The regular cast for the second season - from top left Arthur Lowe, Betty Driver, Robert Dorning and Joy Stewart.

Pardon the Expression was a studio-based, laughter-tracked sitcom spin-off from Coronation Street with Arthur Lowe continuing his role of Leonard Swindley. It ran for two seasons in 1965 and 1966.

Two days after making his final appearance in the "parent" programme, Swindley took up his new position as the deputy manager of a branch of the chain store Dobson and Hawks where he made a good impression on the otherwise bickering and factional female staff. Apart from a mutual affection for Swindley the staff had nothing in common but it was fortunate for Swindley that he united them. Each week Swindley would create problems for himself and they would, often unbeknownst to him, co-operate to save him.

In the first series Swindley was assisted by several shop-girls who took to him after he showed kindness to one of them who was running late. They were Mavis Foster played by Holly Doone and Pam Plummer played by Barbara Young.

Throughout both series Swindley was also helped by Betty Driver's no-nonsense canteen manageress (and occasionally awful cook), Mrs Edgeley who thought Swindley was pleasantly naive. There was also a major part for Joy Stewart as Miss Sinclair, a bleach blonde and snooty Scot who thought Swindley was one of nature's gentlemen.

The authority figure waiting to pounce on any of Swindley's mistakes were in series one Ernest Parbold, played by Paul Dawkins and in series two Wally Hunt played by Robert Dorning. Dorning replaced Dawkins after the actor was involved in a car accident.

Many of Coronation Street 's behind the camera team worked on the programme. It was written by (amongst others) Harry Driver, Vince Powell, Jack Rosenthal, and Geoffrey Lancashire. The executive producer was H.V. Kershaw. Guest cast members included Christine Hargreaves, Angela Crow, Julie Goodyear, Warren Clarke, William Moore and Amanda Barrie. From beyond the world of Weatherfield came an impressive roster of guest actors including Dandy Nichols, Warren Mitchell, John Laurie, John Le Mesurier, Pauline Collins, Ben Kingsley, Wendy Richard, John Barron, and Geoffrey Palmer.

TV Times cover for Pardon the Expression

Pardon the Expression on the cover of TV Times promoting the episode The Wedding

The title of the series came from a phrase often used by the character of Swindley in Coronation Street where he would excuse some (to him) mild inunnedo or remark in conversation with another person. Arthur Lowe himself had said to H.V. Kershaw that if Swindley ever had his own show, it would have to be called "If You'll Pardon the Expression".

Swindley aside, there were few references to the "parent" programme in Pardon. Harry Driver told TV Times in 1965 that "This is not a sequel to Coronation Street. We are keen to produce a good family comedy show. Goodness knows, TV needs one."

There were twelve transmitted episodes in series one, twenty-four in series two. However thirty-nine episodes of the programme were recorded: Two pilot programmes which no longer exist in the Granada Television archives (1) and an episode which was made with the intention of it being transmitted either over Christmas 1965 or as the debut episode of the second season on 3rd January 1966 but was ultimately never broadcast.

The first two episodes of the series were released on Network DVD's Jack Rosenthal at ITV on 19th June 2006 and the same company released the complete first series on 4th May 2009 and the second (together with the unseen Christmas show) on 24th August of the same year. On 12th December 2011 the two series were released in one combined set.

The final episode saw Swindley and Hunt sacked from "Dobson and Hawks", but it was not to be the last viewers saw of them as the short lived Turn out the Lights followed in 1967.

The series was not fully networked on ITV. Westward Television, Channel Television and the Teledu Cymru service of Television Wales and the West never showed a single episode of the series. In addition Ulster Television didn't show the second series. The transmission dates referred to below are those of Granada Television and were followed by Associated Rediffusion, ATV and Southern Television for both series. Anglia Television, Television Wales and the West (outside of the Teledu Cymru service) and Ulster Television also followed this pattern for the first series but diverged for the second. Differences in transmission dates and times are noted in the individual episode entries.

Episode GuideEdit

Season One (1965)Edit

Pardon the Expression title

Season one title caption

Producer: Harry Driver
Executive producer: H.V. Kershaw
Transmitted on Wednesday evenings from 2nd June to 18th August 1965 at 7.00pm

Season Two (1966)Edit

Producer: Derek Granger
Executive producer: H.V. Kershaw

Christmas Special: Never transmitted.

The second season was transmitted on Monday evenings from 10th January to 27th June 1966 at 9.10pm except for "Whose Baby Are You?" and "The Take-over Bid" which were transmitted at 9.20pm.