These are getting harder and harder to write with each passing but they seem to come more frequently these days than any of us would like. The British comedy world, actually, the comedy world, lost a good friend this past week when Bob Larbey passed away.
While you may not be familiar with the name, you unknowingly have spent countless hours smiling at his work over the years. Bob co-created and co-wrote with writing partner John Esmonde, The Good Life (known as The Good Neighbors in the States) and wrote As Time Goes By. Even Bob knew and seemed to relish not being recognized in public for his work. But As Time Goes By co-stars Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer certainly recognized his brilliant work in this brief clip from PBS’ Behind the Britcom: From Script to Screen.
In 2010, we had the great good fortune to spend time interviewing Bob for our PBS production, Behind the Britcom: From Script to Screen. In this clip, Bob talked about the casting of Judi Dench in the role of Jean Pargetter (Hardcastle).
As hosts and As Time Goes By co-stars Philip Bretherton and Moira Brooker point out, it’s rare when a writer gets the opportunity to end a series as they had planned it out in their minds. Sometimes, series can end abruptly because of an ‘Are You Being Served?-style boardroom decision’. Such was the case for Larbey with Mulberry. But with The Good Life, Larbey and co-writer, John Esmonde, had the opportunity to bring the series to a close on their own terms.
Thank you, Bob, for the past smiles and for the years of smiles ahead. We will forever miss you.