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Just Good Friends. Image shows from L to R: Vince Pinner (Paul Nicholas), Penny Warrender (Jan Francis). Image credit: British Broadcasting Corporation.

Just Good Friends

Vince and Penny were about to get married when he got cold feet and left her waiting at the church. Five years later they bump into each other again

1983 - 1986  (BBC One)
22 (3 series)
Paul Nicholas, Jan Francis, Sylvia Kay, John Ringham, Ann Lynn, Shaun Curry, James Lister, Adam French, Charlotte Seeley
John Sullivan
British Broadcasting Corporation

Vince first met Penny at a Rolling Stones concert in the summer of 1976. They had a two year relationship and were about to get married when Vince got cold feet and left her waiting at the church. Five years later they chance to bump into each other again and Penny lets Vince know exactly what she thinks of him. After the dust has settled they both decide to remain friends but it's not long before the old feelings return and their love-hate, on-off relationship is re-established.

Our Review: Stung by criticism that he couldn't write strong female characters, writer John Sullivan decided to prove his detractors wrong and created a massively successful comedy.

The on-off relationship between Vince and Penny captivated viewers from the outset and meant instant stardom for serious actress Jan Francis who had been previously known for her dramatic role as Yvette in Secret Army and ex pop-singer, Paul Nicholas, who had previously starred in low-key comedy Two Up, Two Down.

Having come to a neat but dramatic conclusion at the end of Series 2, a rather dour 90 minute Christmas special recounted their relationship from first meeting until their reunion in episode 1. It suffered from being exclusively shot on film and the lack of studio laughter made the drama seem more intense.

The demand from viewers to continue the Vince and Penny saga to a happier conclusion was granted with a final series which, once again, propelled the saga to the top of the viewing charts.