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Barbara (ITV Sitcom, Gwen Taylor, Sam Kelly)

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Barbara ITV Sitcom, Gwen Taylor

Sitcom Barbara told stories of an acidic middle aged Yorkshire doctor’s receptionist (the Barbara of the title obviously – played by the fab Gwen Taylor) and her family – especially husband Ted (Sam Kelly)

The series grew out of a 1995 anthology series of pilots called Comedy Firsts, the episode was called Rivals (which aired 10 July 1995) and featured mostly the same cast as the series with the exception of the role of Jean which was played by Sherrie Hewson in the series and Shirley Anne Field in the pilot. Interestingly the pilot episode ended up being remade as the second episode of the first season.

The series was made at a time when both ITV and the BBC were struggling to come up with successful sitcoms and ITV were here playing around with the American ideal of multiple writers contributing to the scripts but it never really worked. It was the kind of show that was funny enough while it was on but forgotten about as soon as it was over, it also wasn’t helped by a longish gap between the second and third seasons. The cast was fab though!

Cast: GWEN TAYLOR as Barbara; SAM KELLY as Ted; MARK BENTON as Martin; ELIZABETH CARLING as Linda; SHERRIE HEWSON as Jean; MADGE HINDLE as Doreen; BENEDICT SANDFORD as Neil

Executive Producer: Paul Spencer / Producer: Mark Bussell

UK / ITV Network – Carlton / 29×30 minute episodes / 10 July 1995 and 27 June 1999 – 4 April 2003