In the opening credits of As Time Goes By, we see a letter being written, presumably by Jean from looking at the hands. I've included a picture of the scene just after it in the opening credits below.

Opening credits

What does this letter say?

  • Well, if you meant to ask what the letter was about in general, it was a plot point. It appeared in a museum later on in the series. – Walt Aug 22 '15 at 8:19
  • @Walt no, I'm not asking what the letter was about, but what the actual words are on the letter! – Often Right Aug 22 '15 at 23:20
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    I see. Well, I don't think it was ever fully revealed. As I said above, at least one episode focussed on the letter, but I'm pretty sure they didn't reveal its full contents even then. – Walt Aug 22 '15 at 23:31
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    DVD cover - i.stack.imgur.com/OzH8k.jpg – user7812 Mar 18 '16 at 8:55
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    DVD cover 2 - assets.suredone.com/1938/media-photos/… – user7812 Mar 18 '16 at 8:56

In one of the final episodes, Lionel presented Jean with a copy of the letter that found its way to being on display at the National War Museum. Jean sat on the sofa and read the letter contents back to Lionel. I don't remember the words, but it was one of the final episodes. You might be able to rent the last series through your local library and watch the last few episodes.

  • Thanks for that - it would be worth tracking it down just for that! I don't recall that one myself but I don't doubt that it may have happened! :D – Often Right Mar 18 '16 at 4:15

There are two letters that were written. The one seen in the beginning of the show. Here is what I found on the dvd covers (6, 7), BBC Box Set and it looks like the word “here not hear” in one of the sentences. I guess that only Jean and Lionel know. Here are photos from the Box Set covers.

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February ‘53

My Dearest Jean,

I am far away from England and all that is familiar. I miss you dearly. I don’t know yet where I am to be stationed once I get to Korea, but I will send you my address as soon as I have it. For the meantime you can send any letters to this address. I’m sure to get it eventually. Do write back then. I want to here from you. You’ll never know how hard it was for me to leave after the time we’ve spent together. I cherish you always.

My Undying Love,


This is the information I could visibly read in the letter after zooming in as much as I could:

1st Battalion

The Middlesex Regiment


January ?? '53

My Darling Jean,

England seems so far away and I miss you terribly. This is the first chance I have had to send you my address here in Korea.

Do write back straight away my darling.... (scene fades at that point)

  • video not working now – Ankit Sharma Jul 31 '17 at 7:29
  • Removed it. Uhm...I can't find another one right now :( – steelersquirrel Jul 31 '17 at 7:31

The premise of As Time Goes By is that Jean Pargeter (Judy Dench) and Lionel Hardcastle (Geoffrey Palmer) are rekindling a teenage romance after some 40 years of separation.

In episode 1 series 1 we learn that Lionel was posted to Kenya, they kept in touch by letter for a while but after a while letters went astray.

This led to each mistakenly believing that the other had broken off the relationship.

The letter in the opening credits is symbolic of the lost years of their love. The letter that created the situation for the sitcom. The actual words are not as important to the story as the symbol.

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    I appreciate the answer, however it does not address the question. I am not asking about what the letter was supposed to signify, but what the letter actually says! Whether or not you think it is important is not pertinent to the question. – Often Right Aug 22 '15 at 23:19

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