Benjamin Harper
Ben Harper

Portrayed by

Robert Lindsay

First appearance

The Serpent’s Tooth

Last appearance

A Night Out



Date of Birth:

21 November 1954 (age 62)




Susan Harper (1980—)


Tony Harper
Vivian Harper


Harold Harper

Children + Grandchildren

Nick Harper
Janey Harper
Michael Harper
Kenzo Harper

Too many parameters

Benjamin 'Ben' Harper is one of the main characters in My Family. He is portrayed by Robert Lindsay.


Ben Harper is a misanthropic dentist who is married to Susan Harper and has three children - Nick, Janey and Michael. He shows little compassion for his family, his patients or anyone else he encounters. In most episodes he can be found trying to come up with ingenious plans to annoy his wife, get rid of his kids and sit on the sofa with a beer and the paper. He enjoys watching football (shown supporting both Arsenal F.C. and QPR F.C.) and reading Tom Clancy, although it usually takes him the better part of a year to get through a single book. Ben and Susan have been married for about twenty-five years.

His children each have their idiosyncratic problems (with the possible exception of Michael), possibly due to the chronic lack of attention from their dad who doesn't seem to care about anyone. This lack of caring is shown to others outside of his family too, mainly towards his dental practice partner Roger Bailey.

Deep down, Ben loves his wife and children very much, just seems reluctant to show it.


Series 1 Ben's photo shoot Edit

Series 2 Calendar is publish Edit

Series 3 Books Edit

Series 4 dentist rocks

The beginning of series four saw Ben first meet Roger Bailey Jnr, who happened to be the son of Ben's former mentor. Roger tried to buy the surgery upstairs but Ben lied by saying that someone else now had it. Instead, Roger decided to buy the one below. He was also shown to be dancing better than his wife when Susan tricked him into a modern Latin dance class and got Roger to teach them privately so they could enter a competition at the end of the month. He also accidentally made love to Susan's mother, Grace, who invited herself round for dinner, after deciding to go and stay at Nick's place instead. Return of the Prodigal Prat saw him being listed in the obituaries of The Herald so he decided to take it as the perfect excuse as having nothing to do. In Owed to Susan, Susan wasn't happy when she found out that a poem he wrote to her while they were courting turned out to be Your Face by Jalal ad-Din Rumi and even went to Abi's poetry class to try and write a new one - because she refused to make love to him until he did. In Deliverance, Ben became a grandfather when his eldest and only daughter Janey went into labour and they travelled up to Macnhester to be at her side. Along the way, they recalled what Nick's birth was like. Later, Janey gave birth to a boy called Kenzo. In the following episode, Ben is on jury duty and is hassled by a busybody fellow juror called Joanna Elton-Johns (Sylvestra Le Touzel), and Nick becomes a "wrapping artist" and wraps everything up in brown paper. Ben also hates the idea of Halloween as well as Christmas - although Susan was different and turned the place into a house of horrors. In The Canary Cage, after Susan gets a free holiday for four, she, Ben, Nick and Michael all go to Lanzarote in Spain. However, Ben's luggage gets lost, and then all his credit cards and money are stolen and he is forced to beg to Nick for money. Ben also upsets the people in the next house (Henrieta Baines, Christopher Ryan and Cressida Whyte) by accidentally taking indecent photos with his new digital camera. Meanwhile, Michael spends most of his time out. Abi's father, Ben's cousin, Richard Harper (Anthony Head) is getting married for a fifth time, to 18-year-old Gina Beresford and he asks Ben to be the best man, which means Ben has to organise the stag night. The wedding makes Abi annoyed, especially as Gina Beresford was at the same school as her. Meanwhile, when Michael refuses to do the washing-up, no one else does it either. In Its A Window Filled Life, Roger goes to the Harpers saying that one of his patients had got an infectious disease from Peru called "Ortiz River Fever", so Susan puts the whole house under quarantine. Michael stays upstairs with Fiona, while Nick tries to get in the house with a pregnant python called Pamela. Meanwhile, Ben manages to escape the house, meets a man called Clarence (Leslie Randall) and then has an epiphany where he does not exist. In Sixty Feet Under Ben, Susan, Nick and Michael are on the tube after doing some Christmas shopping, and due to signalling problems the train cannot move. Michael gets a girlfriend called Claire (Sydney Stevenson), Nick makes money by selling bottled water and Susan starts decorating the carriage. Abi, Roger, and an Albanian man (Samuel Gough) are busking as a Romanian folk band, while Nick brings Richard Whiteley to see Ben and Susan. However, when the problem is fixed, the driver (Nigel Lindsay) refuses to move on until Susan, who was rude to him, apologises. Meanwhile, Ben, dying for a drink, tries to steal the drunk man’s booze whilst everyone in the carriage is asleep. He now plays Ross Geller

Series 5Edit

With Janey and Nick moved out and Abi and Michael busy with other things, Ben is enjoying peace and quiet at the begnning of series 5, however, Janey returns from university having ben thrown out and moves back into the family home, Michael becomes a religiouse and fills the kitchen with god worshippers, Abi takes up naturism and damages Ben's car, Peace can never last in the Harper household (The Mummy Returns)

Ben takes a shine to Michael's new friend Jack, who shares his interests in music and football, Ben begins to regulary invite Jack round to watch football, however, Ben is hurt when he discovers Jack is using him to get close to Susan, he manages to drive Jack out by putting him off Susan for good. After Jack leaves, Ben shows signs of missing Jack (You Don't Know Jack)

Soon after, Ben is asked to flat sit by an old friend and takes Susan with him to a modern tower block in a rough area of London, Ben expresses his desire to buy a flat in the tower block but Susan wants to buy a cottage in the country, After damaging most of the flat, including the door, the TV, the table and the window, Ben makes a decision to remain in the Harpers current house (What's Up, Docklands?)

Ben isn't happy when Susan decides to meddle in Abi and Roger's love lives, Roger turns to Ben for help in charming a women and Ben charms one of his dental patients, After a failed attempt to charm an old man pretending to be a women, Roger hires a hooker to be his girlfriend for the evening, Ben, unknown about Roger's new girlfriend, is flattered when she comes onto him even thought she is trying to get him to become one of her clients. The Next Day, Ben comfront the hooker over her relationship with Roger and she is eventually arrested by the police for her prositution (Luck Be A Lady Tonight)

Ben is amused when Susan announces she's standing for council, Micheal gets a new pet that begins roaming around the house, Leaving Ben in fear. however, Ben is too busy trying to complete a cross word in order to get one over on Roger, he ends up asking the help of everyone in the Harper household (First Past The Post)

Michael and Susan go on a "date with death" website and discover Ben has only six weeks to live, Susan begins arranging the funeral and the kids act like they don't care about Ben's approaching death, Leaving Ben feeling unloved and hurt, Nick returns, much to Ben's horror, Ben goes on another death websie and discovers he has another 40 years to live. (My Will Be Done)

When Susan employs Martha as a housekeeper, Ben is delighted because of Martha's good cooking and personality,.however, Susan begins to feel left out of the family and demands that Ben fires her. When he does fire her, he secretly employs her at his dental surgery. Susan finds out the truth and Ben is forced to fire her a second time (My Fair Charlady)

Ben is angered when Susan, now obsessd with Inspector Morse, becomes convinced that one of Ben's wealthiest patients has murdered his wife ans she begins her own investigatng Morse-Style, however, it is later revealed Mr Addis, the patient, is convinced Susan is trying to kill Ben (The Mouth Trap)

Ben and Susan begin having trouble in the bedroom, due to Ben's snoring. Susan ends up sleeping on the coach and Ben discovers a night without Susan causes him to be happy rather than miserable, Susan also has the same effect and they agree not to sleep in the same bed, however after another arguement in the bedroom, Ben tries to get Susan to sleep in there marital bed because he can't sleep without her (While You Weren't Sleeping)

During the next few months, Ben befriends Collin Judd, an actor who comes to him for dental work but after an accident at home, Ben loses his celebrity patients to Roger (Dentist To The Stars). When Susan swaps lives with Janey, Ben is forced to move into the surgery and unwittingly goes along with Susan's plans to relive there first date (A Wife Less Ordinary). Ben discovers a member of the local book club has been trying to seduce Susan and ends up joining the book club himself (The Book of Love). Ben is forced to take Janey on a dental conference and hopes to win a place on Jeffery Duttons dental practice, the rest of the Harper family follow hm to the conference and Ben ends up ruining the Dutton's marriage and his chances of making more money (Going Dental)

Ben and Susan are apalled when Janey gets engaged to Ches Rochester, a man twice her age. Ben however comes around to the idea when Ches declares he is paying for the wedding, But Ben's ego is dented when Ches begins paying for everything. Susan also angers him by asking him to write a father of the bride speech. which he uses to show is true feelings towards his daughter. only for her to leave Ches on the night of there wedding for a waiter (Glad Tidings We Bring)

A year later, Alfie Butts, Nicks old friend, arrives at the Harpers and Susan invites him to stay for Christmas, Bens not hapy about having a new addition to the Harper clan but has more worries about getting Susan her perfect christmas present and when he discovers she is throwing a party for grandson Kenzo, he recruits Roger as a clown and cancels the clown Susan ordered, Roger ends up getting drunk and Ben is forced to become the clown and he loses a large amount of money on christmas presents when Susan only bought him a pair of socks. (...And I'll Cry If I Want To)

Series 6Edit

Series 7Edit

Series 8Edit

Series 9Edit

Series 10Edit

Series 11Edit

Relationships with other charactersEdit

Susan Harper Edit

Ben and Susan have been married for over 30 years, having three children and lots of adventures together along the way. they share a love-hate relationship and have always been in competition with each other.

Nick Harper Edit

When Nick was living at home Ben, on many occasions voiced his disapproval of the way Nick was running his life, with new jobs nearly every day and the way he was always happy. In series 3 he finally gets fed up and pushes Nick out of the family home. Nick returns to the Harper household a year later and Ben is horrified when Susan gives him his old room back however Ben eventually accepts Nick being back in the house but his patience continue to be pushed to the limits by Nick's idiotic ways. He is also not impressed by Nick's mad money-making schemes - such as the time Nick decided to set up a Christmas tree business in the living-room making the place resemble a forest in the episode Ding Dong Merrily.

During series 5 and 6, Nick has left the Harper household for good, Susan is devastated at the departure of her first born but Ben is delighted by this, even thought he does deep down love his son.

Janey HarperEdit

Ben's theory is that Susan should deal with the girls, so he doesn't really involve himself with her life. During one episode Ben virtually admits to Janey's face that she has been a disappointment. When Kenzo is born, though, we do see that father and daughter get along much better and Ben does deeply care for Janey as he shows throughtout the series.

Michael Harper Edit

Ben is often seen trying to win the support of Michael, this could be because he sees Michael has the ability to undermine his authority. Another reason though could be that he has seen his failings towards the other two children and wants to make up for lost time. In earlier series they appear to be much closer although from series 3 there's a noticable change with Michael frequently commenting on his dislike for Ben and Bens failings, although this could be from a sense of bitterness than Ben doesn't take an interest in him very often. Although they maintain a barbed relationship throughout the series the two appear much more friendly in the later seasons particular after Ben's unconditional acceptance of Michaels coming out of the closet in Series 10

Roger Bailey Jr Edit

Ben is frequently irritated by Rogers chirpy attitude and regularly abuses and insults him, Roger however seems totally oblivious to Bens opinion of believing it to all be in fun and even once commenting that he rather enjoys the way Ben pushes him around all the time. Part of the reason for Bens annoyance may stem from the fact that Roger clearly loves his job greatly whereas Ben has never found anything but misery from it. Whatever Bens opinion of Roger however its clear that Roger idolises and worships Ben and desires to be considered his friend, he even makes Ben his best man at his wedding. Although Ben finds Roger annoying its implied at several points throughout the series he does care for his wellbeing and takes great steps to ensure this such as breaking into a monastery so Roger can see Abi one last time and trying to persuade an escort to stop taking financial advantage of him.

Abi HarperEdit

she,s Ben harper,s Neice and just joined the cast as a character dressed in many outfits red coat to she,s been a great friend to Janey she is now married to Roger Bailey Jr and loves him deeply

Grace Riggs Edit

There are a lot of people who hate Ben and he hates them back. His relationship with Susan's alcholic mother (Grace Riggs) have perhaps the most extreme hate-hate relationship. She despises Ben, and resents him for marrying her daughter. There are many examples of this turbulent relationship. The classic is when Grace visits the Harper house and Ben always makes excuses to flee the house before she arrives. Grace also loathes Ben, and was overjoyed when Ben discovered Susan had a husband before him. Their hatred for each other was never resolved and they showed no sign of affection anywhere in the series. Even at Grace's funeral, Ben was more concerned about his car getting a speeding ticket and even pulled into McDonalds on the way to her funeral.


Ben Harper