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'Shelley' was an outstanding ITV sitcom, which starred Hywel Bennett as the 'layabout' cynical philosopher James Shelley. There was, however, much to admire about Shelley's wit and wisdom.
Created by Peter Tilbury, 'Shelley' was inspired by Tilbury's own experiences as a well educated man who found himself on the dole. James Shelley was a 28-year-old anti-establishment undergraduate when the series began in 1979, and such was the popularity of the show that it would be one of the longest running ITV sitcoms by the show's end in 1992. There were 71 half hour episodes in all, spread over 10 series, including two specials.
Patient partner Fran (Belinda Sinclair) eventually left Shelley, when even after the couple had married and produced a daughter, Emma, the lovable sloth still didn't fancy working. Shelley went off to America, and there was then a hiatus in the series from early 1984 to late 1988. When Shelley returned, after being an English teacher in the US and United Arab Emirates, he was bemused at some of the products of Thatcher's Britain, i.e. yuppies Graham (Andrew Castell) and Carol (Caroline Langrishe). David Ryall was particularly impressive as Shelley's eccentric landlord Ted Bishop in the later series, but there was an impressive cast throughout, including Josephine Tewson, Warren Clarke, and James Grout.
'Shelley' returned in 1997 as a six part radio series on BBC Rado 2, with Stephen Tompkinson playing James Shelley and Gina McKee playing Fran.
- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.
Shelley Regular Cast List (actors listed first)
Shelley Video available from booksmusicfilmstv.com - in association with Amazon.co.uk
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