Those who are familiar with As Time Goes By will already be familiar with the writing of Bob Larbey, who also wrote A Fine Romance, and those who've enjoyed As Time Goes By will almost certainly enjoy 1980's A Fine Romance. Though not so well known, this light romantic comedy about two mismatched 40-something lonely hearts bears all the hallmarks of Larbey's classic and engaging style of writing.
Briefly, Dame Judi Dench (As Time Goes By's Jean Pargetter) stars as Laura Dalton, a highly competent albeit somewhat shy, nervous and highly-strung translator with a tall, pretty, charming and very happily married younger sister named Helen, who only wants to see Laura as happy as she is. Helen and her husband Phil decide to team Laura up with Phil's friend Mike Selway, but it's a match made more out of desperation than a belief that the pair would be suitable companions. Mike (the late Michael Williams, Dame Judi's real-life husband of 30 years who died of cancer in 2001), is a shy, laid-back but very nervous, unkempt, disorganised, and socially-inept landscape gardener. He also has very little in common with Laura with respect to their likes and dislikes. The humour in the series is gentle, and it gets its "spark" from the tension engendered by the pairing of this seemingly unlikely couple.
This is the first of three series. The boxed set contains three videos, and each video consists of three 25-minute episodes for a total of nine episodes. This is truly a sweet, charming, relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable series. If you've enjoyed As Time Goes By, I strongly recommend getting this first boxed set. If you enjoy it (and I really do think you will), then go ahead and get sets two and three, for they are just as enjoyable as this one. Personally, although I did have a slight preference for As Time Goes By when I first saw A Fine Romance, I have found that following a second viewing of the latter series, I now enjoy it every bit as much as As Time Goes By. Both are absolutely delightful series that are a joy to curl up watch time and time again.