The great British sitcom: Last Of The Summer Wine

Discussion in 'TV Central' started by Mel O'Drama, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Did we ever see Sheridan?
     
  2. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    BTW, with "NOYN," what was the point with Baker injured and axed?
     
  3. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    If I remember correctly there was an episode that began with Hyacinth waving him off as he left in a taxi. So we may have seen the back of his head from a distance and obscured. I love "hidden" characters on these shows.

    None at all, really. It only survived one episode without her before being brought to a premature end, so at least good sense finally prevailed. But that was one episode too many and gave the series a really crappy ending.
     
  4. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Last night I watched the final episodes of the Australian version of Father, Dear Father, completing my run.

    The Aussie version was fairly consistent. It was never quite as good as the British version (a big reason for this was a lack of larger than life recurring characters, such as Mother, Barbara, Bill, Phillip and Georgie. And there were different writers working on it), but it was enjoyable and captured the spirit of the original as well as such a different concept could.

    The two new girls grew on me. I retract my earlier comments about them as I did get to tell them apart, grew to find them quite endearing and after the first few episodes they were more interactive with Patrick and Nanny. Sigrid Thornton's sassy attitude felt like she would be a good fit for PCBH, and indeed IMDb tells me she did go on to Prisoner a year later (she also went on to appear in Wentworth). Maybe this is where I know her from. Sally Conabere reminded me of Maureen Teefy from Fame, Grease 2 and Supergirl.

    While many names and faces were vaguely familiar - as happens with Australian TV - I didn't recognise quite so many soap actors as expected. The ones I did included Ron Shand (Number 96's Herb), Maggie Kirkpatrick (from Prisoner and Richmond Hill) playing a great blonde and brassy type and Frank Lloyd (Home And Away's Neville) giving good Milquetoast, which was used to good advantage here.

    I rounded off the run with the 1973 film version. As expected with movie spin-offs from the era, it resurrected a number of threads, scenarios and gags from the UK series without ever being quite as funny as the series itself. Still, very enjoyable and unlike other sitcom films this one largely kept the same cast, locations and sets as well as the gags.

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    My goodness: Cooke and Mortimer really like Richard O'Sullivan, don't they. Two roles in the series and a major role in the film version. And they also cast him in lead roles in their other series of the era (and just afterwards): Alcock and Gander; Man About The House and Robin's Nest. Throw in Dick Turpin and Me & My Girl and it's no wonder I remember him being a televisual omnipresence during my childhood.
     
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  5. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    My next Britcom is underway..

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    Geoffrey Palmer and Judi Dench are two of those actors whose names make the prospect of watching something more attractive. Watching something that features both together is a complete no-brainer.

    As Time Goes By is not completely unfamiliar to me. I dare say I've watched a number of episodes here and there, though I have no specific memories of it. What's immediately evident in these first two episodes is that everything works. The premise (old sweethearts meet by chance almost four decades later and the spark is still there) is a captivating one. What really makes this fly for me is that the writing and acting play against the romantic element. Both Jean and Lionel are pragmatic almost to the point of cynicism. Both lead full lives. And both are slightly grouchy. That seems very promising.

    Bob Larbey was one of the creators of The Good Life and Ever Decreasing Circles. Like As Time Goes By, I had an awareness of both these series before watching them in full recently but they'd never spoken to me. Both became instant favourites with me this time round. So that bodes well for As Time Goes By.

    I've had a number of little spoilers for the show already (the downside of buying a complete series - it's hard to avoid seeing pictures or picking up a piece of text here and there). I don't think any of the knowledge I have is going to spoil my enjoyment. Some of the little titbits I've picked up are serving to whet my appetite. Like I know Joan Sims is going to have a recurring role in the series, which is definitely something to look forward to.
     
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  6. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat Addict

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    . He was a regular in the Doctor comedy series in the early 1970s. I was watching him in The Four Just Men with Vittorio De Sica, shot in 1959. He was in an episode of Strange Report with Anthony Quayle. He also turned up in Danger Man in the mid-1960s with Patrick McGoohan. In the Danger Man episode, Lelia Goldoni is involved in bumping off his dad. She later turned up treating Lilimae after she ran Chip down.
    Oh, William Roache makes an appearance in this look at BRASS:

     
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  7. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat Addict

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    Richard O’Sullivan is here too!
     
  8. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm over halfway through Series Three of As Time Goes By now. It's just charming and very moreish. I'm fully invested in the characters and thoroughly enjoy that there's a definite arc to the series. It's so rewarding that each change or move forward resonates and comes with consequences, good and bad.

    Bob Larbey's writing feels very natural and relatable. My God - Geoffrey Palmer is a splendid actor. I can't take my eyes off him. He's just lovely. Each little look and his hangdog, deadpan business enrich the show no end and work the humour incredibly well. The chemistry between he and Dench is great.

    I can't overstate how much I'm enjoying this.



    That's a whole lot of Dick.


    Luckily I watched this before it got taken down. It's sold me on Brass. Next time Network have their 40% off thingy this is likely to be one of my treats.
     
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  9. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The PBS stations here love to run ATGB over and over. I'm sure the programmers think Judi Dench=ratings when they look at the premise, but the show has a lot more going for it than just star power. The only problem I have with my local affiliate is that they run the episodes out of order, so I never know what sort of B plot they'll be playing. I lose track of whether Alistair will be pursuing Judy or Sandy, or if they got past it and just made him annoyingly flirtatious with all three ladies. No one who watches it with me can imagine Alistair would actually date women anyway. :eek:

    I love how they use recurring habits/quirks/foibles to make the viewer feel drawn into their lives--like a "family joke" we're allowed to be part of. In an American sitcom, Lionel's affection for custard tarts would not last more than a single episode, yet we see it over and over in this show until it's like an old friend.
     
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  10. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Absolutely. It's beautifully written and feels very much like an ensemble rather than a star vehicle. Just last night I was thinking how balanced things feel between the two leads and how giving they are to each other and their co-stars.

    When ATGB began - not being too familiar with theatre at my tender age - I thought of Judi primarily as a sitcom actress. Probably the only thing I knew her from at that point was her previous Bob Larbey vehicle, A Fine Romance, in which she'd starred with her husband, Michael Williams.


    That's frustrating. I suppose there's a general conception that sitcom episodes are interchangeable and lacking in continuity. And I imagine many shows were - or are - made with syndication in mind. But there's a definite flow to ATGB that probably makes watching it out of order less impactful.

    For what it's worth, at the point I'm at (the second half of Series Three), Alistair is flirting with all three with varying degrees of success. One of the spoilers I've had involves the outcome of the flirtation, so it's interesting to watch with that in mind.


    :D


    Yes indeed. Lionel's penchant for custard tarts has just become prominent in the episodes I'm watching. Or at least I've just noticed it.

    Throughout Series One I enjoyed the running gag regarding Lionel's book My Life In Kenya, where everyone to whom he mentioned the title would then ask him what it was about, prompting a frustrated Lionel to describe the contents by resignedly repeating the title. Somehow it spoke volumes about matter-of-fact, unfussy Lionel and the way he viewed the world.




    Incidentally, things are getting a bit meta with Series Three. Alistair has suggested that Lionel's second book should be about his earlier romance with Jean and their separation (in other words, the series' backstory). In addition, he's suggested that the third book should be about their reunion after 38 years (so, a novelisation of the series itself).
     
  11. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    They go even further into meta territory (thanks mainly to his book), but it doesn't feel as exploitative as the overly-obvious way American TV shows satirize show business.
    The series seems to enjoy poking gentle fun at things without being insulting or mean-spirited.
     
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  12. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I can believe it. The episodes I watched tonight involved Lionel's pitch for his book to be made into a Hollywood mini-series with the requisite doctoring by the team threatening to turn it into something unrecognisable. But it was all done so charmingly.


    In these latter Series Three episodes, all the women have an issue with the glamorous/efficient/intelligent/frosty Sally. There are some genuine layers to it and it's arguably showing a less than charitable side to them. I love that Sally is triggering the insecurities of these main characters. Judi has done fine work with Jean losing face in her two meetings with Sally so far. The first when she arrived late and flustered having snapped the heel off her shoe when walking and then found the pickle from her lunch had leaked all over her bag - including Sally's CV. The second was when Jean was suffering badly with jet lag and appeared drunk. On both occasions Judi has risen to the occasion and done some great tottering, limping, slurring and general all round awkwardness. Wonderful stuff.
     
  13. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    What is it about seeing a great theatrical actress attempting to imitate a trilling telephone that causes me to laugh so heartily? Even before she started the first time, when there was that moment of hesitation and a flicker of self-consciousness, I found myself laughing at the very idea. And I suppose that's exactly why. It's partly the awkward juxtapostition of a Dame Commander behaving with such indignity of course. But it's also because of the perfect timing and complete believability with which she presents the uncomfortable moment. Acting skills which prove exactly why she's a Dame in the first place.

    Oh - and Mrs Flack. Loveable, kind, chatty Mrs Flack. I've known several people like her. The people that, try as they might, can't stop talking and can't keep any conversation - no matter what the original topic - from quickly straying to something that relates solely to their life and its inhabitants. Mrs F. is perhaps one of the best on-screen representatives of this type and the way in which they're viewed by those in daily contact with them - the resolve to tackle it head on when she's not around and then all intentions going out of the window when she arrives with a smile on her face and a new story about her broken leg. Jean and Lionel's plan to fire her took the show into some nice farce, from the aforementioned pretended incoming telephone call to the mixed communications when Mrs F. gave notice to Jean but an unknowing Lionel continued with their plan to scare Mrs Flack by inviting her to Los Angeles with him. On screen it all felt quite simple and truthful, but like the miscommunications in Father, Dear Father, I imagine it's terribly challenging to write and still make this funny.
     
  14. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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  15. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    By coincidence, I came across this footage that answers many questions about what Dame Judi is like off the set.

     
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  16. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    To quote Judi herself from an episode I watched last night when Jean learnt that Stephen had apparently cheated on Penny with his dental assistant: "It's a bit like Sooty drinking large vodkas."
     
  17. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, that Tracy Ullman skit reminds me greatly of a story Roger Moore related about Judi.

    Apparently she was deep in thought while on her way to a rehearsal and not paying full attention. Crossing the road while distracted she was nearly hit by a speeding taxi. Screeching to a halt, the furious cab driver bellowed at her "Mind where you're going, you stupid ****".

    To which Judi swiftly retorted "It's Dame **** to you.".

    I'm rather sad I wasn't there to see it.
     
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  18. Matthew Blaisdel

    Matthew Blaisdel Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Always when i see this thread i read "The great british shitstorm".
     
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  19. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  20. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well... we already have several Brexit threads. :cool: :D




    In As Time Goes By news, Lionel and Jean have now got married. They certainly didn't waste any time once that proposal was made.
     
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