Executive Stress

1986 | United Kingdom

With her five children now grown up, Caroline Fairchild decides to resume her former career in the cut-throat world of publishing. Against the wishes of husband Donald, also working in the industry, she takes up the position of Editorial Director for her old company, Oasis Publishing, in London. Little does Caroline realise that Oasis Publishing - part of an American conglomerate overseen by the megalomaniac Edgar Frankland Jr. - is poised to take over Donald's employer, Ginsberg Publishing, and that Frankland takes a rather harsh line on married couples working together within his empire. 

Caroline and Donald's solution is unorthodox, yet practical: they become an undercover couple, with Caroline using her maiden name and Donald steadfastly refusing the advances of female colleagues. The ploy seems to work - but there is one unpalatable aspect for Donald: he now finds himself taking orders from his wife...

Two of British comedy's most popular stars came together for this highly original and cleverly written series. Executive Stress featured Penelope Keith and Geoffrey Palmer (in Series One) as the middle-aged couple struggling to keep their marriage under wraps to protect both of their careers, a situation partly inspired by the difficulties faced by the wife of writer George Layton on returning to professional life after having had two children. 

This series reunited Penelope Keith - who brings what one reviewer described as 'wit, finesse and touching vulnerability' to the role of Caroline - and The Good Life's producer, John Howard Davies. When Geoffrey Palmer decided to leave at the end of the first series he was replaced by Peter Bowles, who had partnered Penelope Keith in the hugely successful BBC series To The Manor Born. The series featured a theme song composed by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice, and performed by Julie Covington.

Published on December 10th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.