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Second Lieutenant Lionel Hardcastle and Nurse Jean Pargetter met in the summer of 1953 or 1954 (depending on the episode) and fell in love, but when Lionel was sent to Korea they lost touch. He had sent her a letter when he arrived in Korea, which she did not receive, and both assumed the other had lost interest. Jean married, and after her husband's death set up "Type for You", a secretarial agency. She has a daughter, Judith Hanson, who had married twice, but both ended in divorce. Lionel had gone to Kenya and became a coffee planter. He and his wife Margaret had divorced on the grounds of "mutual boredom", and he had moved back to England.
38 years later Lionel uses "Type for You" to write his book My Life in Kenya. When they both realise who the other is, their romance begins to blossom again, after a slow start. In the third series, Lionel moves into Jean's house in Holland Park, London, and they marry the following series.
As the series begins, Judith develops a crush on Lionel, and his publisher Alistair Deacon takes an interest in Jean. Both crushes are brief, and eventually Judith and Alistair fall for each other and later marry. Other plot lines feature Lionel being asked to write an American TV mini-series, Just Two People, based on his early romance with Jean. The mini-series failed after one episode, and Jean eventually retires. She later works in a charity shop.
Jenny Funnell as Sandy
Joan Sims as Madge HardcastleJean's very efficient secretary and Judith's best friend is Sandy, who eventually moves in with the Hardcastles after splitting with her boyfriend Nick. She later starts dating a policeman and rugby player called Harry whom, at the end of the series, she marries. Other characters are Lionel's father, Rocky, who owns a large house in Hampshire which he later gives to Lionel. The housekeeper is Mrs. Bale, who has an unusual interest in the Shipping Forecast, and the gardener is Lol Ferris. Rocky marries Madge when he is 85 and she is 78, and they frequently travel around the world. Madge was played by Joan Sims, who died between the filming of Series Eight and Nine. In Series Nine, Madge is mentioned as being on an archaeological dig in Egypt. The Reunion Specials were Middlemass's last television appearance before his death in 2006. Jean's first husband's sister Penny, who always calls Jean "poor Jean", and her dentist husband Stephen, who once accidentally declined the OBE, also make many appearances.
Lionel and Jean are moving in together then flying to L.A. to meet the people who want to turn his book into a mini-series.
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