Paradise Postponed

Paradise Postponed (1986) is a British 11-episode TV serial based on a novel by writer John Mortimer. He had adapted Brideshead Revisited as a television series and wrote Rumpole of the Bailey. The series covered a span of 30 years of postwar British history, set in a small village.

Paradise Postponed
Novel on which series is based
(publ. Viking Press)
Written byJohn Mortimer
Directed byAlvin Rakoff
StarringMichael Hordern
Annette Crosbie
Peter Egan
Paul Shelley
David Threlfall
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes11
Running time50 minutes
Production company(s)Thames Television
Original networkITV
Picture format4:3
Audio formatMono
Original release15 September (1986-09-15) 
24 November 1986 (1986-11-24)


The series explores the mystery of why Reverend Simeon Simcox, a "wealthy Socialist rector", bequeathed the millions of the Simcox brewery estate to Leslie Titmuss, a city developer and Conservative cabinet minister.[1] Simeon's sons Fred, a jazz-drumming country doctor and Henry, once Britain's brightest and angriest writer who now works for Hollywood, conduct inquiries into their father's life as they try to understand the will. The setting of the work in an English village, shows it absorbing and reflecting the upheavals of British society from the 1940s to the 1970s, the many changes of the post-World War II society. The TV series was directed by Alvin Rakoff and was mainly shot in Henley-on-Thames and Marlow, Buckinghamshire in the second half of 1985. A three-part sequel, entitled Titmuss Regained, aired in 1991.



The New York Times described the series as a "decided disappointment," with Mortimer having perhaps taken on too much.[1] The technique of time shifts from the present to near past is said to be confusing more than illuminating of its characters.[1] While containing a "distinct whiff of snobbery", the character of the lower-class Leslie Titmuss who rises on his wiles is developed as the most fascinating figure in the cast.[1] In a 2014 retrospective review, Toby Manning of The Guardian called the series "beautifully acted", "simply oozes nostalgia for a bygone Britain" and called the character Titmuss "quite simply one of the most compelling characters in TV history."[2]


  1. JOHN J. O'CONNOR, "TV WEEKEND; 'PARADISE POSTPONED,' A NEW SERIES ON 'MASTERPIECE THEATER' ", New York Times, 17 October 1986, accessed 29 February 2016
  2. Toby Manning, "Paradise Postponed box-set review", The Guardian, 27 February 2014, accessed 6 April 2019
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