As Time Goes By, Keeping Up Appearances, Are You Being Served, Good Neighbors, Last of the Summer Wine. All a part of our lives for a number of years and a number of seasons. The one thing, however, that most of these British comedy classics had in common is that they all ended on their own terms. Going in to the final season, both writers and actors knew going in that it was the end.
Unfortunately, there are classics that aren’t as fortunate. Not commissioned for some unknown reason. Cut down in their prime. One such series was the John Esmonde, Bob Larbey classic, Mulberry, which starred Karl Howman (Mulberry) and Geraldine McEwan (Miss Farnaby). Running for only two seasons in the early 90’s, the brilliant Mulberry tells the story of an apprentice Grim Reaper who has been dispatched to the house to escort Miss Farnaby to the next world. Unfortunately, Mulberry’s sensitivity and interest in Miss Farnaby’s well-being do not sit well with Mulberry’s father, a fully fledged Grim Reaper. Much to his dismay, Mulberry decides to dedicate himself to ensuring that the sullen Miss Farnaby’s last days on Earth are happy.
Sadly, viewers never found out if these were to be Miss Farnaby’s ‘last days on Earth’ as the series was abruptly ended before a third season could be written by Esmonde and Larbey. As the story goes, the series was not a favorite of the Head of Finance at the BBC, hence it was cancelled prior to it being given a proper ending. According to Bob, both he and his writing partner, John Esmonde, knew the ending and never got to write it.
During our interview last year with one of the greats in the British comedy world for the PBS program Behind the Britcom: From Script to Screen, a very emotional Bob Larbey, revealed how he would have ended the series had they been given the chance.
With only 12 episodes, Mulberry is well worth the investment of 6 hours of your time. Great writing, great cast and a really sweet story. And, now, when you get to the non-ending, you’ll know how it was meant to end. Enjoy.