Audio Drama Wiki

After Henry was a British sitcom written by Simon Brett. It started on BBC Radio 4 and later moved to television. Prunella Scales and Joan Sanderson starred in both radio and television versions.

A novel, also by Simon Brett, followed the series.[1]


  • Sarah France - Prunella Scales
  • Eleanor Prescott - Joan Sanderson
  • Clare France - Gerry Cowper
  • Russell Bryant - Benjamin Whitrow


Sarah France is the 42-year-old widow of aGP, Henry. She lives in an often volatile family situation with her mother, Eleanor Prescott, and her daughter, eighteen-year-old Clare France. After Henry's death, the three generations of women have to cope with one another as best they can, under their shared roof.

Sarah often finds herself in the middle of things, usually figuratively but always literally, as her mother lives upstairs and her daughter has the basement flat. Eleanor, ruthlessly cunning and emotionally manipulative, takes every opportunity to get one over on Sarah. Anything told to Eleanor will spread quickly throughout the extensive "geriatric mafia," the elderly of the area. Clare is trying to be independent of her mother, though often has to come running back in times of crisis.

The relationships among the three women change constantly through each episode. Sometimes mother and daughter ally against grandmother, sometimes mother and grandmother go against daughter, but usually grandmother and granddaughter gang up on the long-suffering Sarah, whose one haven is Bygone Books, the remarkably unsuccessful bookstore where she works for Russell, who dispenses in turn sympathy and wisdom. Most of the time, Russell sees the women's relationships second-hand through Sarah, although he isn't opposed to taking the occasional more active role when necessary. In turn, Sarah can see some of Russell's difficulties of living with a gay partner in 1980s London suburbia, while at the same time seeing Russell's relationship as the one perfect marriage she knows.

Episode list[]

Series Episode Title First broadcast
1 1 The Older Man 17 April 1985
2 Moving 24 April 1985
3 The Cowboy 1 May 1985
4 The Dinner Party 8 May 1985
5 Gossip 15 May 1985
6 Mr Right 22 May 1985
7 The Spectre at the Feast 29 May 1985
8 Going Away 5 June 1985
Special 1 A Week of Sundays 22 December 1985
2 1 Memory Games 16 August 1986
2 The Romantic Approach 23 August 1986
3 The Cold 30 August 1986
4 Bedside Manners 6 September 1986
5 The Kitten 13 September 1986
6 The Married Man 20 September 1986
7 The Other Married Man 27 September 1986
8 The Teapot 4 October 1986
3 1 Wedding Bells 22 September 1987
2 Poor Relations 29 September 1987
3 Guilty Secrets 6 October 1987
4 Lines of Communications 13 October 1987
5 Intellectual Aspirations 20 October 1987
6 A Box of Chocolates 27 October 1987
7 Different Viewpoints 3 November 1987
8 The End of a Chapter 10 November 1987
Special 2 The Season of Relative Goodwill 25 December 1987
4 1 Dependent Relatives 17 January 1989
2 Relative Movement 24 January 1989
3 A Fully Extended Family 31 January 1989
4 Sunday Lunch 7 February 1989
5 Little Women 14 February 1989
6 Family Album 21 February 1989
7 Keeping Faith 28 February 1989
8 Positive Thinking 6 March 1989

Transfer to television[]

The BBC was reluctant to produce After Henry for television, so in 1988 after the third radio series Thames Television did so. Prunella Scales and Joan Sanderson returned as Sarah and Eleanor, but Gerry Cowper was, at the age of 30, considered too old to play Clare and replaced by Janine Wood. The show was surprisingly popular, attracting over 14 million viewers. A second television series was shown during the same months as the fourth radio series with, in many cases, both radio and television episodes being broadcast on the same nights. The fourth television series was broadcast from July 1992, after the death of Joan Sanderson, who had died on 24 May.