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Desmond's was a British sitcom set in a barbershop named Desmond's in the London borough of Peckham. The show was broadcast from 1989 and 1994 on the network Channel 4 in the U.K. and later shown on U.S. cable network's including BET. Desmond's was popular in the U.K. and also attempted to give a realistic view of life in London lived by members of the West Indian and African communities; alongside showing the comedy of everyday life Desmond's also tried to show realistic situation involving the prejudice's faced by the predominantly black characters. Desmond's is often cited as the first sitcom aired in the U.K. that focused on the working lives of black people with the majority of the sitcom taking place in the barbershop owned by Desmond Ambrose.

During the six seasons covering 71 episodes of Desmond's the focus is squarely on the lives of the Ambrose family, headed by Desmond, played by Norman Beaton. Desmond, often referred to as an incompetent barber living in Peckham, London who longs to return to his childhood home of Guyana to retire. Desmond's wife, Shirley does not share his dream of returning to Guyana as she does not want to leave their three adult children and the successful life and business they have built up in London.

Desmond's barber shop is a meeting place for members of the local community, including Desmond's childhood friend from Guyana Porkpie who followed him to London. The children of the Ambrose family are used in the show to give an impression of the hopes and dreams of members of the black community of Peckham. The eldest son of the family Michael is a bank loan officer; the younger of the Ambrose children wish to become professionals with Gloria interested in journalism and Sean leaving to study computers at university. Much of the comedy is found in the different attitudes of the generations portrayed in the sitcom. The comedy ended with the death of Norman Beaton that led to a spin off series based on the character of Porkpie.

Monday 8:30 pm et/pt on Channel 4
6 Seasons, 136 Episodes
January 5, 1989
Cast: Norman Beaton, Carmen Munroe, Ram John Holder, Gyearbuor Asante

Desmond's Full Episode Guide

  • The last ever episode of the popular sitcom. Shirley is planning a traditional Guyanese Christmas but the family have other plans. Meanwhile, Lee decides that what the barber shop needs is…

  • Desmond has ordered a neon sign for the shop and Lee has got it for him at a bargain price. But then he offers to install it, too...

  • A huge wedding takes place in Peckham, which means big business for the shop. But Desmond is away and Shirley is forced to call in his hated rival, Irving Poole.

  • Porkpie's old flame Hyacinth turns up - and just happens to answer the phone when his absent fiancee Susu calls from Jamaica.

  • A funky American preacher arrives at the barbershop to sue Desmond for a cut he had two years ago and the months of mental distress he had to suffer afterwards.

  • Desmond is away at a conference. but his speech has gone AWOL. When it can't be found, there's only one answer - the barber shop gang will write a replacement.

  • Desmond hires an architect to plan the retirement house he's always dreamt of - but then he tries to keep it secret from Shirley.

  • Beverley becomes distraught when she finds some love letters written by Cuthbert.

  • Sean invents a video game that seems destined to put his father out of business.

  • On a miserable English day Desmond wonders what might have happened if he had never come to this 'godforsaken country'.

  • Desmond gets a shock when he reads a page or two from Porkpie's diary.

  • Desmond hires a new assistant Ricky - but no one else can understand why he's chosen Ricky in the first place.

  • It could be wedding bells for Michael unless Beverly has her way.

  • Lee decides to go into the motor bike courier business, but after a routine health check, his health hangs in the balance.

  • Shirley is asked by the vicar to preach a sermon. Desmond doesn't think this is possibly the greatest idea in the world.

  • Sean is organising a university dance and books Spider as his star Ragga DJ. And that's where the trouble starts...

  • Desmond is struck down with flu and Shirley is away teaching for the week, so Tony takes control of the shop.

  • Matthew is in love and wants to get married. Again.

  • Gloria's 20th birthday arrives and she's never felt so low. It's time to take the bull by the horns and change her life.

  • Desmond goes into partnership with Lee on a sure-fire money-spinning venture. Meanwhile, Beverley needs money to pay for a wedding.

  • Porkpie invites everyone to see him in action on the school crossing.

  • It's Sean's first day at university - but is he ready to exchange freedom for books?

  • Porkpie gets himself a job and Lee enters Michael for a hair competition.

  • Matthew needs a bill-topper for his charity concert. Step forward Desmond, Shirley and a twinkle-toed Porkpie.