s past, as the years go by Henry, a writer, gets involved in the film business and Leslie becomes an MP. A gem of a series brilliantly written by Rumpole of the Bailey creator John Mortimer who cleverly intertwines the past and the present.

There’s a large cast of pretty much the cream of British acting talent including such stalwart players as Richard Vernon, Jill Bennett and the superb Colin Blakely as well as the likes of Zoe Wanamaker, Peter Egan, Colin Jeavons and Paul Shelley. Although its an ensemble piece the series really does belong to David Threllfall’s Titmuss, starting out as the working class boy who through his calculating, generally obnoxious nature and shady business transactions is soon a prominent MP.

Michael Hordern as Rev Simeon Simcox
David Threllfall as Leslie Titmuss
Colin Blakely as Dr Humphrey Salter
Peter Egan as Henry Simcox
Zoe Wanamaker as Charlotte Fanner
Paul Shelley as Fred Simcox
Annette Crosbie as Dorothy Simcox
Eleanor David as Agnes Salter
Richard Vernon as Sir Nicholas Fanner
Colin Jeavons as George Titmuss
Albert Welling as Rev. Kevin Bulstrode
Harold Innocent as Jackson Catelow
Thomas Heathcote as Tom Nowt
Claire Oberman as Lonnie Hope Simcox
Alan Rowe as Wyebrow
Thorley Walters as Doughty Strove
Dominic Jephcott as Magnus Strove
Marsha Fitzalan as Jennifer Strove Battley
Andrew Bicknell as Christopher Kempenflatt
Leonie Mellinger as Francesca Simcox