Duty Free (TV series)


Duty Free (TV series)
Duty Free
Format Sitcom
Starring Keith Barron
Gwen Taylor
Joanna Van Gyseghem
Neil Stacy
Country of origin  United Kingdom
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 22
Production
Producer(s) Yorkshire Television
Running time 21x30 minutes
1x60 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel ITV
Original run 13 February 1984 – 25 December 1986

Duty Free is a British sitcom written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr that aired on ITV from 1984 to 1986. It was made by Yorkshire Television.

Contents

Cast

  • Keith Barron – David Pearce
  • Gwen Taylor – Amy Pearce
  • Joanna Van Gyseghem – Linda Cochran
  • Neil Stacy – Robert Cochran
  • Carlos Douglas – Carlos the Waiter
  • Bunny May – Hotel manager (series 1)
  • George Camiller – Hotel manager (series 2 and 3)
  • Ray Mort – George (series 1 and 2)
  • Hugo Bower – Zimmerman (series 1)
  • Joseph Fazal – Spanish Policeman (series 2)

Plot

Duty Free is about two British couples, David and Amy Pearce and Robert and Linda Cochran, who meet while holidaying at the same Spanish hotel in Marbella and the interruptive affair conducted by David Pearce and Linda Cochran during their break. Another recurring character is the hotel waiter Carlos.

Although set in Spain, the show was filmed entirely in a Leeds studio – only for the concluding Christmas special was the budget found to film some scenes in Spain at the Don Carlos Hotel & Spa.

Like many British sitcoms, there was a class-related tension between the two; with the Pearces working-class socialists from up north, and the Cochrans a more affluent, middle-class Conservative couple from Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. The character of David Pearce, much to his wife's chagrin, became uncomfortable with his own status and politics after meeting the Cochrans and tried to change his outlook.

Episodes

[1]

Series 1

Viva Espana David and Amy decide to take a Spanish package holiday – and once there, David is quickly under Linda's spell!

Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr

Directed by Vernon Lawrence

Original ITV transmission: Monday 13 February 1984 20:00

  • El Macho

The two couples (David/Amy and Robert/Linda) take a trip to a bullfight – and Amy steps into the ring

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Vernon Lawrence
  • Original ITV transmission: Monday 20 February 1984 20:00

Praying Mantis David is besotted by Linda, and Amy hoists storm cones

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Vernon Lawrence
  • Original ITV transmission: Monday 27 February 1984 20:00

Spanish Lace On a trip into the mountains, money is running out and David buys one present too many

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Vernon Lawrence
  • Original ITV transmission: Monday 5 March 1984 20:00

Bedroom Farce Amy's suspicions are aroused by David and Linda's midnight swim

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Vernon Lawrence
  • Original ITV transmission: Monday 12 March 1984 20:00

Forty Love Amy finally has evidence of the affair, but her reaction has disastrous events for everyone

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Vernon Lawrence
  • Original ITV transmission: Monday 19 March 1984 20:00

Hasta La Vista Linda and David decide to leave together. Robert takes to the bottle, but Amy decides to foil them

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Vernon Lawrence
  • Original ITV transmission: Monday 26 March 1984 20:00

Series 2

Manana David has been disowned by the other three and endeavours to smuggle himself past the police and out of the hotel dressed as a woman, with disastrous results

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Vernon Lawrence
  • Original ITV transmission: Thursday 6 September 1984 20:00

Casino David feels lucky, and despite their spending money running low, decides to visit the Casino. Concentration coolness and a strong nerve are called for as he pursues a sequence of winning numbers, but will he risk all on the flip of a coin?

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Vernon Lawrence
  • Original ITV transmission: Thursday 13 September 1984 20:00

Couples A young couple arrive from England on their honeymoon. Romance is in the air, but unfortunately the dewy-eyed lovers manage to mix and match the wrong couples

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Vernon Lawrence
  • Original ITV transmission: Thursday 20 September 1984 20:00

El Astro There is great excitement as Frazer Hines, the famous TV star, comes to stay at the hotel. Unfortunately, one of the ladies over-reacts and the husbands become over suspicious

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Vernon Lawrence
  • Original ITV transmission: Thursday 27 September 1984 20:00

Pepe A day trip from Spain to Tangier by boat starts a mysterious chain of events. Having agreed to carry a parcel back into Spain, Amy fears she may be carrying illegal substances. Getting rid of the evidence proves difficult

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Vernon Lawrence
  • Original ITV transmission: Thursday 4 October 1984 21:00 (screened an hour later due to the episode's content)

Snap David finds to his horror that it is a small world when he meets Kevin (Roger Sloman) in the hotel. He has been dogged by Kevin all his life – at school; in the Army; and at the office. It was Kevin that was responsible for David's redundancy. Will David let this greasy toad get away with it all?

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Vernon Lawrence
  • Original ITV transmission: Thursday 11 October 1984 20:00

Adios All good things come to an end and this is the last day of the holiday. Packing bottles of booze, the last look round, and a visit to Pedro's, the local bar, all have to be done. Unfortunately, David and Linda's lingering farewells are rudely interrupted

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Vernon Lawrence
  • Original ITV transmission: Thursday 18 October 1984 20:00

Series 3

Winter Break Amy has found herself a job, but poor David is still unemployed and depressed. He decides he needs a break to get away from it all!

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Les Chatfield
  • Original ITV transmission: Wednesday 8 January 1986 20:00

Deja Vu Amy has joined David for a week's holiday in Spain. She is suspicious, however, and does not trust him. Amy has the feeling that she has experienced the same situation before

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Les Chatfield
  • Original ITV transmission: Wednesday 15 January 1986 20:00

Close Up The TV cameras have arrived in the hotel. Judith Chalmers and a crew from the "Wish You Were Here...?" programme have flown over to make a report. The Pearces (David and Amy) and the Cochrans (Robert and Linda) are determined to get on the screen

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Les Chatfield
  • Original ITV transmission: Wednesday 22 January 1986 20:00

The Go-Between Neville becomes inextricably involved with David and Linda. Although keen to help, poor Neville manages to get everything wrong, including an encounter with a Chimpanzee

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Les Chatfield
  • Original ITV transmission: Wednesday 29 January 1986 20:00

Costa del Crime David discovers to his horror that he has mistakenly picked up someone else's tartan bag at the airport. What he and Amy find in the bag leads to a most unwelcome visit from the owners

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Les Chatfield
  • Original ITV transmission: Wednesday 5 February 1986 20:00

Cause Celebre Senor Garcia, the new manager at the hotel, makes some sweeping staff changes. Not only does this upset Carlos the Waiter but also the holidaymakers. Amy encourages Carlos to make a firm stand which turns out to be a politically wise move

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Les Chatfield
  • Original ITV transmission: Wednesday 12 February 1986 20:00

Party Night It's party night at the hotel. Everyone has to provide fancy dress and enter the talent contest. After much discussion The Pearces and the Cochrans surprise each other with their latent talent

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Les Chatfield
  • Original ITV transmission: Wednesday 19 February 1986 20:00

Christmas special

A Duty Free Christmas In spite of her initial protests, David manages to persuade Amy to continue their holiday in Spain over Christmas. By an extraordinary stroke of coincidence, Linda and Robert have had the same idea, and are booked in at the same hotel. David continues his amorous pursuit of Linda with hilarious results

  • Written by Eric Chappell and Jean Warr
  • Directed by Les Chatfield
  • Original ITV transmission: Thursday 25 December 1986 21:00

Trivia

The actor Frazer Hines and television presenter Judith Chalmers made guest appearances on the show, playing themselves. The former was a hotel guest who tried to seduce Amy Pearce; the latter was filming an episode of Wish You Were Here...? from the hotel and interviewed the two couples.

It set viewing records for a sitcom at the time, regularly topping the UK TV ratings, and was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Comedy Series in 1986 alongside Only Fools and Horses, Yes, Prime Minister, 'Allo 'Allo!, Ever Decreasing Circles, and lost out to the winner, Just Good Friends.

References

  1. ^ These episode descriptions are taken from the sleeves of the DVD release, released by Network

External links


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