In Loving Memory (ITV 1979-1986, Thora Hird, Christopher Beeny)

Long running period sitcom In Loving Memory took us back to the 1920’s and 1930’s where spinster Ivy Unsworth and her nephew Billy run an undertakers in the Lancashire mill town of Oldshaw.

Ivy had taken over the business after the death of her husband and is helped/hindered in equal measure by Billy. Billy is frequently led astray by his best friend, Ernie Hadfield (Colin Farrell – not the Hollywood actor). At the beginning of the final series, Billy marries Mary Braithwaite (Sherrie Hewson).

The programme was filmed on location in Luddenden, Yorkshire. The pilot for the series aired on 4 November 1969 a full ten years before the series proper. Marjorie Rhodes played Ivy in the pilot. Edward Chapman played Ivy’s husband Jeremiah in the pilot and Freddie Jones played the role in the first episode of the series proper.

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Kenneth Williams: “I am watching my life ebbing away,” wrote Kenneth Williams in his diary on 28 November 1983. He was watching In Loving Memory or “some rubbish about a funeral parlour” as he called it. Whilst his mother Louie was still alive and living in the flat opposite his in the converted mansion block where they both lived in London’s Euston Road, Williams would spend most evenings that he was not working, in Louie’s flat watching TV with her. He didn’t own a set himself.

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cast
Christopher Beeny as Billy Henshaw
Thora Hird as Ivy Unsworth
Harold Goodwin as Harold Henshaw (pilot)
Colin Farrell as Ernie Hadfield
Avis Bunnage as Amy Jenkinson (seasons 1-3)
Sherrie Hewson as Mary Braithwaite / Henshaw (seasons 4-5)
Edward Chapman as Jeremiah Unsworth (pilot)
Freddie Jones as Jeremiah Unsworth (first episode)
Rose Power as Flo Riley (seasons 1 & 4)
Liz Smith as Hilda Pardoe (season 3 & special)

crew details
Writer: Dick Sharples
Producer: Ronnie Baxter

production details
Country: UK
Studio: ITV – Yorkshire
Duration: 36×25 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot 4 November 1969 and Series 23 May 1979 – 27 March 1986

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.