Pardon the Expression (lost pilots of Coronation Street sitcom spin-off; 1965)
Pardon the Expression was a spin-off of the long running British soap opera Coronation Street. A sitcom starring Arthur Lowe as Leonard Swindley, the show ran for two series from 1965 to 1966. Prior to the show's airing, two pilots were known to have been filmed.
Pardon the Expression became the first spin-off of Coronation Street. It was conceptualised when the show's writers found the character Leonard Swindley, played by Arthur Lowe, to have comedic potential. Thus, a spin-off titled Pardon the Expression was produced by Granada Television, focusing on the mishaps of Swindley as he became the assistant manager of a Dobson and Hawks department store. The show's title originated from a catchphrase from Swindley, where he would add "...if you pardon the expression" in conversations where he was forced to use "modern speak".
Two pilots were filmed prior to the show being greenlit, under the production numbers P477/1 and P477/2. According to The British Television Pilot Episodes Research Guide 1936-2015, a script written by Jack Rosenthal titled "The Presentation" contained a note stating "Not to be transmitted". It is believed this script was utilised for one of the pilots. Ultimately, the pilots convinced ITV to order two series of the show from Granada, consisting of 36 episodes which were broadcast from 1965 to 1966. Overall, the show performed well in its first series, but dipped considerably in its second, causing some ITV regions to avoid broadcasting episodes until the show's end. Nevertheless, it did inspire another spin-off called Turn Out The Lights, where Swindley and store manager Mr Hunt become ghost hunters. Lowe himself would later work on the BBC sitcom Dad's Army.
All episodes of Pardon the Expression are publicly available, and were also included in a DVD set. This includes a Christmas episode that originally was supposed to be broadcast on 3rd January 1966, only for it to remain off television screens. However, aside from a few notes in The British Television Pilot Episodes Research Guide 1936-2015, little is known surrounding the pilot episodes. They ultimately never aired on British television, and have been confirmed by Kaleidoscope to no longer exist within ITV's archives.
- Television Heaven detailing Pardon the Expression and noting it was the first Coronation Street spin-off. Retrieved 3rd Aug '22
- Comedy providing trivia surrounding Pardon the Expression, including the missing pilots. Retrieved 3rd Aug '22
- Comedy providing a summary of Pardon the Expression. Retrieved 3rd Aug '22
- The British Television Pilot Episodes Research Guide 1936-2015 providing notes surrounding the pilots. Retrieved 3rd Aug '22
- Kaleidoscope noting the two pilots no longer exist within the ITV archives. Retrieved 3rd Aug '22
- Comedy summarising the DVD set. Retrieved 3rd Aug '22
- Comedy noting the never broadcast Christmas special was included on the DVD set. Retrieved 3rd Aug '22