To The Manor Born. Image shows from L to R: Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith), Richard DeVere (Peter Bowles). Copyright: BBC
To The Manor Born

To The Manor Born

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC One
  • 1979 - 2007
  • 22 episodes (3 series)

Riches-to-rags-to-riches romantic tale of Audrey fforbes-Hamilton, forced to sell her beloved stately home to pay off her late husband's debts. Stars Penelope Keith, Peter Bowles, Angela Thorne, Gerald Sim, John Rudling and more.

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On the subject of having the staff 'in' the house

You can always tell when they've been: they help themselves to After Eights and leave the wrappers. It's very embarrassing when I find myself offering a box of waste paper to the Lord Lieutenant.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) in Series 1, Episode 1
To Richard on the subject of his responsibilities

You may have just bought a piece of English history, but you don't own anything.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) in Series 1, Episode 2
To Richard on his deficiencies as Lord of the Manor

To think that Grantleigh is in the hands of a man who has no interest in farming, doesn't go to church and now, it turns out, hasn't even heard of Winnie-The-Pooh. You think A.A. Milne is a motoring organisation, I suppose.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) in Series 1, Episode 3
Brabinger has discovered a pigeon floating in the water tank

Audrey: "Ugh! My bathwater comes from that! I've washed in that, I've drunk it, I've even arranged flowers in that water!"
Brabinger: "I thought they lasted longer, Madam."

in Series 1, Episode 4
A conversation concerning Richard

Audrey: "Don't be fooled by the suntan, and the hair attractively greying at the temples, and that mysterious aura of power."
Marjory: "You see! You do find him attractive!"
Audrey: "I am simply saying that he looks as if he's stepped straight out of Barbara Cartland. It all comes out of bottles, you know."
Marjory: "I just adore that twinkle in his eye when he looks at one!"
Audrey: "Twinkle? That's a nervous tic!"
Marjory: "Well I suppose it might be when he looks at you."

in Series 1, Episode 5
On Richard's feelings for her

I am not an interest, Marjory. You make me sound like a stamp collection or a brass rubbing. I'm an infatuation.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) in Series 1, Episode 6
To director Bob Roberts on the subject of ancestral homes

Most of our historic houses are no longer lived in by Dukes and Duchesses; they're full of Arabs and pop stars, or they've been taken over by the gas board and turned into rest houses for exhausted meter-readers.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) in Series 1, Episode 7
On the subject of Richard's crib

Why don't you go the whole hog and have a neon sign saying 'DeVere's Pork Pies'?

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) in Series 1, Episode 8
After her first supermarket shopping trip

You'd think in this day and age they could make a supermarket trolley so all the wheels go in the same direction.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) in Series 2, Episode 1
Audrey suggests a reason to prevent Podge from sleeping at the Manor

We'll tell her there's been a dreadful mistake: that it's full moon tonight and DeVere is liable to go off his head.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) in Series 2, Episode 2
Audrey interrogates a salesman

Audrey: "How do you persuade people to buy a 'Brotschrank'? I don't even know what it is."
Kitchen Fitter: "Well that's a bread cupboard, ma'am. We're in Europe now, aren't we?"
Audrey: "You may be, but I intend to stay here."

in Series 2, Episode 3
On the subject of casual labourer Arthur Smith

Audrey: "He comes here every year to help with the slurry carting. And in return we feed him, we let him sleep in the barn, we clean him up and sometimes we give him one of Marton's old suits to see him on his way."
Richard: "Jolly good; don't let me stop you."
Audrey: "When I say we do, I mean we did. And when I say we, I mean you."

in Series 2, Episode 4
Audrey and Marjory discuss the low turnout at a conservation meeting

Audrey: "Was this meeting properly advertised?"
Marjory: "Of course! The Parish magazine, the local paper and the telegraph pole outside my house."
Audrey: "I expect your poster has been torn down."
Marjory: "Who by? Nobody ever goes past my house."

in Series 2, Episode 5
Audrey is visited by an ill Marjory

Audrey: "What on earth is that smell?"
Marjory: "Vapour rub for my chest."
Audrey: "What's in it?"
Marjory: "Tannis root extract and garlic, I made it myself."
Audrey: "Oh, Marjory! You and your herbal cures; you smell like a compost heap."

in Series 2, Episode 6
On Richard's obligations to the local Scout group

All the times they've helped his mother across the road! In spite of her resistance.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) in Series 3, Episode 1
Reminiscing the fforbes-Hamilton family's influence of old

My Grandfather used to have his eggs timed by the passing trains. If they were hard-boiled he had the driver sacked.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) in Series 3, Episode 2
Audrey laments her drop in social status

I never seem to get any white envelopes these days: only brown ones with those nasty little windows so the postman can tell everyone how much you owe.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) in Series 3, Episode 3
Audrey is not pleased to learn of a rare bird moving into the vicinity

Audrey: "Am I right in supposing that a Bee-Eater eats bees?"
Marjory: "Well bound to, I mean that's probably why it's called a Bee-Eater."
Audrey: "It doesn't seem to have occurred to you that I am a beekeeper, and that your Bee-Eater is going to eat the bees which I as a beekeeper keep!"
Marjory: "Well I suppose it is just possible."
Audrey: "It's more than just possible; it's highly probable! You don't call a bird a Bee-Eater if it lives on asparagus!"

in Series 3, Episode 4
Responding to Marjory's request for jumble

Well I know we're supposed to live in a throwaway society; but I promise you, Marjory, I have absolutely nothing left to throw away.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) in Series 3, Episode 5
On the subject of Audrey's Uncle Greville

Marjory: "I suppose he's absolutely stinking rich."
Audrey: "Oh, absolutely stinking. He made a squalid million-"
Marjory: "Honestly?"
Audrey: "No one ever makes a million honestly! Then he squandered it on loose women, then he made another million or two: all very seedy."
Marjory: "Oh, I wish I could find a man who'd squander a million on me."
Audrey: "I said loose women, Marjory."
Marjory: "Oh, I could loosen up no end if the man was right!"

in Series 3, Episode 6
To Arnold Plunkett

If you're asking me to judge the vegetables at the village show then the answer's no. Some people still aren't speaking to me from last year.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) in Series 3, Episode 7

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