DVD review: “Fresh Fields” (1984 – 1986) 

“Fresh Fields” (1984 – 1986) 


Twenty seven Episodes

Created by: Peter Frazer-Jones

Featuring: Julia McKenzie, Anton Rodgers, Ann Beach, Fanny Rowe, Ballard Berkeley, Debby Cumming, Daphne Oxenford, Philip Bird and John Arthur

“Fresh Fields” is a British television sitcom that aired from 1984 to 1986, with four series and 26 episodes in total. The show follows the lives of a middle-aged couple, Hester and William Fields, as they navigate their daily lives and deal with the challenges of aging.

The show is characterized by its gentle humor and realistic portrayal of the struggles faced by older adults. The performances by the lead actors, Julia McKenzie and Anton Rodgers, are excellent, and they bring a lot of warmth and charm to their roles.

One of the strengths of “Fresh Fields” is its ability to deal with serious issues in a lighthearted manner. The show tackles topics like retirement, health problems, and family relationships with sensitivity and humor, which makes it appealing to audiences of all ages.

Overall, “Fresh Fields” is a delightful and charming sitcom that is well worth watching. Its portrayal of older adults as complex and multi-dimensional characters is refreshing, and its gentle humor is sure to put a smile on your face.

In addition to the lead actors, the supporting cast is also strong, with memorable performances from other characters such as Hester’s best friend, Sonia, and William’s boss, Trevor.

The show is set in suburban London, and the production design captures the look and feel of that era, adding to the show’s nostalgic appeal. The music score, too, is a standout feature, with its catchy and memorable theme tune.

While “Fresh Fields” may not be as well-known as some other British sitcoms of its era, such as “Only Fools and Horses” or “Blackadder,” it is still a beloved classic that holds up well today. Its depiction of middle-aged life is relatable and universal, and its themes of family, friendship, and love are timeless.

Furthermore, one of the key strengths of “Fresh Fields” is the chemistry between Julia McKenzie and Anton Rodgers. They play off each other perfectly, bringing a sense of warmth and affection to their characters’ relationship. Their banter and gentle teasing are a delight to watch, and they create a convincing portrait of a long-term married couple.

In terms of its style, “Fresh Fields” is a traditional sitcom with a multi-camera setup and a live studio audience. This gives the show a sense of energy and immediacy, and the laughter of the audience adds to the humor of the show. While the sitcom format may be considered dated by some, it is still an effective way of telling comedic stories, and “Fresh Fields” demonstrates the enduring appeal of the genre.

If you’re looking for a gentle, funny, and heartwarming sitcom that offers a window into the lives of older adults, “Fresh Fields” is definitely worth a watch. With its endearing characters, clever writing, and great performances, it’s a show that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside

Overall, “Fresh Fields” is a charming and entertaining sitcom that offers a glimpse into the lives of older adults. Its gentle humor, relatable characters, and strong performances make it a standout example of the genre. While it may not have the same level of recognition as some other British sitcoms, it is definitely worth a watch for anyone looking for a light-hearted and nostalgic comedy.


Season One

Dish of the Day: Hester spices things up with a foray into haute cuisine, landing a job as a part-time chef at a local restaurant. However, she’s missing one vital ingredient for her debut, and only William can save the day.

Middle-Age Dread: Suddenly feeling her years, Hester is determined to prove she’s not too old to start a new career. But her confidence is shaken after she gets turned down for a job at a trendy boutique.

Hook, Line and Sink Her: William plans to get away from it all with a day’s fishing. But there’s a catch–his wife and mother-in-law want to come along, too. The addition of yet another person to the party threatens to change the whole trip entirely.

The Naked Truth: Keen to impress a prospective client visiting from the Middle East, William enlists Hester’s help to ensure the trip goes off without a hitch. The Fields soon discover that the man has an unusual understanding of mixing business with pleasure.

Des. Det. Res.: With property taxes due, William comes up with a drastic solution. He decides it’s time to sell their home and move to a smaller place. Hester has other ideas and enlists two co-conspirators to help execute her plan.

Something in the Oven: Hester is unnerved when she learns that a food critic will be at the restaurant during her shift. She gets edgier still when her unmarried daughter Emma tells her she’s going to have a baby.

Season Two

A Night to Remember: William organizes a special getaway to mark their 24th wedding anniversary. He surprises Hester by taking her back to the hotel where he first proposed–but an even bigger surprise is waiting for them when they get there.

A Brief Encounter: Hackles arise when William notices that Hester’s fencing instructor–a known Casanova–is paying her quite a bit of attention. Hester, however, sees no cause for alarm. Only when she lowers her guard does she realize William might have a point.

Alright on the Night: Hester gets roped into organizing the church bazaar and concert while William plans to escape it all by going fishing for the day. Then a performer calls in sick.

In the Spring: A scandalous affair in the neighborhood gets Hester’s creative juices flowing. She begins a new writing project, much to William’s dismay. Meanwhile, Hester’s father takes an entirely different kind of inspiration from the whole affair.

Business Contacts: When William’s secretary calls in sick, the ever-helpful Hester volunteers to run the office. She must get creative when an important new client shows up for an appointment and William is nowhere to be found.

Get Me to the Church: Emma finally sets a date for her wedding. The church is booked, the jet-setting parents of the groom fly in, and the wedding party assembles for the grand occasion. But no one can make an entrance quite like Hester.

Season Three

Do It Yourself: Determined to give their bedroom a modern makeover, Hester brings in local builder and decorator Mr. Pringle, to William’s dismay. Catching Hester wearing a mudpack gives Mr. Pringle such a fright that he falls downstairs and is indisposed. As Hester and William carry on with the redecorating, Emma rings to announce that they are now the grandparents of a boy named Guy.

A Waiting Game: William is hung over after a drunken but successful night out with prospective client, wine importer Mr Royce. Some nights later Hester organizes a buffet for a private party and drags along William to serve as barman. One of the guests is Mr Royce, who, since the Fields are pretending to be strangers, takes a shine to Hester and makes a play for her, ultimately following the Fields home.

Moveable Feasts: Hester looks forward to babysitting Guy while Emma and Peter attend a function in London; meanwhile she delivers Meals on Wheels to one of Sonia’s old ladies. She gets lost and causes a traffic jam, and policeman she collides with escorts her home, mistakenly believing that she’s the expectant one. The next day when Guy is there, the policeman stops by to check on Hester and is amazed to see her holding such a large baby – for her supposed newborn.

Tipping the Scales: William is not happy when Hester decides that they are overweight and puts them both on a starvation diet. He is even less happy when Hester persuades him to drive her to a car boot sale, sustaining a puncture on the way before they discover that the sale was the day before. Now thoroughly angry he decides to end the diet by sneaking into a burger bar, only to find that Hester has the same idea and is also there.

Crossed Lines: Hester is standing for chairperson of the residents’ association and is not pleased to learn that the other candidate, Miss Henshaw, is a glamorous young woman whom William hopes to attract as a client. At Sonia’s cheese and wine party Hester meets her rival, who may be younger and prettier but has a truly irritating laugh. Fortunately Hester has the last laugh when she wins the election.

Alarums and Excursions: Sonia tells Hester’s fortune and two of her three predictions come true: that she will travel, as William has booked them a weekend in Paris; and that she’ll come into money, since she wins £500 on her Premium Bonds. The third prophecy, that she will have a secret admirer, almost seems to come true when Sonia’s husband forgets her birthday and Hester helps him out, leading to confusion in a dress shop.

A Dickens of a Christmas: Eager for their first Christmas with their grandson, Hester and William are disappointed when Emma says she and Peter have suddenly made other plans. Who will help them consume all that extra food and drink? Fortunately Sonia is happy to come bringing husband John, and Guy will join any party to be close to Nancy. William invites his secretary, and the Fields have one of their best celebrations ever.

Season Four

A Nose for Trouble: After being kept awake by William’s snoring for several nights Hester doesn’t need to look after a dog called Randy while his owner is in hospital, but Sonia insists. William isn’t amused when Randy eats his dinner and a trip to obedience class ends disastrously. After Sonia reclaims Randy the Fields settle down for the night, but now Hester is so used to William’s snoring that she can’t get to sleep without it.

The Old Folks at Home: As chair of the residents’ association Hester opposes the demolition of an empty building to make way for flats, proposing that it become an retirement home instead. To prove the need for one, she persuades Guy, Nancy, and Nancy’s sister Winnie to pose as helpless, deluded old folk when Mr. Gardner, head of the council. visits. Not only is he so convinced that Hester’s plan goes ahead, but he’s so concerned about the old folk that he arranges for them to be moved to a care home ASAP.

One Damned Ming After Another: Hester takes up judo, and proves better at it than at Trivial Pursuit. She also takes her Chinese vase to TV’s ‘Antiques Road Show’, where it is valued at £6,000. Concerned about having such a valuable item in the house, the Fields surprise a burglar and Hester’s judo skills overpower him. They engage the burglar in playing Trivial Pursuit until the police arrive.

Life Is Full of Ups and Downs: William and Hester go to Boulogne to buy cheap food and wine. After a choppy crossing they reach the hypermarket where Hester’s school-girl French baffles the salesman. but rough seas cancel the return crossing. The couple book into a hotel whose name translates to “Hotel of the Bells,” and they soon discover why.

Takes Two to Tango: After Sonia suspects husband John of infidelity with his secretary, Hester has her own suspicions about William when he comes home reeking of perfume – after having a business meeting with perfume saleswoman Miss Henshaw who was merely trying out some samples on him. After this is cleared up, the Fields go to a dinner-dance and draw deserved admiration for their energetic Charleston.

Caught in the Act: William’s efforts to mend a leaking tap only make things worse, requiring a visit from the plumber. Even worse, Peter’s parents, Margaret and Henry Richardson, arrive unannounced and want to stay overnight. The Fields invent a planned visit to Bournemouth and hide at Sonia’s, but then the Richardsons call on Sonia and the Fields flee to Nancy’s flat – where they’re mistaken for burglars. They explain that they had to return early when Nancy caught the flu, but then Henry actually catches it, so the Fields are stuck with the Richardsons for a few days.

Brighton or Bust: Hester is preparing for a charity cycle ride to Brighton to raise funds for the RSPCA but William can do without her practising five miles a night on her exercise bike when he wants to sleep. Hester takes part in the race but gets caught short and chased by a cow in a field, coming into Brighton in last position. That night, feeling less charitable toward the animals she helped, she throws a bucket of water over two noisy cats outside her bedroom window, soaking Sonia in the process.

Happy Returns: The Fields return from Italy to England in time for William to treat Hester for her 45th birthday. Despite his back giving out, requiring a doctor’s visit, the evening is on again until Hester is called in for an emergency at her restaurant. But it’s a ruse: it’s the venue for the surprise party William has been planning for her. An even bigger surprise: Nancy and Guy have gotten remarried.


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