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Ever Decreasing Circles. Image shows from L to R: Martin Bryce (Richard Briers), Ann Bryce (Penelope Wilton). Image credit: British Broadcasting Corporation.

Ever Decreasing Circles

Martin's self-important world is about to crumble when a charismatic new neighbour tramples all over his kingdom

1984 - 1989  (BBC One)
27 (4 series)
Richard Briers, Peter Egan, Penelope Wilton, Stanley Lebor, Geraldine Newman
John Esmonde, Bob Larbey
British Broadcasting Corporation

Martin Bryce lives in a cul de sac in a quiet suburban area. He is the chairman of every club committee going and believes himself to be the pivotal member of the community. The stability of Martin's life is disturbed when Paul moves in next door. He has the poise, looks and self-confidence to dent Martin's self-imposed rule of 'the Close'. His wife, Ann, has tolerated his compulsive behaviour as she knows he is a good man at heart, but Paul is somebody who will test her loyalty to Martin in more ways than one.

Our Review: Once again the writers crafted an idiosyncratic character for Richard Briers own unique style. Honed from the less successful Ralph Tanner in The Other One, Martin Bryce was a busy body - but with a sense of decency - a big fish in a very, very small pond who has his self-important bubble burst by the effortless charm of his new neighbour.

Viewers would wonder why his wife wouldn't just run off with Paul, as the chemistry was there, but her sense of decency and loyalty would win the day. Also, to some extent, it was a case of this is my cross and I have to bear it!