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Paradise Postponed (ITV Drama, Michael Hordern, David Threllfall)

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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 (David Threllfall) 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 (Peter Egan), a writer, gets involved in the film business and Leslie becomes an MP. Paradise Postponed is 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.

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Cast: 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

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

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

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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