January 5, 1989 at 8.30pm: Desmond’s debuts on Channel 4


Desmond’s is a British television situation comedy broadcast by Channel 4 from January 5, 1989 to December 19, 1994. With 71 episodes, Desmond’s became Channel 4’s longest running sitcom in terms of episodes. The show was made in and set in Peckham, London, and featured a predominantly black British Guyanese cast.

Barber Desmond Ambrose’s shop was a gathering place for an assortment of local characters. The characters had aspirations (Desmond to return to Guyana, Michael to run his own branch of the bank, Gloria to get a job in fashion, Sean to get to university) and were socially mobile.

Notable Cast

  • Norman Beaton, “Desmond Ambrose”
  • Carmen Munroe, “Shirley Ambrose”
  • Geff Francis, “Michael Ambrose”
  • Ram John Holder, “Augustus Neapolitan Cleveland ‘Porkpie’ Grant
  • Dominic Keating, “Tony”
  • Lisa Geoghan, “Louise Dixon”


Following the death of Norman Beaton in 1994, a spin-off series was made with Porkpie in the title role. This ran for two series in 1995 and 1996.


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