After You've Gone is a British sitcom created by Fred Barron and produced by the BBC about a divorced man who agrees to look after his children when his ex-wife goes to Africa on a volunteer mission.
The series originally aired in the UK on BBC One from 12 January, 2007 to 21 December, 2008. There are 25 half-hour episodes (including two Christmas specials) in three seasons.
After You've Gone premiered in South Africa on DStv's BBC Entertainment channel on Thursday 23 October 2008, at 20h00. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Nicholas Lyndhurst stars in After You've Gone as jack-of-all-trades Jimmy Venables – probably the only man in Britain who gets divorced and ends up sharing a home with his mother-in-law.
Weekend-dad Jimmy volunteers to move back into the marital home to look after his two teenagers when his ex-wife volunteers to tend to victims of a natural disaster in Africa.
Unfortunately, Jimmy's patrician mother-in-law, Diana (Celia Imrie) views Jimmy as a walking, talking natural disaster so she virtually moves in to "help" which generally means undermining Jimmy whenever possible.
With a smart talking daughter, Molly (Dani Harmer), who thinks she's already a woman, and a son, Alex (Ryan Sampson), who occasionally dresses a bit too much like one, just how much of a challenge can adapting to fatherhood on a daily basis be?
After You've Gone is a BBC Production, created by Fred Barron (creator of My Family), which continues Barron's exploration of family life, focusing this time on one man's noble attempt at being a responsible adult and parent despite the fact that he doesn't have a clue.
The cast also includes Amanda Abbington as Jimmy's girlfriend and Vincent Ebrahim and Lee Oakes as Jimmy's mates.
After You've Gone is produced by Rosemary McGowan, executive produced by Kenton Allen and Fred Barron, and is directed by Tony Dow.
The theme tune, After You've Gone, is performed by Jamie Cullum.
An easygoing, divorced father of two, Jimmy has two months to become the dad he never was. After You've Gone is the story of one grown man's struggle to actually become a grown up and prove himself to his kids, his ex-wife and his ex-mother-in-law.
Jimmy's posh, opinionated ex-mother-in-law, who despite her loathing of the feckless Jimmy, is determined to turn him into the ideal father for the sake of her grandchildren.
Smart talking Molly sees herself as the only adult in the family, in fact she sees herself as the puppeteer and in her heart she really wishes she didn't have to be.
Alex Venables is Jimmy's unconventionally brilliant teenage son, much to Diana and Jimmy's dismay, the ever-cheerful Alex is unfortunately all momentum and no direction whatsoever.
Jimmy's hairdresser girlfriend Siobhan has had enough bad relationships in her past to know that Jimmy, flawed though he is, is a lot better than the rest of the guys out there.
Jimmy's assistant in the decorating trade, though he prefers to think of himself as "The guy who knows a guy". If you're looking for a lorry-load of slightly used 40 watt bulbs, Kev's your man.
Pub Landlord at Jimmy's local, Bobby sees the world through a pair of crap coloured glasses. Bobby always expects the worse and cheerfully shares his pessimism with his customers.
Episode 1: Stuck in the Middle with You
When nurse Ann Venables goes to Africa to help out with a disaster relief effort, she leaves her teenage children in the care of her ex Jimmy and her mother Diana.
The kids try to exploit the fact that the easy going handyman and his posh ex-mother-in-law cross swords at every turn ultimately leading to the adults' realisation that to survive Ann's absence, the kids need them both.
Episode 2: Silence of the Clams
Jimmy overcompensates for his previous failings as a Father by letting his kids throw a party. Knowing Diana would completely disapprove of this, Jimmy agrees not to tell her and keep her away from the house on party night. Under the pretext of seeking advice on matters "too personal" to discuss around the kids, he invites her to dinner.
At Diana's favourite restaurant, Jimmy discovers that while he and the kids have been sneaking around behind Diana's back, Diana has been sneaking around theirs. Over dinner, Diana notices a certain gentlemen friend, with whom she has an "understanding", dining intimately with another woman.
Meanwhile at the party, Molly's cool school friends and Alex's geeky ones, in fancy dress as their favourite Crustaceans, don't quite mix.
Back at the restaurant, as Diana looks daggers at the two-timing Laurence, Jimmy is still trying to digest the shock and amusement that she has a secret love life. However, seeing how genuinely humiliated Diana is, Jimmy gallantly steps into the breach by pretending to be her bit-of-rough.
Episode 3: Lock Back in Anger
After Jimmy's van and all its contents including his tools and his jacket with his keys in the pocket gets stolen, Diana insists they change all the locks.
This leads to a stand off between Jimmy's laissez faire attitude and Diana's belief in direct action. In the heat of battle about whose house this is, Diana reminds Jimmy that since she and her husband gave Ann the deposit on for the house, the place is partly hers.
Meanwhile, after prompting from Siobhan, Jimmy reluctantly agrees to take the big step of introducing her to Diana and the kids.
When Diana responds to Jimmy "putting things off" by hiring a professional locksmith, Jimmy ultimately has to break into the house to claim it as his own.
As a result, when Siobhan does meet Diana and the kids, it is in far from ideal circumstances.
Episode 4: Ripped Off
Alex is worried that his money doesn't seem to be going as far as it used to and he wants to buy a pair of terrapins online.
Molly points out that Diana's slashed their allowances and has been putting half of it into savings "for the future." Learning of this, Jimmy slips the kids money on the sly, happily compensating for the guilt of being an absentee father.
Needless to say, this doesn't sit well with Diana who believes in the character building nature of deferred gratification.
When Diana pontificates on this saying "I am sure my life would be easier if I had a laptop but you don't see me rushing out to buy one", Jimmy undermines her by buying her a laptop at a bargain rate. Diana hates the fact that she loves the computer and now feels in his debt.
Unfortunately, the reason the laptop was such a bargain is that Jimmy bought it from Kev who got it from a dodgy mate who now wants it back.
Meanwhile, Siobhan has just introduced body waxing at her beauty salon and wants to practice on someone.
Episode 5: School of Hard Knocks
When Alex's teacher writes home to say that "Alex is possibly gifted but we'll never know because he has the attention span of a gnat," Jimmy, surprised by this comment about his son, latches onto the "gifted" part while Diana's focus is on Alex's "not living up to his potential".
Molly is delighted that Alex is given all this attention which gives her the chance to fly under the radar and do what she wants for a while. In an attempt to get to know his brilliant son better, Jimmy enlists his help to finally finish his DIY in the back room only to discover how unfocused Alex really is.
When Alex tells Jimmy, "I don't want to make anything of my life: I want to be like you," Jimmy is forced to re-evaluate himself and comes to the frightening conclusion that maybe he would have benefited from someone like Diana in his life to motivate him. Diana runs with this notion and in the process, runs Jimmy into the ground.
Meanwhile Siobhan and Kev commiserate about the amount of time Jimmy is spending with his family leaving them both feeling like spurned lovers.
Episode 6: Let's get Quizzical
When Jimmy loses at the weekly pub quiz for the millionth time he decides he needs a secret weapon. He turns to the cleverest person he knows ... but Alex is too young to go to the pub so he asks Diana instead.
Jimmy and Diana win, but only after Diana browbeats Bobby into conceding her a point for a disputed answer. When Diana gets home she discovers the answer she gave was wrong and insists on returning the prize money despite Jimmy's objections.
Next day, Diana goes to the pub to return the money to Siobhan's winning team. Siobhan awkwardly offers Diana a drink, Diana grudgingly accepts. Jimmy returns home to discover his ex-mother-in-law and girlfriend cackling over a bottle of wine.
While Jimmy would love everyone to get along, this has crossed the line.
Episode 7: Out of Africa
Jimmy's ex-wife Ann's lover, the effortlessly superior Dr Howard Banks, returns to London for a few days to sort out a funding grant for the African Relief project and pops round to the house to pick up a few photos for Ann.
Howard sets out to charm Diana, bond with the kids and castrate Jimmy in the process so he drops hints about the wonderful changes the family can look forward to when he and Ann return from their relief mission.
It seems that his proposed changes will "free up", or in other words totally exclude both Jimmy and Diana so they're forced to join forces in an unlikely alliance to protect their new family.
(All seasons aired exclusively on BBC Entertainment)
Season 1 (7 episodes)
Premiere: 23 October 2008 | Finale: 4 December 2008 | Thursdays, 20h00
Season 2 (8 episodes)
Premiere: 11 December 2008 | Finale: 12 February 2009 | Thursdays, 20h00
Season 3 (8 episodes)
Premiere: 4 August 2009 | Finale: 22 September 2009 | Tuesdays, 20h00