Books by Bob Larbey (Author of The Good Life)
Mulberry S01E05 The Dinner Party
Independent news email
Esmonde and Bob Larbey may not have had the bite or depth of other famous comedy teams such as Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, or Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais, but in their chosen field of good-natured, inoffensive humour they were unbeatable. Although their first big success, Please, Sir! Gently pricking the conventions of middle-class respectability, The Good Life survived a slow start, with modest audiences and lukewarm critics, to be one of the most popular comedies of…. Get The International Pack for free for your first 30 days for unlimited Smartphone and Tablet access. Already a member?
They had broken through with the highly popular lates sitcom Please Sir! And they signed off with a BBC s series, Mulberry, in which Karl Howman as the son of Death disguised as a manservant parried the barbs and put-downs of his employer, a cantankerous old spinster brilliantly played by Geraldine McEwan. But Larbey was his own man, too, seriously under-acknowledged as the author of two subtle and civilised television series for Judi Dench — A Fine Romance and As Time Goes By — which not only catapulted Dench into the centre of the nation's affection, but also revealed a writer of rare talent, sly wit and popular touch. He played an equally significant part in the career of Dench's great friend and contemporary Maggie Smith , when in he adapted a William Trevor story, Mrs Silly, for ITV and the producer James Cellan Jones, and launched Smith on her gallery of women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She was unexpectedly and disarmingly tragic, severe and angular like a Modigliani portrait, as a divorced vicar's wife disowned by her own son and humiliated by her ex-husband and his grandiose new wife at a parents' open day in a minor public school. Larbey had no theatrical background, but his first stage play, A Month of Sundays, won the Evening Standard best comedy of the year award when it played at the Duchess theatre in the West End in , starring George Cole. The play was set in a retirement home and won praise for its humour, delicacy and humane consideration of growing older, qualities evident in all of his, and Esmonde's, television writing, even the knockabout stuff.
Sign in. No host? No problem. Watch funny moments, inspiring speeches, and more highlights from the Emmy Awards. Watch now. Start your free trial.
Bob Larbey enjoyed 30 years as half of one of television's most successful and prolific sitcom-writing partnerships. He and John Esmonde had.
birthday rhymes for turning 6
Mulberry S02E01 Springtime
He and John Esmonde had their first major hit with Please Sir! The four series were watched by up to 20 million viewers — and there was a film spin-off and a sitcom sequel, The Fenn Street Gang , following the fortunes of the pupils on leaving the school. Larbey and Esmonde switched to a more traditional domestic setting for their other big success, The Good Life , but gave it a twist by making one of the two featured middle-class couples self-sufficient, with allotments of fruit and vegetables, as well as chickens, pigs, a goat and a cockerel. The idea came to Larbey when he was approaching his 40th birthday and recognised it as a time for people to reassess their lives — what has been and what might follow. He and Esmonde had been asked to find a vehicle for Richard Briers, so they cast him as Tom Good, who gives up his job as a draughtsman at a company making plastic toys for cereal packets to go self-sufficient with his wife, Barbara Felicity Kendal , at their house in Surbiton. On his own, Larbey came up with another original idea in the sitcom A Fine Romance