Rosemary & Thyme

For the Simon & Garfunkel album, see Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.
Rosemary & Thyme

Rosemary and Thyme
Genre Crime fiction
Created by Brian Eastman
Clive Exton
Starring Felicity Kendal
Pam Ferris
Opening theme Variation on "Scarborough Fair"
Ending theme idem
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 22
Producer(s) Carnival Films / Yorkshire Television
Running time 20x60 minutes
1x90 minutes
1x120 minutes
(including adverts)
Original network ITV, STV, UTV
Original release 31 August 2003 
6 August 2007

Rosemary & Thyme is a British television cozy mystery series starring Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris as gardening detectives Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme. The show began on ITV in 2003. The third series ended in August 2007. The theme is murder mysteries in the setting of professional gardening jobs. It was created by Brian Eastman to entertain his wife, Christabel Albery, who is an avid gardener. The show was directed by Brian Farnham (10 episodes, 2003–2006), Simon Langton (8 episodes, 2004–2006), and Tom Clegg (3 episodes, 2003). Clive Exton, who helped create the show,[1] contributed 10 of the 22 scripts.


A cosy mystery series set in beautiful English and European gardens, Rosemary & Thyme features two women brought together by a sudden death who discover their shared love of the soil. Being gardeners means that they overhear secrets and dig up clues which lead them to handle floral problems, solve crimes and capture criminals.

Main characters

Laura Thyme (Pam Ferris): The daughter of a farmer and a home gardener; she was a Woman Police Constable (WPC) in North Kensington and a member of "The CADS" (The Coppers' Amateur Dramatic Society) until she had children (Matthew, a policeman and Helena, a sculptor). After twenty-seven years marriage, her policeman husband abandoned her for a younger woman he met at work.

Rosemary Boxer (Felicity Kendal): Has a doctorate in plant pathology and was a University of Malmesbury lecturer in applied horticulture[2] for eighteen years, before her academic position was suddenly and sneakily removed (which pushes her to punch her ex-boss, a former beau, who fired her underhandedly). Rosemary owns a 1980 Land Rover Series III.

The series' title was taken from the English poem "Scarborough Fayre".

Theme tune of the programme
Sample of the theme tune of Rosemary & Thyme, 33 seconds long taken from the full 4 minute version.

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While many guests starred, only two people (other than Kendal and Ferris) have appeared in more than one episode, Ryan Philpott and Daisy Dunlop, who appeared as Laura Thyme's children Matthew and Helena.


Series 1 (2003)

# Title Writer Director Original air date Viewers[3]
1"And No Birds Sing"Clive ExtonBrian Farnham31 August 2003 (2003-08-31) [49 minutes]11.11
Rosemary Boxer, an expert botanist, is hired by an old friend to investigate why trees in the grounds of their home are becoming diseased. While at the hotel she is staying at, Rosemary befriends Laura Thyme, a former police officer who is staying at the hotel, after leaving her home upon learning that her husband abandoned her for a younger woman. Seeking to forget her husband, Laura willingly agrees to help Rosemary solve her botany problem, but plants soon are the least of their concern when a murder occurs...
2"Arabica and the Early Spider"Clive ExtonTom Clegg5 September 2003 (2003-09-05) [49 minutes]8.00
Rosemary and Laura, having become close friends and opting to work together, find themselves enlisted by an ageing rock star, who wishes for the grounds of his newly-bought mansion to be renovated. Shortly after they start work, disaster strikes when the singer is found dead, and the mystery is added to by the emergence of a skeleton of a horse near to the grounds. The pair quickly begin to wonder what is going on, and soon discover a past rivalry is rearing its head once more...
3"The Language of Flowers"Clive Exton
Isabelle Grey
Tom Clegg12 September 2003 (2003-09-12) [49 minutes]7.01
The two gardeners find themselves travelling to a mansion-turned-health spa, owned by the Caldecott family, to help restore a grand water cascade with the spa's grounds. Stumped by the long-decayed mechanics of the feature, Rosemary and Laura soon realise that all is not well when a member of the Caldecotts is murdered and suspect the motive has family ties to it...
4"Sweet Angelica"David Joss BuckleyBrian Farnham19 September 2003 (2003-09-19) [49 minutes]6.94
While trying to uncover the source of a disease that has crept up in the lawn of a special language college, Rosemary and Laura are shocked when they find the body of one of the college's student at the side of the road. When another student turns up dead on the college grounds, and a ceremonial knife is found in her possession, the two gardeners discover that the second victim was highly religious and knew something about the killer...
5"A Simple Plot"Chris FewtrellTom Clegg26 September 2003 (2003-09-26) [49 minutes]6.51
On their next job, Rosemary introduces Laura to a close friend - a blind professor, who seeks help on his allotment plot. Flowers are dying at random and suspicion is directed at the nearby building site as the cause. Shortly after a meeting with other plot owners in the allotments, the professor dies in what appears to be an accident, until the gardeners discover that someone cleverly used his means of getting around to kill him. As they try to work out who wanted him dead, Rosemary is surprised to learn that the professor left her with a notable fortune in his will...
6"The Tree of Death"Peter Spence
Simon Brett
Brian Farnham3 October 2003 (2003-10-03) [50 minutes]7.25
While restoring a churchyard for an upcoming fayre for a local vicar, whom Rosemary and Laura befriend, the pair are shocked to come across the body of a local man next to an ancient yew tree where they are working. The suspects are many for the man's murder, in which he was impaled by an arrow, leaving the gardners no choice but to save the day...

Series 2 (2004)

# Title Writer Director Original air date Viewers[3]
7"The Memory of Water"Stephen GallagherBrian Farnham3 October 2004 (2004-10-03) [134 minutes]7.08

Whilst restoring a walled garden at Lyvedon Manor, aided by ex-cons from a local prison, Rosemary and Laura initially think the body of a man found in a river is that of owner's mysterious cousin. But when the cousin is seen alive, the two gardeners are left puzzled as to whose body it was that was found...

Note: A number of the players are named after characters in the Sexton Blake canon.
8"Orpheus in the Undergrowth"David Joss BuckleySimon Langton8 October 2004 (2004-10-08) [47 minutes]6.81
Laura and Rosemary are called upon by an old friend to help create a memorial garden in Notting Hill, based around the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. As the pair begin work on the garden, Laura's daughter Helena arrives and mistakenly blames her mother for the breakup of her marriage. But Laura is forced to put aside efforts to correct her daughter, when the a recovering alcoholic dies in mysterious circumstances...
9"They Understand Me in Paris"Clive ExtonBrian Farnham15 October 2004 (2004-10-15) [47 minutes]6.27
At Villa Glavany, in the French Riviera, Rosemary and Laura are helping their friend Dorothy prepare the villa's 150-year-old gardens for a public opening, despite opposition from her neighbour, James Pretty, who will stop at nothing to ensure that this will not happen. The pair find themselves wondering if murder might be something he would do, when Dorthy's husband is discovered dead in the villa's living room...
10"The Invisible Worm"Guy AndrewsSimon Langton22 October 2004 (2004-10-22) [47 minutes]6.22
With roses dying in their beds at Stagford Lodge Preparatory School, classics master, Richard Oakley, calls upon Rosemary and Laura to help resolve the problem. Their arrival coincides with a mysterious ritual being held before the last day of term, in which a member of staff causes mischief while dressed as the Stag. However, things turn sour when Simon Todd, the geography master, is found dead in some undergrowth the next day, killed by a harpoon fired from the headmaster's prized harpoon gun. The sleuthing gardeners soon find themselves wondering what the motive was for Simon's murder...
11"The Gongoozlers"Clive ExtonSimon Langton29 October 2004 (2004-10-29) [47 minutes]6.18
Hoping to boost the ratings of Gaving Patterson's failing TV garden makeover programme, Quinnie Dorell, a famous round-the-world yacht sailor, is roped in to present the show. Due to her fear of heights, Rosemary, who is on the grounds the show is being shot on alongside her friend Laura, is asked to take Quinnie's place to present an overview of recent developments from some scaffolding, but disaster strikes when a loose bolt causes her to plummet to the ground. Suspecting it's no accident, Laura recruits Qunnie's help to investigate what happened, and it's not long before the theft of Rosemary's laptop is compounded by the sudden electrocution of a visiting journalist and a fiery car crash....
12"The Italian Rapscallion"Clive ExtonBrian Farnham5 November 2004 (2004-11-05) [47 minutes]5.84
Travelling to the Ligurian Coast in Italy, Rosemary and Laura offer to help their old friend Emma Standish prepare her new restaurant for its grand opening. But when a tour around the famous Giardini Tremonti comes to an abrupt end with the death of Janice Alexander, found battered to death in the shrubbery, the gardeners find many flamboyant personalities to make solving the mystery difficult. Then another person dies after being tossed over the edge of a cliff-top garden...
13"Swords into Ploughshares"Chris FewtrellGwennan Sage12 November 2004 (2004-11-12) [47 minutes]6.11
Laura is stunned to find Rosemary alive and at her mother's, after a news report announced that she had been shot dead in Engleton Park. It quickly transpires that the body found by the police was that of Rosemary's college pal, Gemma Jackson, an archaeologist who had posed as her to gain access to the grounds of the Park. While offering to help Lord Engleton determine why plants on his estate are in bad health, the pair also attempt to work out what brought Gemma to Engleton Park and soon discover that she had begun to suspect someone was illegally buying artefacts from dig sites...
14"Up the Garden Path"Peter SpenceSimon Langton18 December 2004 (2004-12-18) [47 minutes]7.52
When gardens in the village of Rowfield are struck by a mysterious blight, Rosemary and Laura find themselves hired by a member of the Rowfield Garden Open Day scheme to rectify the problem. While trying to sort out the problem, the gardeners are shocked when they find the body of Donald Westward under a collapsed branch, with his garden savaged. They soon discover he was seriously disliked by many in the village, and have a wealth of suspects, including an unfriendly gardener and a couple who don't quite fit in with the rest of the village...

Series 3 (2005-07)

# Title Writer Director Original air date Viewers[3]
15"The Cup of Silence"Stephen GallagherBrian Farnham23 December 2005 (2005-12-23) [70 minutes]5.77
Strapped for cash on their latest job and with no Land Rover, Rosemary and Laura pull out all the stops to try rid a hotel's vineyard of pestering weeds. But while trying to ensure that the latest crop is saved, the pair soon find themselves also investigating the murder of a famous columnist who was visiting the area...
16"In a Monastery Garden"Peter SpenceBrian Farnham21 January 2006 (2006-01-21) [47 minutes]5.20
With a Royal visit planned for Wellminster Cathedral, Rosemary and Laura find themselves hired to help restore an old monastery garden at the cathedral in time for the visit, although not everyone is pleased by their presence. No sooner have they started, the body of the local custodian's step-daughter is found by the gardeners, who soon uncover secrets within the cathedral's tight-knit community, before another body is found within the garden's old well...
17"Seeds of Time"Clive ExtonSimon Langton28 January 2006 (2006-01-28) [47 minutes]5.05
In order to re-organize the seed collection of famous botanist, Edwin Pargeter, Rosemary and Laura are called in by the current generation of Pargeters to help with the task. Their task is daunting, and it's not helped when a mysterious Chilean man is found dead in the back garden of the Pargeters' house. As they try to work out who the man was, they soon discover that something in Edwin's seeds is quite valuable, and that someone is out to get them, no matter the cost...
18"Agua Cadaver"David Joss BuckleyBrian Farnham4 February 2006 (2006-02-04) [47 minutes]5.69
A noted scholar of Spanish Islamic History, and a former boyfriend of Rosemary, invites both her and Laura to his beautiful home in the hills of Southern Spain, so they can help to restore an old Moorish garden inspired by the Alhambra. While the pair try to find a source of water they need for the garden, they don't expect to find murder when they come across the body of a young woman in the hills, who had been pushed to her death...
19"Three Legs Good"Clive ExtonSimon Langton11 February 2006 (2006-02-11) [47 minutes]5.01
Rosemary and Laura find their Work on re-planting the historic Regent's Park garden hampered, when they find plants being stolen shortly after being planted. While trying to determine who is stealing them, they soon find themselves dealing with a murder when an Eastern European doctor is found shot dead, while walking a three-legged dog. It's not long, before the pair unearth secrets in the park, and begin suspecting the doctor might not have been the intended victim, when his colleague, the dog's owner, is soon shot themselves...
20"The Gooseberry Bush"Clive ExtonSimon Langton18 February 2006 (2006-02-18) [47 minutes]5.48
While helping to create memorial garden for a woman who intends to re-marry her former husband, Rosemary and Laura are surprised to find an abandoned baby under a gooseberry bush. While the pair wonder who the mother is as they get on with the garden, a gunshot soon leads them to the body of a noted artist, leaving them wondering if the murder and the abandoned child are possibly connected...
21"Racquet Espanol"David Joss BuckleyBrian Farnham30 July 2007 (2007-07-30) [47 minutes]5.39
While Rosemary and Laura are helping to do up a garden for a Spanish tennis camp that is holding a tournament, in which Laura's son is taking part, tragedy strikes when the body of one of the Pro-Am tournament players is discovered. Although the player is thought to have died in a drunken accident, the gardeners soon find evidence that they were murdered, especially when the player's wife is killed in an accident intended for someone else. The pair soon realise that something is not right within the tennis camp...
22"Enter Two Gardeners"Clive ExtonSimon Langton6 August 2007 (2007-08-06) [47 minutes]5.27
Rosemary is delighted to be working on the garden of an open-air theatre with Laura, as her cousin Charles is an actor preparing for his role in an amateur production. But during rehearsals, one of the actors is suddenly killed by a prop gun, which police discover had been loaded with live ammo instead of blanks. The two gardeners soon wonder if someone is out to sabotage the play, or whether there is another motive at work...


On 12 May 2006, ITV announced that the show was to be axed as part of a major refresh in ITV1's programming.[4] The final two episodes of series three ("Racquet Espanol" and "Enter Two Gardeners") were not aired with the rest of the series during 2005-06. They were eventually broadcast in late July and early August 2007.

Because of the outdoor nature of the show and the brevity of the British summer, it became the practice to set two episodes of each series in overseas locations. Two stories were already ready for shooting in Portugal when changes in production personnel caused delays. By the time that shooting was rescheduled, some actors were otherwise committed, and the ITV Network Centre was left with no option but to cancel filming for a fourth series.


Three novelisations, credited to series creator Brian Eastman and ghostwritten by crime writer Rebecca Tope, were published in Britain by Allison and Busby and in Australia by Hardie Grant Books:

Composed and conducted by Christopher Gunning, a CD of incidental music and the opening theme (performed by John Williams) from the first two series of Rosemary & Thyme.

"The Case of the Dead Wait", by Peter Lovesey (January 2007 Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine)

DVD releases

DVD Name Episodes Release Date Rating
Region 1
Region 2
Region 4
Series One 6 14 June 2005 6 October 2003 2 April 2007[5]
Series Two 8 28 February 2006 27 December 2004 2 June 2007[6]
Series Three 8 6 February 2007 3 April 2006 4 August 2007[7]
The Complete Series 22 5 February 2008
4 October 2011 (re-release)
7 August 2006
4 July 2011 (re-release)
3 November 2007[8]
5 May 2008 (slimline)[9]
6 March 2013 (re-release)[10]


  1. Archived 24 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. "ITV TV Shows". Retrieved 2013-05-04.
  3. 1 2 3 "Top 30 Programmes". BARB. 2013-04-21. Retrieved 2013-05-04.
  4. "ITV swings axe to revive channel". BBC News. 12 May 2006. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  5. "Rosemary And Thyme Series 1 on DVD". Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  6. "Rosemary And Thyme Series 2 on DVD". Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  7. "Rosemary And Thyme Series 3 on DVD". Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  8. "Rosemary And Thyme Complete Series on DVD". Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  9. "Rosemary And Thyme Complete Series Slimline on DVD". Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  10. "Rosemary And Thyme The Complete Collection on DVD". Retrieved March 1, 2015.
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