Created byPeter Tilbury
Directed byAnthony Parker
StarringHywel Bennett
Warren Clarke
Garfield Morgan
Belinda Sinclair
Josephine Tewson
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series10
No. of episodes71
ProducerAnthony Parker
Running time25 minutes per episode
Production companyThames Television
Original networkITV
Picture format4:3
Original releaseFirst run:
12 July 1979 (1979-07-12) – 12 January 1984 (1984-01-12)
Second run:
11 October 1988 (1988-10-11) – 1 September 1992 (1992-09-01)

Shelley is a British sitcom made by Thames Television and originally broadcast on ITV from 12 July 1979 to 12 January 1984 and from 11 October 1988 to 1 September 1992. It stars Hywel Bennett as Dr James Shelley, 28 years old (at the outset, although 35 by the sixth series only 4 years later) and a sardonic, perpetually unemployed anti-establishment 'freelance layabout' with a doctoral degree. In the original run, Belinda Sinclair played Shelley's girlfriend Fran, and Josephine Tewson appeared regularly as his landlady, Edna Hawkins. The series was created by Peter Tilbury who also wrote the first three series. The scripts for subsequent episodes were by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, Colin Bostock-Smith, David Frith, Bernard McKenna and Barry Pilton. All 71 episodes were produced and directed by Anthony Parker.

Series seven was titled on screen The Return of Shelley, and was broadcast in 1988. This time around, Shelley is (still) separated from Fran, and lives on his own, doing his best to avoid obtaining gainful employment. The series begins with Shelley returning to the UK from Kuwait after teaching English for several years, only to find that his calls to his old friends are now screened by answering machines and that yuppieness has taken root in his old neighbourhood. The final three series returned to the on-screen title of Shelley.

In the final series, Shelley is a lodger with Ted Bishop (David Ryall). Ted's house is the only one left in his street, the other residences having been demolished to make way for a leisure centre. Shelley moves in as lodger to help Ted with his fight against the developers who want to demolish the house Ted has lived in his whole life.


Minor characters

List of Episodes

Series 1 (1979-80)

Series 2 (1980)

Christmas Special (1980)

Series 3 (1980-81)

Series 4 (1982)

Series 5 (1982)

Series 6 (1983-84)

Series 7 (1988)

Series 8 (1989-90)

Series 9 (1990)

New Year's Special (1991)

Series 10 (1992)


The first series was rewritten as a novel, Shelley, by Colin Bostock-Smith and Peter Tilbury. New English Library, paperback, 1 April 1980. ISBN 0-450-04931-0.[1][2]

DVD releases

The first six series were previously released through Network on Region 2 DVD-Video between 2007 and 2012. The series 2 DVD only contains six episodes from the second series as broadcast: three episodes held over from series one (due to transmission of that series being postponed by the ITV technicians' strike of 1979) appear on the DVD release of that series.

A 6 disc set consisting the first six series, along with another set featuring series 7-10 were finally released on 20 November 2017.

DVD box set Release date
The Complete Series 1 19 March 2007 (2007-03-19)
The Complete Series 2 16 July 2007 (2007-07-16)
The Complete Series 3 5 November 2007 (2007-11-05)
The Complete Series 4 22 June 2009 (2009-06-22)
The Complete Series 5 13 June 2011 (2011-06-13)
The Complete Series 6 30 April 2012 (2012-04-30)
The Complete Series 1 to 6
The Complete Series 7 to 10
20 November 2017 (2017-11-20)


  1. ^ "{title}". Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  2. ^ {title}. ASIN 0450049310.