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A Fine Romance is a British situation comedy starring husband-and-wife team Judi Dench and Michael Williams. Dench's sister and brother-in-law were played by Susan Penhaligon and Richard Warwick. It was produced by London Weekend Television and written by Bob Larbey. It was first broadcast on 8 November 1981. It lasted for 26 episodes over four series; the final episode was broadcast on 17 February 1984. The series takes its name from a song in the 1936 film Swing Time, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, which Dench recorded as the theme music.

A Fine Romance
A Fine Romance Television Titles.jpg
Series titles
Created byBob Larbey
StarringJudi Dench
Michael Williams
Susan Penhaligon
Richard Warwick
Theme music composerJerome Kern and
Dorothy Fields
Opening theme"A Fine Romance"
Performed by Judi Dench
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series4
No. of episodes26
Producer(s)James Cellan Jones
Graham Evans
Don Leaver
Running time30 minutes
Original networkLondon Weekend Television
Original release1 November 1981 (1981-11-01) –
17 February 1984 (1984-02-17)[1]

The series was nominated for nine BAFTA British Academy Television Awards and a winner of two, both for Dench's performance in 1982 and 1985.



The series involves Laura Dalton, played by Dench, a single, middle-aged translator who is somewhat socially inept. Her glamorous younger sister Helen, played by Penhaligon, who is first seen in Janet Reger lingerie,[a] and her husband Phil (Richard Warwick) pair her up with Mike Selway (Williams), a shy landscape gardener. The story follows their awkward romance and insecurities. Bad luck seems to follow them everywhere, from the ferry to Calais to an attempted romantic evening watching television.

Laura constantly dwells on her beautiful sister's fairy-tale marriage while still retaining an attitude of a child, locking herself in cupboards when things do not go her way. Although immature and tending to fly off the handle, she assists Mike in organizing his struggling business, volunteering her time to type his correspondence and do the bookkeeping. Phil and Helen often regret ever bringing the two together, because they are nearly always involved in the couple's squabbles. Overall, however, Mike and Laura find they cannot live without one another, though they are not able to put it into words.


Series One (1981)Edit

  • 1.1. First Meeting (1 November 1981)
  • 1.2. Different Answers (8 November 1981)
  • 1.3. The Restaurant (15 November 1981)
  • 1.4. Unlucky In Love (22 November 1981)
  • 1.5. How To Avoid Bankruptcy (29 November 1981)
  • 1.6. Keep Them Apart (6 December 1981)
  • 1.7. Playing Games (13 December 1981)

Series Two (1982)Edit

  • 2.1. A Helping Hand (17 January 1982)
  • 2.2. A Trip To The Dentist (24 January 1982)
  • 2.3. Was That A Proposal? (31 January 1982)
  • 2.4. The New Secretary (7 February 1982)
  • 2.5. Boulogne (14 February 1982)
  • 2.6. Furniture (21 February 1982)

Series Three (1983)Edit

  • 3.1. Missing (4 November 1983)
  • 3.2. The Hotel (11 November 1983)
  • 3.3. The Dinner Party (18 November 1983)
  • 3.4. Business Problems (25 November 1983)
  • 3.5. Parenthood (2 December 1983)
  • 3.6. Extreme Measures (9 December 1983)

Series Four (1984)Edit

  • 4.1. The Telephone Call (6 January 1984)
  • 4.2. In Hiding (13 January 1984)
  • 4.3. Mike's New Girlfriend (20 January 1984)
  • 4.4. A Weekend Away (27 January 1984)
  • 4.5. Problems (3 February 1984)
  • 4.6. A Romantic Meal (10 February 1984)
  • 4.7. Happy Ever After? (17 February 1984)

DVD releasesEdit

All four series of A Fine Romance have been released on DVD by Network.

DVD Release date
The Complete Series 1 23 January 2006
The Complete Series 2 17 April 2006
The Complete Series 3 14 August 2006
The Complete Series 4 16 October 2006
The Complete Series 1 to 4 Box Set 6 October 2008



  1. ^ As a subtle "in" joke, Dench is first seen reading a paperback copy of Andrea Newman's novel A Bouquet of Barbed Wire, which was dramatised for television a few years previously with Penhaligon as the female lead. Penhaligon is glimpsed on the front cover with Frank Finlay, who played her father in Bouquet.


  1. ^ A Fine Romance, BFI Screenonline, retrieved 28 February 2013

External linksEdit