The Liver Birds is a British situation comedy, set in Liverpool, Merseyside, North-West of England, which aired on BBC1 from 1969 to 1978, and again in 1996. It was created by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor. The two Liverpudlian housewives had met at a local writers club and decided to pool their talents. Having been invited to London by Michael Mills (BBC Head of Comedy) and asked to write about two women sharing a flat, Mills brought in sitcom expert Sydney Lotterby to work with the writing team. Lotterby had previously worked with Eric Sykes, Sheila Hancock and on The Likely Lads. Carla Lane in fact wrote most of the episodes, Taylor co-writing only the first two series. The pilot was shown as an episode of Comedy Playhouse, the BBC's breeding ground for sitcoms, in April 1969. BBC Comedy Connections
The series charted the ups and downs of two 'dolly birds' sharing a flat on Huskisson Street, in Liverpool. The series concentrated on the problems encountered by the two young single women when dealing with boyfriends, work, parents and each other. Dressed in the best 1970s fashions they looked for romance in a loose female equivalent of The Likely Lads.
The pilot and Series 1 starred Pauline Collins as Dawn and Polly James as Beryl Hennessey. In Series 2, Nerys Hughes debuted as Sandra Hutchinson, replacing the Dawn character for the rest of the programme's run. The Beryl and Sandra pairing is generally regarded as the programme's best period. Beryl was the more common one, while Sandra was softly spoken and more refined. This was mainly due to the influence of her snobbish and overbearing mother played by Mollie Sugden. Carla Lane drew on her own mother for the character - "Mrs. Hutchinson, I think she was my mother. I'm sure she was my mother." Beryl's (common) mother, (the Hennesseys live in Bootle, a working class district to the north of the city), was played by Sheila Fay. Elizabeth Estensen as Carol Boswell replaced Beryl from Series 5 onwards.
The title derives from the name given to two sculpted birds perched atop the Royal Liver Building at Pier Head in the city of Liverpool. Michael Mills, (the aforementioned Head of Comedy at the BBC), came up with the title - a title which Carla Lane did not initially like. BBC Comedy Connections The title song for the series was sung by The Scaffold. The group included Mike McCartney (brother of former Beatle Paul McCartney) and the poet Roger McGough.
- 1 The Liver Birds (missing)
Series 1 (1969)
- 1 Potent Perfume aka An Interesting Condition (25 July 69) (only the filmed inserts survive)
- 2 The Photographer (1 August 69) (missing)
- 3 Aristocracy And Crime (8 August 69) (missing)
- 4 Torremolinos, Costa Del Sol Or Southport? (15 August 69) (missing)
The Title sequence for series one also exists, albeit in poor quality.
After four episodes of the first series it was stopped because Polly James' hectic schedule, working every evening on Anne of Green Gables in the West End, and then rehearsing all day for the TV show, was proving too much. By the time Polly James was available again, Pauline Collins had moved to LWT's Upstairs, Downstairs. The producer Sydney Lotterby remembered having worked with Nerys Hughes on The Likely Lads and, wrongly believing the Welsh actress was from Liverpool, asked her to read for a part in The Liver Birds. (In fact neither actress really had a Liverpool accent - Polly James was from Oswaldtwistle,"Liverpool birds", Radio Times, 5–11 February 1972 near Blackburn, and Nerys Hughes, from Rhyl.) Impressed with Nerys Hughes' reading he offered her the part of Sandra, and the new series, in colour this time, began. The first episode of the second series aired on 7 January 1971. The actresses got on well together. "The rapport between Polly and myself was fairly instant. It was excellent. It happened in a twinkling really" said Nerys Hughes later, and Polly James added - "We just fitted together. We learned our lines sipping Pernod milkshakes."Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag.
Series 3 (1972)
- 1 "One's a Crowd" Beryl and Sandra leave their 'grotty bedsit' and move to Beech View, "a highly desirable residence". They go to O'Connors Tavern to hear poets reading their poetry - including Roger McGough (reading from his collection After The Merrymaking), and Sandra's favourite Neville Kane, (Neville Aurelius). Returning to their flat, a neighbour, Mrs.Knowsley (Joyce Grant), asks Sandra to sign a petition to evict an "undesirable character". Beryl doesn't approve: "I'm surprised at you signing it Sand, you're usually so kind and considerate..we've signed a petition to get a fella we don't even know out of his flat..", - and Sandra is dismayed when she discovers that the target of the petition turns out to be Neville Kane. (Horace James, John Lyons, Frederick Bennett, Patti Brooks, Patrick Durkin, Maxine Casson appear in this episode.)
- 2 "Birds on the Dole" Beryl and Sandra are out of work - on the dole. The landlords agent Mr.Hockle, (Artro Morris), is doing a check on the inventory, and their month in advance is due a week Saturday. The girls need money and get down to the Labour Exchange to sign on. Sandra thinks this is begging and tries to go incognito - but Beryl is more sanguine and meets her Uncle Dermot (Ken Jones), her Cousin Hughey (Brian Pettifer), and her Uncle Jack (Bill Dean). The loud behaviour of the Hennesseys, however, leads to a fight breaking out in the queue. (At one point in this episode Beryl and Sandra are in the street and Liverpool Cathedral rises up in the background while they are speaking next to a red telephone box. Both the cathedral and the iconic red phone box were designs of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.) John Ringham and Norman Shelley also appear in this episode which was one of the six of series three written by Jack Seddon and David Pursall.
- 3 "Good Little Girls should be in Bed" Beryl is with new boyfriend Robert (Colin Bell), in Sefton Park. He asks her to spend the night with him before he has to return to London in the morning. Beryl seeks the advice of Sandra and tells her he is cultured - "likes books and paintings and old buildings." Sandra tells her to go - "After all, you've got nothing to lose." "Cheeky cow", says Beryl, who decides she will spend the night with Robert. But Beryl's nervous evening goes completely wrong after Robert disappears to buy some alcohol. (Susan Littler, Ann Michelle, Anthony Verner, Constance Reason and Julia Breck appear in this episode.)
- 4 "Birds on Strike" Beryl shows Sandra some slides of her days with a boyfriend, Roy, before he left again to sea - Beryl and Roy outside Lewis's, Beryl and Roy by the Mersey Funnel, Beryl and Roy on the New Brighton ferry, - and then, a final one, Beryl and Frank at the dock gates - a man she'd met straight after waving goodbye to Roy. Beryl has arranged to meet Frank the next Sunday. Back at work at Blandings Cosmetics, Jim Royle (Clive Swift), a shop steward, knowing the strong Labour tradition in the Hennessey family, asks Beryl to speak at a mass meeting calling for strike action, on Sunday, - the same day Beryl has arranged to see Frank. (John Junkin also appears in this episode).
- 5 "Fella - A - Day Girl" Beryl declares that she's a "Fella-a-Day" girl, and Sandra is smitten with her new man Paul. Sandra soon goes off him though when he doesn't ring her as promised. Robert phones Beryl - he's up from London and wants to meet up in David's flat (he's in Majorca so won't bother them)! Then a very pregnant and depressed Gloria turns up, so Beryl puts her with Sandra - they can cheer each other up! Unable to really leave the flat, Beryl invites Robert over, though her evening goes from bad to worse when her mother turns up as well.
- 6 "Birds and Bottom Drawers" Sandra eagerly reads her horoscope in her weekly magazine 'Young and Lovely', as soon as it's delivered by the paperboy (actor Brian Sweeney, also of Z Cars), who seems to have taken a shine to her. When her horoscope tells her green will be her lucky colour, she'll be caught by a handsome stranger and there may be a marriage proposal in the air, Sandra soon heads out shopping dressed all in green. After unsuccessfully making eyes at several men on the streets of Liverpool, all Sandra manages to buy is a 'hope chest' - a large bottom drawer style chest to put all her future wedding things in. She later deliberately gets caught shoplifting just to meet the good looking store detective, and receives a shy marriage proposal from the young paperboy as he delivers the next weeks 'Young and Lovely' magazine, meaning her horoscope did come true after all.
- 7 "The Christening" Beryl's sister Gloria Titlark (Paula Wilcox) calls round to invite both Beryl and Sandra to be Godmothers to her new baby girl. However, Beryl is none too pleased that the baby is to be christened in an Anglican church rather than a Roman Catholic one and threatens to not go to the service at all, as she says the Hennesseys have always "Driven on the Catholic side of the road". Later, the girls are babysitting the young child when the Anglican vicar who will be conducting the service (John Quayle) calls round and seems to take a fancy to Sandra, much to Beryl's amusement. Indecision as to the baby's name right up to the moment of christening leads a timid Beryl into the church after all to declare that the baby should be named 'Beryl' after her.
- 8 "Birds on Horseback" After a party at their flat the night before, Beryl and Sandra need to redecorate their bedroom. One of Beryl's old schoolmates is now a decorator, so she invites him round to the flat and he does the job for free in the misguided anticipation of some romance once the work is over. Meanwhile Sandra has found a posh boyfriend, who is involved in the local hunt. The girls go horseriding to try to impress him but Sandra'a horse leads her right into a large pond. This is the last straw for the stable owner, who decides to sell the unpredictable horse to the catfood factory. Beryl and Sandra don't want this to happen so they buy the horse themselves, and later end up selling him to a farmer for a profit. They spend some of their windfall cooking a posh meal of wine, lobster and chips as a belated reward for Beryl's decorator boyfriend.
- 9 "St Valentine's Day" Beryl is depressed because she's feeling old and none of her romances seem to last longer than a week, so she visits the doctor's surgery and is given some tranquilisers. With Valentine's Day approaching, Sandra and her fellow workers at the factory hatch a plan to make Beryl feel better by sending her lots of Valentine's cards. The next morning, Beryl also receives in the post a single red rose with an anonymous invitation to the local Italian restaurant that evening. Sandra has to convince Beryl to go, but later finds out it was actually a joke played on Beryl by one of the factory workers. However, at the restaurant Beryl does actually meet up with a good-looking man although the date is cut short when she falls asleep as a result of all the tranquilisers she's been taking. As the episode ends it's Sandra's turn to feel depressed because she only got one Valentine's card herself. A now happy again Beryl tries to cheer her up. (Keith Chegwin makes a 10 second appearance in this episode as a schoolboy in the doctor's waiting room.)
- 10 "Birds in the Club" Beryl and Sandra are at Hunts Cross Rugby Club. Sandra's there because of Rupert. Beryl's not too impressed - "the fellas are more interested in beer and rugby than girls." Beryl thinks maybe footballers would be a better bet. Sandra gets picked to represent the Rugby Club in the Miss Hot Pants 1972 Competition. (Beryl, a Catholic, identifies as an Everton F.C. supporter in this episode and it is sometimes supposed that there is a religious root to the Liverpool F.C. - Everton F.C. rivalry, with Everton usually thought of as the Catholic team. In fact, both teams can trace their roots to St.Domingo Methodist Chapel.) Though little use was made of the pop music of the early 1970s in the series, in this episode snatches of two songs are heard - "Beg, Steal or Borrow", a hit for The New Seekers, and Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Save It".
- 11 "The Driving Test" Sandra is spending her evening with the boss's son Aubrey (Clive Francis), but she's worried about Beryl - it's nearly midnight and she's not back from a tandem bicycle ride with her boyfriend Johnny (Jonathan Lynn). When Beryl arrives, worn out from a trip to Rhyl and back, she decides she wants them to buy the second-hand car they've been talking about and Aubrey says he'll teach them to drive.
- 12 "Liverpool or Everton" Sandra is with Joe (Bill Kenwright), when Beryl returns from an Everton match with her Uncle Dermot and a couple of other Everton fans. They argue with Joe, who is a Liverpool fan. Joe is also captain of the works team at Blandings Cosmetics and Sandra and Beryl go to watch a match - Joe scores an own-goal and his team loses 7-0. Angered at Beryl's mockery of his performance he challenges her to do better as captain of an all-woman team from the Packing Department. Beryl accepts the challenge whose team will be trained by her Uncle Dermot (Ken Jones) - (this wasn't the first time Ken Jones had played an Everton fan - he had done so a few years earlier in a Ken Loach Wednesday Play, 1968's The Golden Vision.) (This episode, one of the Seddon-Pursall episodes, is one of those most open to charges of sexism. Nerys Hughes: "I remember a football match. The shorts were terribly short and also there was a girl with huge breasts who was so big-breasted that she fell over. And thats a 'man-joke' - isn't it? It wasn't Carla." And Carla Lane herself said later: "Oh God..that [writing arrangement] nearly killed me. Yeh, I mean, what can I say? They wrote like fellas." Bill Kenwright, playing a Liverpool F.C. supporter in this episode was in real life an Evertonian, and is currently chairman of Everton F.C.).
- 13 "The Parrot" Sandra goes vegetarian and starts collecting for the RSPCA. Her mother asks her to look after the family's pet parrot, Napoleon, 'it's just for a couple of days', but Beryl isn't happy - she doesn't want psittacosis. The phone rings and Beryl speaks with a suicidal man (Christopher Sandford), who wants to talk to The Samaritans, but has dialled the wrong number. Beryl is concerned and invites him round for a chat anyway. Felix Bowness appears in this episode.
Carla Lane became sole writer for the fourth series. She felt it was now time for the Liver Birds to start thinking about longer term relationships with boys. John Nettles played Paul, Sandra's (frustrated) boyfriend, and Jonathan Lynn played Robert, Beryl's boyfriend. "I always wanted The Liver Birds", said Lane, "not to be too keen about marriage - not to down it - but not to be out to get a boyfriend to marry." Beryl's mother, (Sheila Fay), voiced the critical view: "Man is the dog, and woman is the bone. He eats the best of you, and buries the rest of you, and when his dish is empty - he'll dig you up again." This would be the last series with Beryl. Polly James explained: "The reason I left the programme in the end was that I felt I was in danger of caricaturing what was already a pretty outrageous character." Speaking on Comedy Connections BBC TV
Christmas Night with the Stars
(25/12/72) - The Liver Birds short - 'Christmas Night with the Stars' was a programme shown annually on Christmas night, when the top BBC stars appeared in short versions of their series, typically 5–10 minutes long. The Liver Birds was one part of this edition.
Series 4 (1974)
- 1 "Anybody Here Seen Thingy?" Thingy is the name given to a pet hamster Beryl is given as a birthday present. When Thingy - who it turns out is pregnant - goes missing the girls go hunting for her, even chasing after the dustbin men on their weekly rounds in the streets outside the flat. Thingy eventually turns up just after Beryl's surprise birthday guests have arrived having made a nest for herself and her newly born litter of babies inside a large hat Beryl got as a birthday present from Sandra's mother (Mollie Sugden).
- 2 "Friends at First Sight" Sandra's brother Derek (Lewis Fiander) arrives from Australia. He's a keep-fit fanatic and soon takes Beryl out for a morning jog around the local park, where talk turns to love as the pair reveal they are both feeling as though their last relationships ended in sadness. Meanwhile Sandra and her parents become concerned when they find Derek's Australian marriage certificate and attempt to warn Beryl not to become too involved with him. All's well in the end though, as Derek's marital problems are solved by a cable from his wife in Australia telling him she does love him after all, and Beryl receives a phone call from her boyfriend Robert in London.
- 3 "Life Is Just A Bowl Of Sugar" Sandra has bought a cut-glass sugar bowl with money given to her by Paul. When Beryl points out "we dip our spoons straight in the bag", Sandra tells her she hopes the bowl will become part of a home she'll share with Paul. And she wonders if taking him to see her parents in Hunts Cross, a "happily married couple", will make the idea of marriage appear more desirable to him. But then Sandra's father (Ivan Beavis) and mother show up at the flat - and they're talking about getting a divorce. What's the problem? "I'm married to it", says Mrs Hutchinson.
- 4 "Where's Beryl?" Sandra wants to go to London for the weekend, and convinces Beryl to go too - after all, their boyfriends Robert and Paul (John Nettles), are there. But whereas, when they arrive, Sandra gets a bright spacious room opposite Paul, Beryl gets a poky room at the top of the hotel. "By the time I leave here I'll be on nodding terms with B.E.A.", she tells Sandra. And then she can't make contact with Robert, and Paul disapproves of the amount of cleavage Sandra has on show - so it's not the weekend the girls were hoping for. (Avril Angers and Fidelis Morgan appear in this episode.)
- 5 "Girl Saturday" Beryl discovers that she needs to wear glasses and the receptionist (Jeanne Mockford), tells her that they will be ready to collect on Saturday. But this is also the day that Beryl's boyfriend Robert will arrive for a week in Liverpool, after they have spent weeks apart, and Beryl is worried he will not like her in glasses and that her face can't be covered with things anyway - 'it's too small'. (John Dunbar and John Rudling also appear in this episode.)
- 6 "Pack Up Your Troubles" The girls are planning a holiday but are split between Beryl's choice of Blackpool and Sandra's choice of pony trekking in the Pennines. Meanwhile Sandra's parents have temporarily split up and when the girls pop round to Sandra's house late one night they see another man visiting her mum with flowers in his hand. When questioned about things the next day Sandra's mum (Mollie Sugden) admits there is now another man in her life. Fortunately all turns out well when the new man turns out to be a thief, the ice melts between Sandra's parents when they bump into each other at the girls' flat and Sandra & Beryl decide to give their Pennines holiday to Sandra's parents as a second honeymoon and book themselves a break in Blackpool after all.
- 7 "Have Hen Will Travel" Beryl's persistant oversleeping leads to the girls getting the sack from their jobs at the hand cream factory. After looking for new jobs, the pair decide to take "a holiday with pay" working as farm labourers at a small farm in Caerphilly, Wales. Unsurprisingly the farm work is not ideal for the girls, as they struggle to milk Myfanwy the Cow on their first day. The last straw comes when the farmer (Jack Walters) asks them to kill Henrietta the Hen for their evening meal. Managing to fool him with some frozen chicken from the local shop, the girls pack their bags and head for home, with two new feathered pets in tow - Henrietta and her sister Gwynneth.
- 8 "Love Is..." Life is looking up for Sandra as she gets a new job as a kennelmaid ("£15 a week!") and a marriage proposal from boyfriend Paul (John Nettles). Beryl however is feeling down on her luck ("No job, no boyfriend, no fixed abode...") as everything she touches seems to go wrong and she realises her flat-sharing days with single girl Sandra may be coming to an end. A visit to Beryl's mum puts doubts in Sandra's mind as to the realities of married life ("Man is the dog, Woman is the bone - he eats the best and buries the rest...") and that night she phones Paul to say she's not ready for marriage just yet. Seconds later however the phone rings back and this time it is Beryl's boyfriend Robert calling with a surprise marriage proposal of his own...
- 9 "Anyone For Freedom?" Robert must come up from work in London to propose to Beryl in person. Excitedly they set the venue as the local Apollo Greek restaurant that night. For the rest of the day Sandra helps Beryl look at engagement rings, choose a new dress to wear, even offers marital advice ("Life is like a pack of cards, sex is the ace..", "More like the joker!" Beryl retorts). Sandra's boyfriend Paul (John Nettles) attempts a proposal of his own once more, but Sandra chooses instead to wear the ring on her right hand as a "friendship ring". Meanwhile, disaster strikes in the restaurant toilets when both Beryl's new dress and her old clothes are stolen while she is changing. Boyfriend Robert is steadily getting drunker as he awaits her arrival, and when she eventually does arrive, she is dressed in a spare Greek waiter's costume. When they finally meet Robert proposes and Beryl accepts. However when the Greek singer gives Beryl a congratulatory kiss, Robert drunkenly starts a fight and ends the night in a police cell while the girls compare their new rings back at their flat.
- 10 "Follow That Ring" The girls have been seeing their respective boyfriends for the weekend. Beryl is slowly getting used to her "unlucky" red engagement ring, but then loses it while making Sandra a trifle. There follows a mad rush to the local hospital - also involving both Sandra's parents, Sandra's boyfriend, and Beryl's Mum - as it turns out Sandra has swallowed the ring in a mouthful of trifle. They all wait together at the hospital while the Doctor (Geoffrey Palmer) removes the ring from Sandra's oesophagus. The episode ends with Beryl heading for London on the train so boyfriend Robert can put the ring on her finger again, however she mistakenly ends up on the train to Glasgow instead.
- 11 "The Bride Went That-A-Way" Beryl and Robert's wedding is now only a week away and the girls, together with their mums, talk of wedding plans. There's further good news for Beryl when Robert phones to say he's been promoted to area manager at work and will be moving back to Liverpool to live. However, after a chat that night in which Sandra describes Robert as "Ugly Handsome", Beryl dreams of a wedding where it's handcuffs Robert puts on her hand at the altar instead of a ring and she suddenly has cold feet about the marriage and goes AWOL. On hearing the news that Sandra is now alone in the flat, her eager boyfriend Paul (John Nettles) immediately rushes round with his belongings to move into the flat himself, although Sandra attempts to dissuade him. Together they scour the streets of Liverpool looking for Beryl, with no success. Boyfriend Robert arrives on the London train with a bad back and is resting back at the girl's flat when a rainswept Beryl eventually arrives home again having decided to try and call the wedding off....
- 12 "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" Robert is sleeping on Beryl and Sandra's settee for the week before his wedding, now that he has found a job in Liverpool. This is fine until Sandra agrees to do a favour for Mrs. Sayers (Edna Doré) and offers a home for the weekend to Skip, a large St. Bernard, who takes up residence on the settee. So Robert gets to share Beryl's room. "I know how we'll calm you down. We'll give you a sleeping pill", says Sandra. But then Mrs. Hutchinson gets to hear of Robert's whereabouts and tells Beryl's mother and they soon arrive to check things out - with Father O'Leary (Patrick McAlinney) too.
- 13 "And Then There Was One" Not everything is running smoothly in the build-up to Beryl's wedding to boyfriend Robert (Jonathan Lynn). The carnations have turned up a day early, there's a stork on the wedding cake, the dog's run off with the ham, and the only presents she's received so far are 6 steam irons - apart, that is, from a sexy pink nightie from Sandra. And then there's the mystery woman who keeps phoning up trying to speak to Robert, and has written him an important looking letter. Beryl's doubts over Robert's fidelity only increase when the girls go to visit this woman and see she is pregnant. There's a poignant moment as Beryl says goodbye to the girl's flat for the last ever time, as she is staying at her mum's house on the night before the wedding. Next morning, true to the theme of the wedding so far, kids let down the tyres of the wedding limousines so the girls and their parents have to resort to using a double-decker bus and a removal van to get to the church in time. At the altar Robert finally opens the mystery letter and reveals to an excited Beryl that it contains honeymoon tickets for two to Majorca.
The producer Sydney Lotterby had to find a new leading actress to keep the series going after the departure of Polly James. He'd done it in 1971, replacing Pauline Collins with Nerys Hughes. And in fact it was Hughes herself who first spotted her potential new flat-mate. "I went to see a musical in town - Willy Russell's, John, Paul, George, Ringo..and Bert, and saw Elizabeth Estensen." Lotterby saw the performance at Hughes' suggestion, and asked Estenson to audition for the part. " She was loud, and abrasive, and exactly what I wanted," said Lotterby. So Beryl, the bouncy blonde was replaced by feisty, flame-haired Carol. Now into the fifth series, Carla Lane expanded her range from single life to family life and introduced Carol's relatives - the Boswells. "They were a close family - they were a dysfunctional family" said Estenson, and they included Lucien, Carol's brother, played by Michael Angelis, a native Liverpudlian, her father Mr. Boswell played by Ray Dunbobbin and her mother Mrs. Boswell played initially by Eileen Kennally and later Carmel McSharry. Carla Lane's later series Bread revolved around the Boswell family and in interviews, Lane agreed that the two families were probably related.
Series 5 (1975)
- 1 "It Takes All Kinds" (5/9/75) Sandra only has one serious applicant to share her flat now Beryl has gone - the brash and common Carol (Elizabeth Estensen), who Sandra doesn't really take to. However once her mum (Mollie Sugden) phones after another row with Sandra's dad and announces she plans to move in with Sandra herself, having Carol as a flatmate suddenly doesn't seem so bad...
- 2 "Look After the Children" (12/9/75) Carol meets Sandra's mum who tells her about her latest marital problems, and the nice new man she has recently met at a local hotel. That night the girls head to the hotel to stop Sandra's mum doing anything she may regret later, finally succeeding in disrupting the whole evening - only to discover the man Sandra's mum was with was Sandra's dad..
- 3 "You've Got To Laugh" (19/9/75) The girls are fed up of having to visit the launderette each week because they have no washing machine. Carol's brother Lucien (Michael Angelis) calls round to announce their Uncle Billy has died and Carol may be due some money in the will. Sandra is excited when a new washing machine is delivered to the house whilst she is spending some time there with boyfriend Paul (John Nettles) but it turns out Carol was only left £2 in the will and they have to sell the washing machine she'd ordered in anticipation of her windfall to Carol's mother who got the lion's share of the will...
- 4 "Love is A Many Stupid Thing" (26/9/75) Sandra decides to become a vegetarian, and joins in with an animal rights march through the streets of Liverpool. She meets a good looking man there called Bill and stays out with him until the small hours of the night, to the annoyance of her boyfriend Paul who was waiting in his car outside her flat to see what time Sandra finally got home. The only snag on the horizon for this budding new relationship is the fact that Bill is a former boyfriend of Carol's and when he calls round to the flat Sandra realises her and Carol both fancy the same man...
- 5 "Dinner For Three" (3/10/75) Carol is not taking too well the news that Sandra has started seeing her old boyfriend Bill (Barry Stokes). Seeing the hurt she is causing, Sandra decides to stop seeing Bill. However Carol later has a change of heart and sets the pair up on a blind date at the local bistro. The date goes wrong when Bill reveals he was only pretending to be a vegetarian and actually has a job driving cattle to the slaughterhouse. A hurt Sandra rushes home only to find that in her absence Carol has lined up a date with Sandra's previous boyfriend Paul (John Nettles)...
- 6 "The Lily and the Dandelion" (10/10/75)Sandra has taken to feeding the local pigeons while out sunbathing, to the annoyance of the other residents in the flats - so much so they have called the council in to place cages on the roof to trap and remove the "vermin". An upset Sandra sets some of the captured pigeons free, keeping one poorly specimin herself in a parrot cage in the flat until it is better. Carol is not too happy about this and after a row between the girls ("The Lily and the Dandelion never grow on the same patch...") temporarily moves back in with her parents. Sandra ends up trapped on the roof when someone takes her ladder away and has to be rescued by the local police, who give her a warning not to interfere with pigeons again...
- 7 "Everybody Is Beautiful" (17/10/75)Carol would like some money to go to London to try to find her father who she has not seen for 5 years. Suddenly the £50 prize money for a beauty contest held at the biscuit factory where she works seems too good to miss out on. With Sandra's help, and the encouragement of Sandra's boyfriend Paul (John Nettles), Carol tries a series of increasingly unsuccessful beauty treatments before eventually deciding not to enter the contest after all - only for her father to turn up at the flat anyway, having read about his daughter's entry in a newspaper list of competitors...
Christmas Special (1975)
- 1 "In Every Street" (23/12/75)
Series 6 (1976)
- 1 "Facing Up To Life" (13/2/76)
- 2 "The Maypole" (20/2/76)
- 3 "Honey" (27/2/76)
- 4 "The Never-Ending End" (5/3/76)
- 5 "Badgers and Otters" (12/3/76)
Series 7 (1976)
- 1 "Friends and Lovers" (17/10/76)
- 2 "She Dreams A Lot" (24/10/76)
- 3 "A Mark On The World" (31/10/76)
- 4 "Love 'Em - And Almost Leave 'Em" (7/11/76)
- 5 "Oh' The Shame Of It" (14/11/76)
- 6 "Cry Please" (21/11/76)
- 7 "The 'Nearly' Hat" (28/11/76)
- 8 "Yellow and Green Make Blue" (5/12/76)
Christmas Special (1976)
- 1 "It Insists On Coming Once A Year" (22/12/76)
Series 8 (1977)
- 1 "Something Beginning" (23/9/77)
- 2 "The Flower Picker" (30/9/77)
- 3 "You've No Idea What I've Been Through" (7/10/77)
- 4 "God Bless Us And Save Us" (14/10/77)
- 5 "They Decide Up There What Goes On Down Here" (21/10/77)
- 6 "The Edge" (28/10/77)
- 7 "The Struggle" (4/11/77)
Christmas Special (1977)
- 1 "Open Your Eyes - And It Still Hasn't Gone" (23/12/77)
Series 9 (1978)
- 1 "There's No Place Like Away From Home" (17/11/78)
- 2 "The Sixth Day" (24/11/78)
- 3 "Various Kinds of Old" (1/12/78)
- 4 "Weeds" (8/12/78)
- 5 "Somewhere To Live ... Somewhere To Love" (15/12/78)
- 6 "The Best Things In Life Are Not Free" (29/12/78)
Series 10 (1996)
- 1 "Hello Again" (6/5/96)
- 2 "Mrs Boswell Comes To Call" (13/5/96)
- 3 "Spare That Tree!" (20/5/96)
- 4 "On The Town" (27/5/96)
- 5 "Going Into Hospital" (3/6/96)
- 6 "Out Of Hospital" (17/6/96)
- 7 "Moving Out?" (24/6/96)
The Liver Birds missing episodes
Both the pilot and 3 of the 4 episodes from series 1 are missing presumed wiped in their entirety
- Pilot - The Liver Birds
- The Photographer
- Aristocracy and Crime
- Torremolinos, Costa del Sol or Southport?
In 1996, around 18 years after the final episode of the classic original series was broadcast the BBC revived the series, with Beryl and Sandra reunited and now both coping with the aftermath of their respective failed marriages.
As the BBC's own website admits, some liberties were taken with continuity: Carmel McSharry, who had played Carol's mother in Seasons 5–9, returned as the same character but now transformed into Beryl's mother, and Carol's rabbit-obsessed brother Lucien, played by Michael Angelis, became Beryl's brother. The revival was not a ratings success, and only lasted one series.
Only the second series has been released on DVD, by Universal Playback in the UK in 2003. It has since gone out of print, with retailers such as Amazon only listing used copies, and was notable for placing the episodes in production order rather than transmission order (resulting in some continuity errors).
However, in January 2013 it was announced that Acorn Media UK had obtained the rights to release The Liver Birds. The Liver Birds Collection One was released on 8 April 2013, with Collection Two scheduled to follow at some point.
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