On The Up. Image shows from L to R: Tony Carpenter (Dennis Waterman), Ruth Carpenter (Judy Buxton). Copyright: BBC
On The Up

On The Up

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC One
  • 1990 - 1992
  • 19 episodes (3 series)

Self-made millionaire Tony Carpenter lives in a large house with permanent staff, but he's not forgotten his Cockney roots. Stars Dennis Waterman, Sam Kelly, Joan Sims, Jenna Russell, Judy Buxton and more.

On The Up. Image shows left to right: Tony Carpenter (Dennis Waterman), Ruth Carpenter (Judy Buxton). Credit: BBC

Key details

1990 - 1992
19 (3 series)
Dennis Waterman, Sam Kelly, Joan Sims, Jenna Russell, Judy Buxton, Vanessa Hadaway, Michelle Hatch, Pauline Letts and Fiona Mollison
Bob Larbey
Gareth Gwenlan and Paul Harrison
Gareth Gwenlan

Working class Londoner Tony Carpenter is a self-made millionaire. Having built a run-of-the-mill taxi company into a luxury car hire firm, he now lives in a large house in the capital's leafy surrounds, employing a full-time cook, Mrs Wembley; his best friend since childhood, Sam, as chauffeur-cum-butler-cum-dogsbody; and a private secretary, Maggie, all on top of his drivers and office manager back in town.

Not all is rosy in the Carpenter household however. Despite the comfort he can now afford, Tony remains connected firmly with his Cockney background - something that his wife, the increasingly snooty, upper-middle class Ruth, cannot bear. When they were making their fortune the pair had a connection in their growth - be in social climbing or business - but now at the top of their respective trees, the couple argue and bicker about anything and everything: not least Maggie, Sam and Mrs W, all of whom Tony considers friends.

Worst of all for Tony, their teenage daughter Stephanie is beginning to take after her mother. Away at a high-achieving girls' boarding school for most of the time, she seems to be growing ruder, more spoiled and short-tempered by the week.

As their regular fights lead to Ruth taking increasing time away from the marital home the Carpenters seem on the edge of divorce, but regularly reconcile. The question on Maggie's, Sam's and Mrs Wembley's minds is, just for how long can it continue?

Additional details

Camera set-up

Website links

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Tuesday 4th September 1990 at 8:30pm on BBC One

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