Goodnight Sweetheart. Image shows from L to R: Yvonne Sparrow (Emma Amos), Gary Sparrow (Nicholas Lyndhurst), Phoebe Sparrow (Elizabeth Carling). Copyright: Alomo Productions / BBC
Goodnight Sweetheart

Goodnight Sweetheart

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC One
  • 1993 - 2016
  • 59 episodes (6 series)

Whilst walking around the East End, TV repairman Gary Sparrow is transported back to 1940 where he begins to live a second life. Stars Nicholas Lyndhurst, Dervla Kirwan, Elizabeth Carling, Michelle Holmes, Emma Amos and more.

Episode menu

Many Happy Returns, Episode 1

Goodnight Sweetheart. Image shows from L to R: Ron Wheatcroft (Victor McGuire), Ellie (Esme Coy), Yvonne Sparrow (Emma Amos), Gary Sparrow (Nicholas Lyndhurst), Phoebe Sparrow (Elizabeth Carling), Michael Sparrow (Tim Preston). Copyright: Retort
It has been 17 years since Gary Sparrow, a former TV repairman and accidental time traveller who leads an extraordinary double life, was stranded in the 1940s. Now Gary must face the consequences of his time travelling and go somewhere he's never been before: the 21st Century.

Further details

We last saw time-travelling TV repairman Gary Sparrow 17 years ago when his mysterious time-portal closed for good, leaving him trapped forever in 1945 with his East End pub-owning wife Phoeb, their none-too-bright friend Reg and their toddler son Michael. Abandoned in 1999, and sadly resigned to never seeing him again, were his original wife, the successful and glamorous Yvonne and his oldest friend Ron.

Now, 17 years have gone by and it's 1962 - the year Gary was in fact born. Is it possible he could actually witness the event? Well, obviously not, according to the elementary rules of time travel: it might cause some very startling consequences such as being catapulted ahead into 2016 - a world he knows nothing about.

This one-off special is written by original creators Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran and sees the return of the entire original cast from 1999.

Broadcast details

Friday 2nd September 2016
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Nicholas Lyndhurst Gary Sparrow
Elizabeth Carling Phoebe Sparrow
Emma Amos Yvonne Sparrow
Christopher Ettridge PC Reg Deadman
Victor McGuire Ron Wheatcroft
Guest cast
Tim Preston Michael Sparrow
Esme Coy Ellie
Liam Jeavons George Sparrow
Khali Best Phone Shop Salesman Kyle
Angela Murray Midwife
Ted Robbins Bouncer
Writing team
Maurice Gran Writer
Laurence Marks Writer
Production team
Martin Dennis Director
Julie Sykes 1st Assistant Director
Humphrey Barclay Producer
Jon Rolph Executive Producer
Anthony Boys Editor
Anthea Nelson Production Designer
Susie Parriss Casting Director
Caroline Pitcher Costume Designer
Martin Hawkins Director of Photography
Carlene Gearing Make-up Designer
Ray Noble Composer
Jimmy Campbell Composer
Reg Connelly Composer


Back to the future

Well, what an astonishing reaction to the new one-off episode of Goodnight Sweetheart. We could never have dreamed that we would be overwhelmed by such a positive response, with hundreds of emails, text messages and tweets asking us whether we are going to continue the story of the most bizarre life of Gary Sparrow. Even the Controller of Comedy at the BBC described the reaction to the programme as "extraordinary".

Marks & Gran, Marks & Gran Blog, 4th September 2016

TV Review: Goodnight Sweetheart

Despite all the quibbles there are some very funny gags here, including a right up to the minute Brexit nod and good use of modern pop songs.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 3rd September 2016

Goodnight Sweetheart review

This episode couldn't help feeling like a series of Comic Relief sketches strung together.

Dan Owen, Dan's Media Digest, 3rd September 2016

Goodnight Sweetheart review

This was a pale shadow of the earlier shows. Something had been mercilessly stripped from it, leaving it as plain and pedestrian as every other BBC1 "comedy".

Julie McDowall, The National (Scotland), 3rd September 2016

Preview copies of this one-off revival have not been released, but the information I've been able to find has left me quite disappointed, because Gary Sparrow (Nicholas Lyndhurst) will not be travelling in time back to wartime London. Instead, this is to be a sequel to Goodnight Sweetheart, and so time has relentlessly marched forward and we'll find our hero slipping between the mundane present-day and 1962.

In the last episode of Goodnight Sweetheart, Gary was left stranded in the 1940s as his time portal had closed. Now he's in the 1960s, can he keep claiming all those Beatles songs as his own? And in a classic time travel scenario, he gets the chance to visit the maternity hospital to see himself being born, but this makes "the laws of physics go berserk" and causes the portal to the present day to re-open again. But who would choose our current bland world over "swinging London" and Beatlemania?

Julie McDowall, The National (Scotland), 2nd September 2016

The original sitcom saw Nicholas Lyndhurst's Gary Sparrow discovering a time-travel portal and, basically, using his power to simply go down the pub in a different era. This reboot, which is part of the BBC's sitcom season, promises yet more momentous events for Gary to be vaguely underwhelmed by. This time, he's offered the chance to witness his own birth. An existential mind-mangler, surely? Expect Gary to shrug the whole thing off in his customarily phlegmatic style.

Phil Harrison, The Guardian, 2nd September 2016

Goodnight Sweetheart preview

Goodnight Sweetheart is often a better concept than its jokes, and is strong on its dramatic elements.

Steve Bennett, Chortle, 2nd September 2016

TV preview: Goodnight Sweetheart, BBC1

Is it possible for a sitcom to be terrible and very funny at the same time? That's the feat that this one-off revival of Goodnight Sweetheart as part of the Landmark Sitcom Season seems to have pulled off. This time travel comedy always was an odd idea and the internal logic problems of the original run, which ended 17 years ago, still haven't been resolved. On the other hand there are plenty of laughs.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 2nd September 2016

Hello Sweetheart

We're sorry that we've hardly blogged this year, but there is a very good reason: we've been trapped in 1962. It all started when we went on this innocent walk down an alleyway in East London and...What do you mean you don't believe us?

Marks & Gran, Marks & Gran Blog, 6th July 2016

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