The Times Go By

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The Times Go By was a very gentle situation comedy that ran from 1988 to 1994 in the FK but was syndicated internationally with great success. It told the story of one Lionel Hardwicke who returns to Edinburgh after years of living in South Africa and accidently runs into Jean Palliser. Jean had been a nurse he knew and fell in love with in the closing days of the Second Great War. He had been transferred to the Occupying Forces in Prussia soon after, promising to write. His letters, it turned out, were lost and she thought he'd forgotten about her when in fact he had written proposing marriage.

Of course now they are both middle-aged. She had married, then divorced. He had married, emigrated to South Africa, been widowed. Both have grown children. Yet when they meet, and to everyone's considerable surprise, the spark is still there. They fall in love all over again.

More than anything else, the program derived its humor from the clash of personalities--not only between Lionel and Jean (both set in their ways) but between their children and friends as well as various relatives. The program ceased production when Sir Geoffrey Palmeston (who played Lionel) died from a heart attack a few weeks after filming the final episode.

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