Waiting for God (TV series)

Waiting for God (TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name = Waiting for God

caption = "Waiting for God" Opening Credits
format = Sitcom
camera =
runtime = 46x30 minutes
1x45 minutes
creator = Michael Aitkens
starring = Stephanie Cole
Graham Crowden
Daniel Hill
Janine Duvitski
country = UK
network = BBC1
first_aired = 28 June 1990
last_aired = 27 October 1994
num_episodes = 47
imdb_id = 0098945

"Waiting for God" was a British sitcom that ran on BBC1 for five series from 1990 to 1994. It stars Stephanie Cole and Graham Crowden as two spirited residents of a retirement home who spend their time running rings around the home's oppressive management and their own families. It was written by Michael Aitkens. In 2004, it came 37th in "Britain's Best Sitcom".


*Stephanie Cole - Diana Trent
*Graham Crowden - Tom Ballard
*Daniel Hill - Harvey Nigel Baines
*Janine Duvitski - Jane Edwards
*Andrew Tourell - Geoffrey Ballard
*Sandra Payne - Marion Ballard
*Michael Bilton - Basil Makepeace "(to series 4)
*Dawn Hope - Jenny
*Lucy Aston - Sarah Snow
*Chico Andrade - Antonio
*Tim Preece - The Rev. Dennis Sparrow "(from series 3)"


Set at Bayview Retirement Village near Bournemouth, the show is based around Diana Trent and her relationship with Tom Ballard, a former accountant who has been exiled there for the convenience of his family.

Diana is a cynical, retired photojournalist who has found herself consigned to the retirement home after a career documenting some of the 20th century's most dangerous places has left her single and with no one in her life outside of her niece, and later, her great-niece. Her frustration at the prospect of years of being alternately patronised and ignored at Bayview is soon channelled into attempts to subvert the régime of the retirement home and taunting the staff regarding their flaws and corrupt nature. Though retired, Diana remains connected with several powerful journalists, which she uses to blackmail the board of directors at Bayview (and Bayview manager Harvey Baines) to stay in Bayview despite her anti-social behaviour. Her only known living relative is her niece Sarah and later, Sarah's daughter Diana. Sarah runs a modeling agency and loves Diana, though Diana is emotionally distant from her niece, going so far as to telling people that her niece runs a prostitution ring and constantly attempts to kill her with poison. As the series progresses, the two become closer after Sarah undergoes a whirlwind courtship and marriage that results in pregnancy; the marriage fails but produces "the Diana of the Future," as the new Great-Aunt Diana blesses the newborn. Just before Baby Diana arrives, the great-aunt-to-be reveals that much of her hostility towards the world stems from the fact that she's infertile; this incapability is one of her very few regrets in life.

Ballard is a kindly but deluded old duffer who frequently lives in a fantasy world following his retirement as an accountant. A widower for at least a decade, his increasingly eccentric behaviour leads his alcoholic and adulterous daughter-in-law Marion and henpecked son Geoffrey to move him into Bayview where he finds himself living next door to Diana. The two form an unlikely partnership and discover that they are able to wreak havoc amongst the younger staff and management in the home in order to create a more tolerable living environment for themselves and their fellow residents. Tom's optimistic, cheery demeanour and unencumbered Anglican Christianity contrast Diana's dark cynicism and avowed atheism, as both attempt to influence the other's world view.

The manager of Bayview is Harvey Baines, who runs the establishment with his assistant, the homely, spinsterish and pious Jane Edwards. Baines is a weasel whose management style involves trying to run the retirement home profitably while keeping the residents (whom he variously dubs "oldies", "inmates", or "units") passive in order to make himself look good before the eyes of the board of directors.

Both Tom and Diana refer to Baines as "the idiot Baines", a reference to Harvey's general lack of common sense regarding his various schemes to promote himself and Bayview to the outside world.

Jane, Harvey's put-upon assistant, is a naïve and religious woman who is madly in love with Harvey, in spite of Harvey's utter disdain for her. Jane serves as a foil for Diana; though Diana loathes Jane's religious piety and optimistic outlook on life. Diana and Tom often help Jane when it comes to the matter of dealing with Harvey's manipulation of Jane's love for him.

During the third season, Tom and Diana get together as a couple after a one-night stand though Diana is far more lâissez-faire about the new state of their relationship, much to Tom's desire for a more committed relationship. This in turn led to season four, when Diana's financial situation collapses and Tom (having discovered that his room is infested with mould), forces Harvey to upgrade him to a new apartment in Bayview and to allow Diana to live with him as his ladyfriend. By season five, the two become engaged along with Harvey and Jane, who first get together as part of a cynical scheme to get Harvey accepted to an exclusive country club. When the plan fails and Jane responds by quitting her job to begin the process of becoming a nun, Harvey realises that he has come to enjoy Jane being in his life and the two go through with their vows. However, Diana gets cold feet regarding her impending marriage to Tom (much to her niece Sarah's shock); however, Tom discovers this before the wedding and saves Diana from having to either go through with the wedding or have her niece sever all ties with her aunt, by calling off the wedding just as the two were about to say "I Do".

Much of the humour is derived from flying in the face of conventional expectations about how the elderly ought to behave in their old age and how many of the residents don't want to settle down. One character, Basil Makepeace, is forever sexually harassing the female residents of the home, bragging about his innumerable conquests (on one occasion he muses about the indignities of growing old, commenting that now "three or four times...a night is all I can manage"). As an octogenarian, he does quite well. The other source of humour comes from the lengths that Harvey Baines will go to in his quest for success and how he and Marion scheme to separate Tom and Diana, the two blights on their mutual existences.

Theme music

"Waiting for God"'s theme music is the opening of the final movement of Schubert's "Trout Quintet", performed by the Nash Ensemble.

External links

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/waitingforgod/ "Waiting for God"] at BBC Comedy
* [http://www.phill.co.uk/comedy/waitgod/index.html "Waiting for God"] at British TV Comedy
* [http://members.tripod.com/~waitingforgod1/frames.html "Waiting For God" Companion Site]

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