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Marriage Lines (BBC TV Series, Richard Briers, Prunella Scales)

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Marriage Lines BBC Richard Briers Prunella Scales

In popular 1960’s sitcom Marriage Lines George Starling (Richard Briers) is newly married to Kate (Prunella Scales). The focus was the young couple as they went through the normal ups and downs experienced by any newlyweds. Just to make it plain the first season had the subtitle “A Quizzical Look At The Early Days Of Married Life.” They suffer through the normal problems that plague young couples, but manage to make a success of their marriage. During the course of the series they also become the parents of two children.

Created and written by Richard Waring especially for Richard Briers the series also made a star of Prunella Scales as well. Perhaps part of the reason for Prunella’s success as Kate was due to the fact that part of the plotlines reflected her own experiences. The same year Marriage Lines debuted she married the actor Timothy West wearing a hat borrowed from the wife of her future Fawlty co-star Andrew Sachs.

Initially the series was to wrap up after the fourth season, the finale of that season was even called “Goodbye George, Goodbye Kate” with the couple set to start a new life in Lagos after George gets a new job. However the series returned for one more outing with Kate’s pregnancy written in to accommodate Prunella Scale’s own pregnancy. Their son Sam was born in June of 1966 and is now also a successful actor.

Ronald Hines was a regular in the first season as George’s friend Peter as was Christine Finn who played Norah. The regular cast also included Edward de Souza as Miles with Diana King played George’s mother, she did tend to specialise in these kind of roles. Geoffrey Sumner, a forgotten name now but a TV and film regular from the 1950’s to the 1970’s played George’s father. Kate’s mother (Dorothy Black) would occasionally be seen.

The series, which aired between 16 August 1963 and 3 June 1966, ran for 43 half hour episodes and there were even two short 10 minute episodes broadcast under the BBC’s annual Christmas Night With The Stars (Christmas Day 1963 and Christmas Day 1964). There was also a radio version which ran for 26 episodes beween 21 May 1965 and 11 June 1967. Graeme Muir produced the first two seasons and Robin Nash produced the rest.