The most striking thing of all about After Henry is how unassumingly ahead of its time it seems. Today, if ITV did a very cosy mainstream comedy in which the four main characters were three roundly-written women and a non-cliched, sympathetic gay man, it would be so ordinary it would hardly raise comment.
The fact that this kind of characterisation made it into a Thames Television production in the 1980s without apparent opposition, is remarkable. If there was any executive pushing for Clare to be a boy, or Russell to be a sexless old bachelor, their attempts were thwarted.
After Henry is available in its entirety on DVD and worth checking out if you’re an admirer of any of the contributors. 30 years on, of course it looks a little dated – particularly Clare’s fashions. However in a polite, gentle, well-spoken way, it’s a programme that challenges so subtly, that most of the audience barely noticed as preconceived ideas were toppled.
It may never sit at the top table of British sitcoms, but After Henry after three decades is very deserving of a new appreciation.Highly recommended - 2 Xmas trees up!