Life with the Lyons

For the film version, see Life with the Lyons (film).
Life with the Lyons
Genre Sitcom
Starring Bebe Daniels
Ben Lyon
Barbara Lyon
Richard Lyon
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 5
No. of episodes 40
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Associated-Rediffusion
Original network BBC TV (series 1)
ITV (from series 2)
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release 11 February 1955 (1955-02-11) – 1 May 1960 (1960-05-01)

Life with the Lyons was a British radio and television domestic sitcom from the 1950s (1950–1961 on radio, 1955–1960 on television).[1]


Life with the Lyons featured a real American family. Ben Lyon and his wife Bebe Daniels had settled in London during the Second World War and featured with Vic Oliver in the radio series Hi, Gang! that ran from 1940 to 1949. Life With the Lyons followed and, with Ben and Bebe, featured their children Richard and Barbara Lyon. Although scripted, it expanded on real-life events.

Writers included Bob Block, who created the BBC television series Rentaghost.

Molly Weir was their Scottish housekeeper Aggie Macdonald, Doris Rogers the nosy neighbour Florrie Wainwright and Horace Percival played Mr Wimple. Two cinema films were produced and the show then transferred to BBC television. It later transferred to ITV.

A 1955 episode was shown on BBC Four on 27 March 2005 as part of the "TV on Trial" season. The episode was not shown "in the clear"  viewers had the choice of a version without commentary but with on-screen logos, or with commentary by Roy Hattersley and Kathryn Flett.

Many radio episodes were not kept by the BBC and only three episodes are in the archives; these were on BBC Radio 7 in early 2011. Following this broadcast, the BBC were alerted to a private collection of 200 episodes up by Graeme Stevenson in Scotland, and a selection were rebroadcast on Radio 7's successor BBC Radio 4 Extra between July and December 2011.[2]

Missing TV episodes

Only six episodes survive in television archives, one from the first series, two each from the third and fourth, and one from the final series.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono paid tribute to the show in the naming of their second album, Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions.

In his song "Post World War Two Blues" (Past, Present & Future, 1973), Al Stewart sang, "We were locked up safe and warm from the snow / With 'Life with the Lyons' on the radio ..."


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