Home to Roost

Home to Roost is a British sitcom produced by Yorkshire Television between 19 April 1985 and 19 January 1990. Written by Eric Chappell, it stars John Thaw as Henry Willows and Reece Dinsdale as his teenaged son Matthew.

Home to Roost
Created byEric Chappell
StarringJohn Thaw
Reece Dinsdale
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series4
No. of episodes29
Executive producer(s)Vernon Lawrence
Running time30 minutes
(including adverts)
Production company(s)Yorkshire Television
DistributorITV Studios
Original networkITV
Picture format4:3
Audio formatMono
Original release19 April 1985 (1985-04-19) 
19 January 1990 (1990-01-19)

The premise is that Henry Willows, who is forty-something, has been divorced from his wife for seven years, and is perfectly happy living alone in London until his oldest child, Matthew, arrives to live with him after being thrown out by his mother. The episodes generally revolve around Henry's annoyance at having his solitude disturbed, and the age gap between father and son. Henry employs two cleaners during the show's life; first Enid Thompson, and, in the third season, Fiona Fennell.

The show's theme tune is Lionel Bart's "Consider Yourself" from Oliver!, arranged in a jazz style by Peter Knight.

The series was later repeated on Channel 4, and ITV3. All 29 episodes have now been released on DVD by Network DVD.

Main cast

  • Henry Willows – (John Thaw) Henry is a divorced middle-aged man who lives by himself, but when his son, Matthew, turns up on his door step, expecting to be waited on hand and foot, his life is turned upside down.
  • Matthew Willows – (Reece Dinsdale) Matthew is a teenager who gets himself into trouble, and is obsessed with girls and money.
  • Enid Thompson – (Elizabeth Bennett) Enid is Henry's first cleaner. She is nosey and appears to be attracted to Henry.
  • Fiona Fennell – (Joan Blackham) Fiona is Henry's second cleaner.
  • Julie Willows – (Rebecca Lacey) Julie is Henry's daughter and Matthew's sister. Despite living with her mother after her parents' divorce she appears to be a daddy's girl.
  • Sue Willows - (Sheila Hancock) - Henry's ex-wife. She only appears in one episode.

Episode list

Series 1

EpisodeEpisode TitleTransmissionPrécis
1 (1-1)A new life19 April 1985Henry's bachelor lifestyle is turned upside down when his son Matthew asks to stay.
2 (1-2)Bad apples26 April 1985Henry must find a new school for Matthew.
3 (1-3)All you need is love3 May 1985Henry objects to Matthew's choice of girlfriend.
4 (1-4)Suspect10 May 1985Matthew suspects that the neighbour's college student son is not all he seems.
5 (1-5)Dating Henry?17 May 1985Henry is acting very strange and Matthew sets out to find out why.
6 (1-6)Small change24 May 1985Henry refuses to invest in Matthew's future until he finds suitable employment.
7 (1-7)The way we were31 May 1985Matthew sets up a meeting between his divorced parents.

Series 2

EpisodeEpisode TitleTransmissionPrécis
08 (2-1)Protest5 Sep 1986Henry and Matthew's relationship is strained when Matthew becomes an animal rights activist and a vegetarian.
09 (2-2)Open house12 Sep 1986Matthew throws a party whilst Henry is away, but when Henry suddenly returns, he joins in the festivities rather than putting a stop to them.
10 (2-3)Plastic dreamworld19 Sep 1986Matthew inherits a large sum of money but struggles to keep it.
11 (2-4)Acting out26 Sep 1986Matthew becomes an actor much to the anger of Henry.
12 (2-5)The test3 Oct 1986Henry reluctantly teaches Matthew how to drive.
13 (2-6)Any questions?10 Oct 1986Henry is standing for councillor as an Independent, but can he convince first time voter Matthew and Conservative Enid to vote for him?
14 (2-7)Julie17 Oct 1986Henry's daughter (and Matthew's sister) Julie comes to stay, but Henry and Matthew
discover that three is a crowd.

Series 3

EpisodeEpisode TitleTransmissionPrécis
15 (3-1)Human interest24 Oct 1987Henry and Matthew search for a new cleaning lady.
16 (3-2)Success story31 Oct 1987Henry's brother comes to stay and Henry finds himself no longer wanted.
17 (3-3)High spirits7 Nov 1987Matthew becomes obsessed with ghosts.
18 (3-4)The real thing14 Nov 1987Henry tries to play matchmaker for Matthew.
19 (3-5)Crimewatch21 Nov 1987Henry becomes paranoid about security and joins the neighbourhood watch.
20 (3-6)Getting on?!28 Nov 1987A visit to the hospital urges Matthew to adopt a homeless old man.
21 (3-7)Paper chase5 Dec 1987Matthew sits his exams, but can he resist his friend's offer of cheating.


EpisodeEpisode TitleTransmissionPrécis
22Family ties27 Dec 1987Henry's hopes of a quiet Christmas are dashed when his kids turn up.

Series 4

EpisodeEpisode TitleTransmissionPrécis
23 (4-1)Bridge of sighs1 Dec 1989A blast from the past sets Henry thinking of romance.
24 (4-2)Front runner8 Dec 1989Henry suggests Matthew gets a job in order to pay for his college fees.
25 (4-3)The boyfriend15 Dec 1989Henry quickly takes a dislike to Julie's new boyfriend.
26 (4-4)Thought for the day22 Dec 1989Henry takes in a lodger which turns into a disaster for Matthew.
27 (4-5)Return to Clagthorpe5 Jan 1990Henry and Matthew go to Clagthorpe for a holiday.
28 (4-6)High noon12 Jan 1990Matthew's involvement with a boxer's girlfriend leads to a fight.
29 (4-7)Leaving19 Jan 1990Matthew is leaving for college. Will Henry's life ever be the same again?

Foreign versions

  • The US version, You Again?, was less successful and lasted two seasons, albeit running to some 26 episodes. Elizabeth Bennett reprised the role of Enid in the show.
  • The Dutch version, Ha, die Pa! (Hello, Dad!), ran from 1990 to 1993 and was broadcast by NCRV. Luc Lutz (1924-2001) and his son Joris starred as Norbert and Matthijs Hoogendijk. Keeping it in the family, Pieter Lutz (1927-2009) guested as the homeless old man in the adaptation of the 'Getting on' episode. Matthijs' sister Freddie was played by Bettina Berger.
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