Mulberry – the ending that never was

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.

In: Actors/Actresses,Comedy

  • Chris Coker

    Haven’t got to see Mulberry in awhile; any chance that KERA could bring it back?

  • Marie

    Mulberry is one of my favorites. Funny, poignant, just a lovely, brilliantly written show. Hope KERA will air it again soon. There aren’t a lot of programs that can make you laugh one minute and bring tears to your eyes the next. It would have been a perfect ending.

  • Cora

    Beautiful tribute to a wonderful show. Glad to know how it would have ended. Perfect!

  • Thank you! So happy to know how it was to end. Yes, we would have cried our eyes out…smiling all the way. Great show…I still love breaking out the DVD’s over and over!

  • This answers many questions, but I have so many more. What happens to Burt and Alice? How is Mulberry’s personality reconciled with his future as being death? What happens to the house? The sisters? Jocelyn? This makes it easier to imagine those endings, but there are still so many questions.

  • How about a book to finish it?

    Any chance they might write a book to re-tell the story and finish it? I’d be happy to buy that book! I’d also like to know more about all those interior shots. I just can’t believe that each of those rooms were built as sets and furnished. Surely a real house was used?

    • Holyname Neal

      What a great idea, I would sure buy it and add it to my other readings.

  • poo_dragon

    It’s right up there, as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

  • Earl Reeves

    I had never heard of Mulberry, but got the DVD and it is a Great Show. I’m hooked on British TV Shows and this was one of the best. I enjoyed Midsomer Murders, Foyles War, Inspector Lewis, and inspectors Morris.

  • Holyname Neal

    I really do love Mulberry.

  • Holyname Neal

    I sure hope so.

  • Peter35

    I bought this DVD as a ‘chancer’, and it instantly became a favourite with us. An absolute tragedy it was canned. Just goes to show, some of those who say “Yea” or “Nay” don’t really know what they’ve got.
    One thing puzzled me; why was Lil Roughley replaced? She was brilliant.

  • Dowhat222

    BBC had some real mental morons working in finance …who was that total idiot ?

  • earlymusicus

    I read that the exterior shots were filmed at a 17th century manor house near Wimborne. The article didn’t say anything about the interior shots. I loved this show and I hate the greedy bastard with no taste at the BBC who cancelled it! He should have been shot! I’m in America, and I’ve always looked to BBC programs for quality (American TV is trash, appealing to low-educated and low-informed viewers), but the BBC definitely made a mistake in cancelling “Mulberry”!

    • Bill Young

      Completely agree with your assessment that it was a big mistake to cancel Mulberry. Sadly, it’s not the first nor the last mistake commissioners have made in prematurely cancelling a series that deserved to continue. I will see what I can find out regarding the interior filming. Stay tuned.