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The Appleyards

Back Row, left to right: Janet (Pat Fryer), Dad (Douglas Muir), Mum (Constance Fraser), John (David Edwards)
Front row left to right: neighbour Ronnie Grant (Robert Dickens), Margaret (Tessa Clarke), and Tommy (Derek Rowe)

Margaret (left) instructing brother Tommy (centre)
and friend and neighbour Ronnie

Transmitted once a fortnight from October 1952 in the Children's Television slot, 'The Appleyards' is generally regarded as Britain's first television soap opera - even if it was made for kids.

The Appleyards family picureA lightweight domestic series about the trivial ups and downs of the rosy Appleyards, a suburban Home Counties family, the show was broadcast live on Thursday's around 4.30 to 5.00pm with a repeat performance the following Sunday. Each episode was approximately 20 minutes in length.

It was a junior version of the adult Grove Family.

Some memories of The Appleyards from John Matthews:
As the series developed, a new character was introduced, an eccentric elderly male neighbour, who was always getting in on the family's activities.  He was always cadging meals.  Not popular with the family, he excited the pity of Mrs Appleyard.  On one occasion, he invited himself to Christmas dinner, by coming round looking pathetic and carrying his cat in a basket.  An episode had a lucky charm given to the elder daughter which she looked at whilst she was sitting her exams.  Another episode had the younger daughter quarrelling with her best friend as both their fathers contested the local council election (Mr Appleyard won).  In another episode, towards the end of the series, the elder son was getting married and the younger son was his best man.  Panic set in when the bridegroom did not get to the church on time.  The neighbour struck up with the song "There was I waiting at the Church".  The delay was something to do with the best man trying to get a bow tie for his brother and ending up with a toy revolving one for him to wear.  The closing line from the groom was "Tommy-on my wedding day!"

And from Peter Worsley:
The end of the final episode showed Mrs. Appleyard sitting on a porter's trolley at the end of a station platform, with her youngest son I think, explaining how her family had grown up and it was time to bring down the curtain. I was heartbroken!

Click Here! Theme Tune

The Appleyards theme tune is called 'Looking Around' by Colin Smith (alias Lloyd Thomas).

Click Here! Video Clip

The Only surviving episode

The Appleyard children

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