James Shelley, an educated, sardonic, permanently unemployed "professional freelance layabout," has many battles with authority, the tax-man, his landlady and his girlfriend Fran.

Creator:

Peter Tilbury
Reviews

Episodes

Seasons


Years



6   5   4   3   2   1  
1984   1983   1982   1981   1980   1979  
2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Return of Shelley (TV Series 1988)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After nearly five years away teaching in the Middle-East, Shelley flies back into the UK. He's shocked to find a new world of high rent, yuppies and wine bars - but one thing that hasn't changed is his ready-wit and work-shy behaviour.

Stars: Hywel Bennett, Andrew Castell, Caroline Langrishe
Never the Twain (1981–1991)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Comedy about two rival antique dealers.

Stars: Donald Sinden, Windsor Davies, Derek Deadman
Hazell (1978–1979)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A British television series about a fictional private detective named James Hazell and his adventures.

Stars: Nicholas Ball, Roddy McMillan, Desmond McNamara
Get Some In! (1975–1978)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

1955 called up into R.A.F. a group of young men find it hard to cope,especially with a corporal who is unhappy and takes it out on them.

Stars: Tony Selby, Gerard Ryder, David Janson
Bless This House (1971–1976)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Bless This House centres on life in Birch Avenue, Putney, where travelling stationery salesman Sid Abbott (Sidney James) and his wife Jean (Diana Coupland) live with their teenagers: Mike (... See full summary »

Stars: Sidney James, Diana Coupland, Robin Stewart
Father, Dear Father (1968–1973)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The comedy of the life of a single father and his two daughters.

Stars: Patrick Cargill, Natasha Pyne, Ann Holloway
Steptoe and Son (1962–2016)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A thirty-something year-old man named Harold and his elderly father, Albert, work as rag and bone men (collecting and selling junk). Harold is ambitious and wants to better himself, but his... See full summary »

Stars: Wilfrid Brambell, Harry H. Corbett, Frank Thornton
Robin's Nest (1977–1981)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Now a qualified chef, Robin from "Man About the House" (1973) sets up home with his girlfriend, and a business with his girlfriend's father.

Stars: Richard O'Sullivan, Tessa Wyatt, Tony Britton
On the Buses (1969–1973)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Jack-the-lad bus driver and conductor Stan and Jack enjoy the female employees more than their work and Inspector Blake is relentless in his attempts to make their lives a misery.

Stars: Anna Karen, Bob Grant, Stephen Lewis
It Ain't Half Hot Mum (1974–1981)
Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The comic adventures of a group of misfits who form an extremely bad concert party touring the hot and steamy jungles of Burma entertaining the troops during World War II.

Stars: Windsor Davies, Melvyn Hayes, Donald Hewlett
Rising Damp (1974–1978)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Popular sitcom set in a seedy bedsit lorded over by the mean, vain, boastful, cowardly and racist landlord Rigsby. In each episode, his conceits are debunked by his long suffering tenants.

Stars: Leonard Rossiter, Don Warrington, Frances de la Tour
Brush Strokes (1986–1991)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Jacko is a house painter who "appreciates" women. He sees the best in each one of them and they in turn, like him. Will he find true love? Will he settle down as he gets older?

Stars: Karl Howman, Mike Walling, Jackie Lye
Edit

Cast

Series cast summary:
Hywel Bennett ...  James Shelley 39 episodes, 1979-1984
Belinda Sinclair Belinda Sinclair ...  Fran 29 episodes, 1979-1984
Josephine Tewson ...  Mrs. Hawkins 23 episodes, 1979-1982
Edit

Storyline

James Shelley, an educated, sardonic, permanently unemployed "professional freelance layabout," has many battles with authority, the tax-man, his landlady and his girlfriend Fran.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 July 1979 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Thames Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(39 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The first series broadcast in Summer,1979 comprised of just four epiodes although seven were made. The final three episodes were not shown due to an itv technician's strike and instead where shown at the beginning of series two in 1980. See more »

Connections

Followed by The Return of Shelley (1988) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Lay about with Shelley
31 July 2013 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

Despite their protestations ITV are not known for their sit-coms. It is usually a mirth fee zone but every now and then a gem is discovered and Shelly is a bona fide, premium grade comedy classic.

Hywel Bennett plays the over educated professional layabout Shelley whose mission in life is to avoid work and muse about life. It was anti establishment and anti Tory which gave it a political edge.

It had sharp writing and funny without resorting to knockabout comedy. In Hywel Bennett they found the perfect actor.

Bennett was someone who was a rising star in the late 1960s but problems in his personal life meant he hit skid row in the early 70s and was out of the limelight until the late 1970s.

Shelley established him back to the forefront, he might had looked older and less baby faced than before but still attractive enough to make Shelley appealing enough to women and an everyman philosopher without turning to bombast.

Later series had to deal with issues when his screen wife left the show and had him musing to a tape recorder to his daughter now relocated to Canada. Some years later Shelly returned in new episodes, more wiser, more cynical but still funny as ever.

A lasting tribute to the talents of Hywel Bennett.


15 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 5 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed