Grandma's House is a sitcom television series broadcast on BBC Two. Written by Simon Amstell and long-term collaborator Dan Swimer, the series stars Simon Amstell playing a version of himself: an ex-television presenter searching for meaning in his life. Each episode takes place at his grandmother's house, where Grandma (Linda Bassett) welcomes her family, desperate to see everyone happy.

Grandma's House
Created by
Written by
  • Simon Amstell
  • Dan Swimer
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes12 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Sophie Clarke-Jervoise
  • Simon Lupton
ProducerBen Cavey
Running time30 minutes
Production companyTiger Aspect Productions
Original release
NetworkBBC Two
Release9 August 2010 (2010-08-09) –
24 May 2012 (2012-05-24)

The first series was shown in 2010, the second in 2012.[1] In December 2012 Amstell stated that there would not be a third series.[2]

Cast and characters

Character Actor/actress Series Duration Notes
Simon Simon Amstell 1–2 2010–12
Grandma (Lily) Linda Bassett 1–2 2010–12 Simon and Adam's grandmother
Grandpa (Bernie) Geoffrey Hutchings 1 2010 Simon and Adam's grandfather
Tanya Rebecca Front 1–2 2010–12 Simon's mother
Clive James Smith 1–2 2010–12 Tanya's fiancé
Liz Samantha Spiro 1–2 2010–12 Simon's aunt
Adam Jamal Hadjkura 1–2 2010–12 Simon's cousin
Ben Theodore Iwan Rheon 1-2 2010–12 Simon's love interest
Barry Vincent Franklin 2 2012 Liz's husband
Mark Oliver Coopersmith 2 2012 School friend of Adam



The show was created and written by Simon Amstell and Dan Swimer.[3] Six 30-minutes episodes were produced for the first series by Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC Two. These were filmed at Pinewood Studios.[3]

The house used for exterior filming is located in 51°35′02″N 0°03′53″E / 51.5840°N 0.0648°E / 51.5840; 0.0648Highwood Gardens in Clayhall, Greater London.[4]

On 1 July 2010, Geoffrey Hutchings, who portrayed Grandpa, died.[5] The death of his character was said to have occurred between the two series.



Series 1 (2010)

No. in
TitleDirected byOriginal air dateUK viewers
11"The Day Simon Told His Family About His Important Decision"Christine Gernon9 August 2010 (2010-08-09)1.56[6]
When Simon tells his mum Tanya that he's quitting the programme he presents, she is less than happy. While Simon struggles to make his mum realise that her new boyfriend Clive might not be the right man for her, Grandpa has discovered something that will leave Grandma in a panic. Meanwhile, Auntie Liz is struggling with her son Adam, who appears to be starting a teenage rebellion.
22"The Day Simon Decided It Might Be a Nice Idea to Surprise His Mother with a Gift"Christine Gernon16 August 2010 (2010-08-16)1.11[7]
Simon has bought his mum, Tanya, an extravagant gift which she refuses to accept. He's also trying to convince her that maybe she shouldn't marry Clive. Meanwhile, it's Liz's birthday but nobody seems to care. Grandad has news from the doctor about his cancer scare and Simon has decided he might write a play for the theatre. However, his family isn't impressed.
33"The Day Simon Announced That He Was in Control of the Universe"Christine Gernon23 August 2010 (2010-08-23)1.06[8]
Simon has fallen in love. He's also read a book which leads him to believe that he might be able to control the universe. The family aren’t very impressed with either. Grandpa has invited Deborah Adler to visit, Grandma doesn’t like her and is less than happy. Liz has had to take extreme measures to try to get her son Adam into a new school. Guest starring Pam Ferris and Iwan Rheon.
44"The Day Simon Decided He Was Forlorn"Christine Gernon30 August 2010 (2010-08-30)1.22[9]
Simon is having a life crisis and is depressed. The situation is exacerbated when a guest he interviewed on his show attacks him in the press. Tanya moves into Clive's house, much to Simon's irritation. Meanwhile, Grandma and Grandpa plan a cruise.
55"The Day Simon Felt the Family Was Ready to Be Healed"Christine Gernon6 September 2010 (2010-09-06)0.990[10]
Simon has been on a life-changing course and has decided it's his job to heal the family. He starts by giving his Granddad an exercise ball. Tanya has had a realisation that maybe Clive isn't the man for her, and when the family discover that Simon has organised a surprise for them, they are fearful what Grandma might do to him. Guest starring Allan Corduner.
66"The Day Simon Finally Found the Strength to Accept That His Mother Was Getting Married"Christine Gernon13 September 2010 (2010-09-13)0.770[11]
When Grandpa is taken ill, it's unsure whether Tanya and Clive will be able to get married today. Grandma takes on the responsibility of trying to resolve the situation, but is she right to advise Tanya to get married? Meanwhile, Liz has a favour to ask of Simon which might help Adam sort out his schooling problems.

Series 2 (2012)

No. in
TitleDirected byOriginal air dateUK viewers
71"The Day Simon Officially Became a Very Good and Totally Employable Actor"Christine Gernon19 April 2012 (2012-04-19)0.980[12]
Simon, now living at his Grandma's house, has had a one night stand with Mark, a just-turned-sixteen classmate of Adam. Simon's grandma is refusing to acknowledge the death of Simon's grandad. Liz and Tanya are not getting on. Clive is attempting to win Tanya back, employing his knowledge about damp as an excuse to be around the house.
82"The Day Simon Thought It May Be a Good Idea to Find New Living Arrangements"Christine Gernon26 April 2012 (2012-04-26)0.754[13]
Liz's husband Barry makes a rare appearance at the house however makes it clear that he has no desire to be there. Adam discloses that Barry has access to a London flat in Soho that Simon, who is auditioning for Ben Theodore's new play, wants to rent if he wins the part, however he has to navigate Barry's personality first.
93"The Day Simon Attempted to Express Actual Feelings Just Like a Person"Christine Gernon3 May 2012 (2012-05-03)0.615[14]
Having won the part in The Tempest Simon tries to learn how to cry for the role while worrying over his Grandma's new habit of stealing her friends animal replicas and trying to deal with Clive who has slept over in the loft after a drinking relapse.
104"The Day Simon Was Really Determined to Heal His Grandma's Pain"Christine Gernon10 May 2012 (2012-05-10)0.589[15]
Simon has a date with Ben Theodore and has arranged for his Grandma to see a psychotherapist/acting coach to deal with her grief. But their lift down to London is delayed by Clive's revelation that he kissed Liz when they went to see Shrek The Musical.
115"The Day Simon Found Himself Back on the Path to Fulfilment and Joy"Christine Gernon17 May 2012 (2012-05-17)0.698
Tanya is thrilled when Simon finally makes his big TV comeback, even though it is just a short interview to promote his play. Simon is starting to feel validated as an artist – however, a tiny off-the-cuff comment he makes about an opera singer's tumour is picked up by a popular newspaper, who really do not like that sort of thing.
126"The Day Simon and His Family Opened the Door to Acceptance"Christine Gernon24 May 2012 (2012-05-24)0.740
It's Tanya and Clive's wedding day again, but Simon has other concerns as he is given a lesson in tough love. His play is also in jeopardy since director Ben Theodore has suddenly dropped out. Meanwhile Barry has gone missing, Adam finds new love, and all of Simon's problems could be resolved as Ben arrives with wonderful news. Guest starring Iwan Rheon & Jessie Cave

Critical reception


The show has received a generally positive reaction from critics and audiences alike.'s Ruth Margolis claimed that "[Amstell's] written a sitcom stuffed with gently funny moments and acerbic gems", but suggested "a few more naturalistic pauses would have just polished this into the self-assured comedy it so wants to be."[16] Other publications had differing opinions. UK's Metro' claimed on their website that "[Amstell's] brilliantly funny but we won’t be inviting him round for tea."[17] Sam Wollaston of The Guardian asked, "Can Simon act, though? Well, it's hard to know really, given that he's essentially just being himself", but comes around to the opinion that "Grandma's House is sharply written, with some nice lines and a bit of edge to it."[18] Two weeks later, Wollaston revealed "I'm enjoying Grandma's House more and more (...) there's a subtlety and a sharpness about it. And yeah, it's funny."[19]

Jewish media outlets such as the Jewish Chronicle were pleased that the show was bringing Jewish humour to mainstream audiences[20] and the newspaper also described the show as "genius".[21]


Year Award Category Nominee Result Refs
British Comedy Award Best Female Comedy Breakthrough Artist Samantha Spiro as Auntie Liz Won [22]
British Comedy Award Best New TV Comedy Grandma's House Nominated [22]

DVD release


2 Entertain released the first series of Grandma's House on DVD on 20 September 2010; it includes all six episodes, a making-of documentary, a booklet and an audio commentary on one of the episodes by Amstell and his mother.[23][24]

International broadcast


In Australia, the first season commenced airing on ABC2 each Thursday at 10pm from 23 February 2012.[25]


  1. ^ "BBC Programmes Grandma's House". BBC. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  2. ^ Nissim, Mayer (20 December 2012). "Simon Amstell: 'Grandma's House is over'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Grandma's House - Production Details". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
  4. ^ "Grandma's House (2010) – filming locations". IMDb. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Stage and TV actor Geoffrey Hutchings dies aged 71". BBC News. BBC. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  6. ^ Andrew Laughlin (10 August 2010). "'Grandma's House' debuts to 1.5m". Digital Spy. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  7. ^ Andrew Laughlin (17 August 2010). "'The One Show' relaunch appeals to 4.5m". Digital Spy. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  8. ^ Andrew Laughlin (24 August 2010). "New look 'The One Show' holds steady". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  9. ^ Andrew Laughlin (1 September 2010). "4.9m watch Donovan's 'You Think You Are?'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  10. ^ Andrew Laughlin (7 September 2010). "'Bouquet of Barbed Wire' opens to 5.2m". Digital Spy. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  11. ^ Andrew Laughlin (20 April 2012). "'The Inbetweeners' returns to 2.2m". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  12. ^ Paul Millar (14 April 2010). "Simon Amstell's 'Grandma's House' revisited by nearly 1m". Digital Spy. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  13. ^ Paul Millar (27 April 2012). "Louis Theroux's 'Extreme Love' concludes with 2m for BBC Two". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  14. ^ Paul Millar (4 May 2012). "'The Hoarder Next Door' starts brightly for Channel 4 with 3.3m". Digital Spy. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  15. ^ Paul Millar (11 May 2012). "'Britain's Got Talent' last semi-final results show rebounds to 8.2m". Digital Spy. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  16. ^ Ruth Margolis (6 August 2010). "Welcome to Simon Amstell's Grandma's House". Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  17. ^ Sharon Lougher (9 August 2010). "Grandma's House: Simon Amstell returns to TV presenter mode (sort of)". Metro. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  18. ^ Sam Wollaston (10 August 2010). "TV review: Grandma's House, Inn Mates and Gears And Tears". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  19. ^ Sam Wollaston (24 August 2010). "TV review: The Hospital, Grandma's House". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  20. ^ Tracy-Ann Oberman (19 August 2010). "Finally, we're no longer a niche". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  21. ^ Simon Rocker (19 August 2010). "Read all about it on the BBC". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  22. ^ a b Amy Bell (22 January 2011). "In Full: British Comedy Awards - Winners". Digital Spy. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  23. ^ "DVD details for Grandma's House". IMDb. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  24. ^ "Grandma's House Merchandise". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  25. ^ "ABC2 Programming Airdate: Grandma's House (episode one)". ABC Television Publicity. Retrieved 12 May 2012.