BILLY LIAR The Complete Series
4-DVD Box Set
4 discs. All 26 Episodes. Comedy. Colour. Years: 1973–1974. Running time over 10 hours of content.
Cast: Jeff Rawle, George A. Cooper, Pamela Vezey, May Warden, Colin Jeavons and Sally Watts.
Written by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall.
Special Features: Our Kid an episode of Waterhouse and Hall’s 1973 comedy series and The South Bank Show on writer Keith Waterhouse from 1983.
Billy Fisher is a likeable North Country lad with a habit of losing himself in his own overactive imagination. These flights of fancy do him no favours at the funeral parlour where he works – and his daydreaming at home proves a constant source of annoyance to his Dad! Adapted from the highly successful novel/play/film by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, Billy Liar is a whimsical sitcom and one of the funniest shows from one of Britain’s premier writing teams.
A Northern working-class 19-year-old living in the fictional town of Stradhoughton in Yorkshire, Billy Fisher is bored by his job as a lowly clerk for an undertaker, with a permanently uptight employer. Billy dates a girl who fails to satisfy him emotionally or physically and lives with his parents and grandmother who stifle his personality. To forget about all of this, Billy escapes into his imagination and fantasises his life away, indulging in fantasies and dreams of life in the big city as a comedy writer.
The scripts by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall were updated to the 1970s. Clothes, hairstyles and interiors reflect the era, with references to hippies and the Kung Fu craze. Several new girlfriends were also introduced. Guest appearances were made by Thora Hird, Windsor Davies, Mollie Sugden, Kathy Staff, Magnus Magnusson and Roy Kinnear, among others.
The show sees Billy concocting numerous wild schemes in order to forget the mundane reality of his existence. He dates dozens of girls, plans to work in numerous jobs and seeks to move out of the family home. Each time he is thwarted by his parents, girlfriend and boss but Billy is never dejected and returns after each defeat to dream again. Billy is variously depicted as Julius Caesar; a 1930’s gigolo; the artist Toulouse-Lautrec, Sherlock Holmes; Captain Kirk from Star Trek; Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol; an 18th century nobleman, and many more outlandish scenarios. Hilarious escapism!