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 languageEnglish
No. of series4
No. of episodes29
Executive producerVernon Lawrence
Running time30 minutes
(including adverts)
Production companyYorkshire 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 40-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, ITV3 and Forces TV. All 29 episodes have now been released on DVD by the Network imprint.

Main castEdit

  • John Thaw as Henry Willows - 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.
  • Reece Dinsdale as Matthew Willows - Matthew is a teenager who gets himself into trouble, and is obsessed with girls and money.
  • Elizabeth Bennett as Enid Thompson - Enid is Henry's first cleaner. She is nosey and appears to be attracted to Henry.
  • Joan Blackham as Fiona Fennell - Fiona is Henry's second cleaner.
  • Rebecca Lacey as Julie Willows - 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.
  • Sheila Hancock - Sue Willows - Henry's ex-wife. She only appears in one episode.

Episode listEdit

Series 1Edit

Episode Episode title Transmission Précis
1 (1-1) A New Life 19 April 1985 Henry's bachelor lifestyle is turned upside down when his son Matthew asks to stay.
2 (1-2) Bad Apples 26 April 1985 Henry must find a new school for Matthew.
3 (1-3) All You Need is Love 3 May 1985 Henry objects to Matthew's choice of girlfriend.
4 (1-4) Suspect 10 May 1985 Matthew suspects that the neighbour's college student son is not all he seems.
5 (1-5) Dating Henry? 17 May 1985 Henry is acting very strange and Matthew sets out to find out why.
6 (1-6) Small Change 24 May 1985 Henry refuses to invest in Matthew's future until he finds suitable employment.
7 (1-7) The Way We Were 31 May 1985 Matthew sets up a meeting between his divorced parents.

Series 2Edit

Episode Episode Title Transmission Précis
08 (2-1) Protest 5 September 1986 Henry and Matthew's relationship is strained when Matthew becomes an animal rights activist and a vegetarian.
09 (2-2) Open House 12 September 1986 Matthew 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 Dreamworld 19 September 1986 Matthew inherits a large sum of money but struggles to keep it.
11 (2-4) Acting out 26 September 1986 Matthew becomes an actor much to the anger of Henry.
12 (2-5) The Test 3 October 1986 Henry reluctantly teaches Matthew how to drive.
13 (2-6) Any Questions? 10 October 1986 Henry 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) Julie 17 October 1986 Henry's daughter (and Matthew's sister) Julie comes to stay, but Henry and Matthew discover that three is a crowd.

Series 3Edit

Episode Episode title Transmission Précis
15 (3-1) Human Interest 24 October 1987 Henry and Matthew search for a new cleaning lady.
16 (3-2) Success Story 31 October 1987 Henry's brother comes to stay and Henry finds himself no longer wanted.
17 (3-3) High Spirits 7 November 1987 Matthew becomes obsessed with ghosts.
18 (3-4) The Real thing 14 November 1987 Henry tries to play matchmaker for Matthew.
19 (3-5) Crimewatch 21 November 1987 Henry becomes paranoid about security and joins the neighbourhood watch.
20 (3-6) Getting on?! 28 November 1987 A visit to the hospital urges Matthew to adopt a homeless old man.
21 (3-7) Paper Chase 5 December 1987 Matthew sits his exams, but can he resist his friend's offer of cheating.

Christmas SpecialEdit

Episode Episode title Transmission Précis
22 Family Ties 27 December 1987 Henry's hopes of a quiet Christmas are dashed when his kids turn up.

Series 4Edit

Episode Episode title Transmission Précis
23 (4-1) Bridge of Sighs 1 December 1989 A blast from the past sets Henry thinking of romance.
24 (4-2) Front Runner 8 December 1989 Henry suggests Matthew gets a job in order to pay for his college fees.
25 (4-3) The Boyfriend 15 December 1989 Henry quickly takes a dislike to Julie's new boyfriend.
26 (4-4) Thought for the Day 22 December 1989 Henry takes in a lodger which turns into a disaster for Matthew.
27 (4-5) Return to Clagthorpe 5 January 1990 Henry and Matthew go to Clagthorpe for a holiday.
28 (4-6) High Noon 12 January 1990 Matthew's involvement with a boxer's girlfriend leads to a fight.
29 (4-7) Leaving 19 January 1990 Matthew is leaving for college. Will Henry's life ever be the same again?

Foreign versionsEdit

  • 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.

External linksEdit