Parsley Sidings

Radio sitcom set in a sleepy out-of-the-way railway station, starring Arthur Lowe and Ian Lavender

1971 - 1973  (BBC Radio 2)
21 (pilot + 2 series)
Arthur Lowe, Ian Lavender, Kenneth Connor, Liz Fraser
Jim Eldridge
British Broadcasting Corporation

Parsley Sidings is a small, out-of-the-way railway station in the Midlands, located on the line between London and Birmingham. Parsley Sidings only has six trains stopping per day, and thus the station is always under the threat of closure.

The manager of the station is Mr Horace Hepplewhite (Authur Lowe), whose family have managed the station for generations. His gormless son Bertrand is not so keen on running the station however, he would rather enter acting.

Other staff at the station included secretary Gloria Simpkins (Liz Fraser) who is in love with Bertrand, crafty cockney porter Percy Valentine and elderly signalman Mr Bradshaw (both played by Kenneth Connor).

Our Review: The performances of the cast are, as their calibre would suggest, top notch. Arthur Lowe fits Horace Hepplewhite perfectly, as does Ian Lavender as his son. However, both characters are somewhat similar to their respective characters in Dad's Army, so that can jarr a little in one's mind.

Still, it is a fair series; entertaining, amusing, generally rather enjoyable - but nothing spectacular.

Nonetheless, it is a great pity that the series does not exist in its entirety. Of the 21 episodes that were produced, the BBC only kept two. Seventeen further have been recovered from private sources, but the penultimate 2 episodes from the second series (episodes 8 and 9) are still unaccounted-for. The re-discovered episodes are currently being repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra.