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To the Manor Born 

Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance | TV Series (1979–2007)
Audrey fforbes-Hamilton is sad when her husband dies but is shocked when she realises that she has to leave Grantleigh Manor where her family has lived forever. The new owner is Richard De ... See full summary »


Peter Spence




4   3   2   1  
2007   1981   1980   1979  
4 nominations. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:
Penelope Keith ...  Audrey fforbes-Hamilton / ... 22 episodes, 1979-2007
Peter Bowles ...  Richard DeVere 22 episodes, 1979-2007
Angela Thorne ...  Marjory Frobisher 22 episodes, 1979-2007
Daphne Heard Daphne Heard ...  Mrs. Polouvicka 17 episodes, 1979-1981
John Rudling John Rudling ...  Brabinger 16 episodes, 1979-1981
Gerald Sim ...  The Rector 15 episodes, 1979-2007
Michael Bilton Michael Bilton ...  Ned 15 episodes, 1979-1981


Audrey fforbes-Hamilton is sad when her husband dies but is shocked when she realises that she has to leave Grantleigh Manor where her family has lived forever. The new owner is Richard De Vere, owner of a major supermarket chain. Audrey makes sure she's on hand to keep an eye on him by buying The Old Lodge on the edge of the Manor grounds. As time goes by both Richard and Audrey realises that they are falling for each other but both are too shy to do anything about it. Meanwhile, Mrs. Polouvicka, Richard's mother (he changed his name to help him in his business.) knows the situation between Richard and Audrey and is determined to see that Richard does the right thing. Audrey's friend Marjory Frobisher and butler Brabinger are on hand to help out if necessary. Written by Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

25 March 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Født på solsiden See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Its often commented how similar melody of the theme music for "To the Manor Born" is to the melody for "Yes, (Prime) Minister". Both written by Ronnie Hazlehurst, its easy to hear. See more »


Richard DeVere: When I say I want to know all about pig-breeding, I want to know the full facts. All you've told me here is that pigs are dirty little pink things which go 'Oink!'
See more »


Featured in The Comedy Christmas (2007) See more »


Composed by Ronnie Hazlehurst
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User Reviews

The British Satire of All Time; Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles are Classic
9 October 2007 | by silverscreen888See all my reviews

Between 1979 and 1981, 21 episodes of this unforgettable British series were produced. For whatever quality one chooses to stress, no half-hour satirical comedy ever made has ever, by my lights, come near equaling it. The writers cleverly located the principals on a spacious and fine 400 year-old English estate belonging to the very noblesse oblige upper-class Audrey fforbes-Hamilton. Her husband has just expired; it having been a marriage of convenience, she is pleased to be free; pleased, that is, until she is unable to collect quite enough money to outbid a new owner who comes into possession of her property. He is Richard de Vere, a transplanted Czech with a delightful and exasperating mother, and the position as chief executive of the conglomerate Cavendish Foods. Not to be turned off her ancestral property by a "grocer", Audrey purchases the Manor's lodge; and from this vantage point, she begins advising de Vere on what he must, must not, should have done, should not, and needs to consider doing and not doing. The merry war between the two is a classic one; and the gradual realization by both that they are two halves of a coin of great potential happiness takes an entire season to be grasped. Every episode advances one or the other's training, or both--his in what it take to deserve and preserve such a great manor, she in why she needs him so that together they can do what she cannot possibly do alone. As Audrey, Penelope Keith proves herself the best British comedic actress of the century, once again. Playing off her dynamic, lovely, funny and extraordinarily intelligent performance is no easy task; fortunately, the producer, Gareth Gwenan, assigned the role to very talented Peter Bowles, who comes close to holding his own against her formidable character. The small lodge, set against the great manor, and the manor against an increasingly vulgarized and irresponsible English citizenry with a history of far more taste are both used to set off Audrey's attempts, enforced or not, to learn how to cope with ordinary details formerly handled by servants and Richard's attempts to learn to be thoroughly Enlgish while striving for a modernity he only half understands at best. Also featured in the able cast are Angela Thorne as Audrey's friend and rival Marjorie, Daphne Heard as Mrs. Poulouvika the Mother, Gerald Sim as the bemused Rector, Michael Bilton as the lazy but lovable servant Old Ned, John Rudling as Brabinger the splendid butler who goes with her to serve Audrey, and Anthony Sharp as the womanizing old Brigadier. Many others in the town are also featured now and again, along with guest stars such as Bill Travers and Rula Lenska, and assorted class types from the corporation, the British old boy network, and the government. This is biting satire about two persons who are self-assertive, ethical and capable of being insulted, touched, advised, mistaken, friendly, impatient, angry and loving. Peter Spence and Christopher Bond are assigned credit for having produced such memorable plot ideas as a trip to Spain that is never taken, beekeeping on a budget, why hedgerows are necessary, the danger of old school friends who have lost weight, how to save a doomed railway station, shopping as a learned skill, how not to attend a formal dance, milking a back injury for fun and profit, and exampling the nastiness of snobbish upper class types who are as stuck in Feudal attitudes as are the series' government types corporate flunkies and resentful neighbors. The allegory and leads here are so perfect, by my standards, I never expect to see anything of this satirical quality ever done again in my lifetime. Rent the series, view it in order. I suggest there is not a less-than-memorable episode in the entire period from the leads' first meeting to their unorthodox decision to form a partnership called "marriage". I suggest that anyone who cannot appreciate the superiority of this series probably deserves not to do so. It is not another god British comedic series--it is THE British comedic series of all time.

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