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Watching logo.jpg
Genre Comedy, Sitcom
Created by Jim Hitchmough
Starring Paul Bown
Emma Wray
Liza Tarbuck
Patsy Byrne
Perry Fenwick
No. of episodes 56 (including 4 specials)
Producer(s) Granada Television
Running time 30mins x 54
60mins x 2
Original channel ITV
Original run 5 July 1987 – 4 April 1993

Watching is a British television sitcom, produced by Granada Television for the ITV network and broadcast for seven series and four specials between 1987 and 1993.

The series was written by Jim Hitchmough and starred Paul Bown and Emma Wray as mismatched couple Malcolm Stoneway and Brenda Wilson.



Watching was set in Merseyside, with Brenda coming from Liverpool and Malcolm coming from Meols on the Wirral, the "posh" part of Merseyside situated on the other side of the River Mersey. The title refers to both Brenda and her sister Pamela's hobby of 'people watching', and to Malcolm's hobby of birdwatching, which initially Brenda endures rather than enjoys, but later comes to appreciate.

Quiet biker Malcolm, who lived with his domineering mother (played by Patsy Byrne - Nursie from Blackadder), was accompanied on his birdwatching trips by loud scouser Brenda, who was forced to ride in the sidecar of his Norton motorbike. The series followed their on/off relationship, during which Malcolm married Lucinda (played by Elizabeth Morton).

Brenda and Malcolm married each other in the final episode, "Knotting", broadcast on 4 April 1993.

Production notes

Watching was originally conceived as a comedy sketch about a shy birdwatcher and a lively girl, written by Hitchmough during a drama workshop at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool. He submitted the sketch for the BBC satirical series Not The Nine O'Clock News but it was rejected. Undeterred by this, Hitchmough developed the sketch into a hit stage play and later won a commission from Granada Television to produce a seven-part series for broadcast on Sunday nights at 10:00pm (a timeslot which was usually reserved for satirical comedy such as Yorkshire TV's The New Statesman and Central TV's Spitting Image). After a successful first series and subsequent Christmas special, Watching was recommissioned and moved to an earlier timeslot of 8:00pm on Friday nights. Up until the end of its final run (broadcast at 7pm on Sunday), the series would win audiences of over 17 million viewers.

Originally, the series was produced by David Liddiment (later to become Director of Programming at ITV) and directed by Les Chatfield, a senior director at Granada. Chatfield directed all 56 episodes and took over producing duties from series 3 onwards. Liddiment became the series' executive producer.

Emma Wray sang the theme song, "What Does He See in Me?", which was written by Charles Hart. Incidental music was written and composed by Richie Close.


Book and Video releases

A novel based around the first series of Watching and written by Jim Hitchmough was published in 1990 by Bantam Books.

A video featuring the first two episodes, "Meeting" and "Wrestling" was released by CastleVision in August 1993.

DVD Releases

All seven series and four specials have been released on DVD, The complete first series, including the 1987 Christmas special ("Seasoning"), was released on DVD in February 2006, also released was Watching:Series 1-Selected Episodes, which comprised three first season episodes "Meeting", "Outing" and "Hiding". The complete second series was released in March 2008; The complete third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh series including the 1988, 1991 and 1993 Christmas and New Year specials ("Twitching"), ("Slipping") and ("Reverting"), Especially a nine-disc set of the complete series, were released in April, May, July, October and November 2009. All releases are distributed by Network.

DVD Release date
The Complete Series 1 27th February 2006
The Complete Series 2 17th March 2008
The Complete Series 3 6th April 2009
The Complete Series 4 25th May 2009
The Complete Series 5 13th July 2009
The Complete Series 6 5th October 2009
The Complete Series 7 9 November 2009
The Complete Series 1 to 7 Box Set 9 November 2009

Main cast

External links


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