British Comedy Guide

The Rebel. Henry Palmer (Simon Callow). Copyright: Retort.

The Rebel

Gold sitcom starring Simon Callow as a rebellious pensioner. 9 episodes (2 series), 2016 - 2017. Stars Simon Callow, Bill Paterson, Anita Dobson, Amit Shah and others.

The Rebel. Image shows from L to R: Margaret (Anita Dobson), Henry Palmer (Simon Callow). Copyright: Retort.

Series 1, Episode 2 - Charity

When Charles goes missing, Henry eventually finds him volunteering in a former church, now newly opened charity shop 'Virtuous'. Donations to Margaret's shop have dropped off, and they suspect are being stolen from outside the door overnight. With some investigation, the horrible truth about Virtuous begins to come to light.

Full synopsis

Margaret and Henry are worried that Charles has gone missing.

Henry is still wearing the tag he's been forced to wear for his acts of vandalism. He complains about his shame to the urn in the front room. Six months after her death, he's still not scattered his wife's ashes. Just a little high, he tucks the urn up in bed...

Henry searches the park for Charles but only finds a man wearing Charles's hat who says he bought it in a new charity shop called Virtuous, which turns out to be in a converted church.

It's very well stocked, and hiding amongst the rails of clothes... is old hippie Charles, now strangely for him, dressed in a smart black suit. He's now volunteering for Virtuous in what is clearly a rival charity shop to Margaret's. Henry also meets Verity who runs Virtuous. Charles seems completely besotted and tells Henry he's moved on and so should he.

As donations to Margaret's shop seem to have dropped off, Henry takes a bag of his wife's old clothes for her to sell. Margaret persuades him that perhaps it's time for him to scatter the ashes. They're foiled by the blustery wind on Brighton pier, but seeing a container ship with the Virtuous logo on it, Henry begins to realise that perhaps that's where all Margaret's donations might be going.

Henry and Margaret plant a trap outside her shop to catch whoever is stealing the donations and follow the thief back to... Virtuous. Discovering the thief to be Charles they confront Verity.

The fake charity are stealing donations, pulling out the vintage clothing and sending it to Lithuania to sell for hard cash - and Charles has fallen for it all.

Henry and Margaret are furious. He decides to lead a rebellion of Brighton charity shops against Virtuous. And may even finally, get to scatter his wife's ashes...

Broadcast details

Wednesday 27th July 2016
40 minutes


  1. Friday 29th July 2016 at 9:40pm on Gold
  2. Sunday 31st July 2016 at 10:20pm on Gold
  3. Monday 1st August 2016 at 9:20pm on Gold
  4. Wednesday 14th September 2016 at 10:00pm on Gold
  5. Friday 10th February 2017 at 10:25pm on Gold
  6. Wednesday 8th March 2017 at 9:20pm on Gold
  7. Wednesday 2nd August 2017 at 9:00pm on Gold
  8. Wednesday 25th October 2017 at 10:00pm on Gold

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Simon Callow Henry Palmer
Bill Paterson Charles
Anita Dobson Margaret
Amit Shah Jeremy
Anna Crilly Cath
Guest cast
Philip Cumbus PC Burns
Sonya Cassidy Verity
Danny Morgan Matt
Clive Greenwood Man in Hat
Writing team
Andrew Birch Writer
Production team
Vadim Jean Director
Vadim Jean Producer
Simon Lupton Executive Producer
Jon Rolph Executive Producer
Tanya Qureshi Executive Producer
Daniel Gethic Editor
Adrian Smith Production Designer
David Isaac Feldstein Composer


War Of The Charities

Henry is getting cross on behalf of charity.

Featuring: Simon Callow (Henry Palmer), Sonya Cassidy (Verity), Danny Morgan (Matt), Clive Greenwood (Man in Hat).

Curing an iguana

Henry, Cath and Jeremy discuss an iguana.

Featuring: Simon Callow (Henry Palmer), Amit Shah (Jeremy), Anna Crilly (Cath).


Simon Callow - recently hilariously confused with Simon Cowell on Pointless - does a nice line in angry old git as the irascible Henry in this agreeably sour sitcom. You can see Callow channelling his inner King Lear as he rails against the world. Not to mention the dying of the light.

Metro, 27th July 2016

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