The Conception of "Watching"

At a Liverpool Theatre workshop, Jim Hitchmough wrote a ten-minute comedy piece about a shy birdwatcher and a lively girl.

He contributed various sketches to the BBC comedy sketch show "Not The Nine O'Clock News", including the ten minute piece.

This was the original idea that became "Watching". At this time, it is not known if it was actually used in the show or not.

We will probably never know exactly when the first inkling of the thought came to Jim's mind. It is something for which we should be thankful though. That and the fact that he pursued the idea further to the result that we know and love.

The sketch must have had some merit about it. Jim developed the idea into a stage play (performed at The Bush Theatre in London in 1986). The same year he also adapted the idea into a 7x30min sitcom series for Granada Television.

Airing at 10pm on a Sunday night, those first seven episodes were a great success. Further seasons of the show were commissioned, and it was moved into a prime time Friday evening slot, returning to a Sunday evening for it's final season.

Running into 52 episodes over 7 seasons and 4 specials, the show was broadcast  from 5th July 1987 to the 4th April 1993.

Episodes details can be found in the "Episoding" section(s).

It made stars of it's main cast, Emma Wray, Paul Bown and Liza Tarbuck, along with others, and already established actors. 

The only known repeats of the show were on the satellite/cable channel Granada Plus until ITV (which ironically at this stage was owned mostly by Granada) decided to ditch such quality program airings (along with all the other quality shows repeated on this channel), took over the channel and converted it to ITV3 (which for the most part has far inferior offerings) in November 2004. (oi, the "Ranting" section is over there - ed.)

Further details of the sketch and stage play and are being researched and will appear here if/as and when they become available.

Do you know/have information about the sketch or stage play? If you do and/or if you have a tape/dvd recording of the sketch please get in touch (see the "Requesting" section)..