The great British sitcom: Last Of The Summer Wine

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

  1. Swami

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    The clash between Bates and Owen was resolved fairly quickly, whereas the friction between Owen and Wilde only really eased when Wilde re-joined the series in the early 1990s.

    Swami
     
  2. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Series Eight is well underway. Summer Wine is now part of the pattern of my day - with at least one episode per day. And a very enjoyable part it is, too.

    John Comer's Sid has disappeared. A little Googling tells me he'd died between series and the character is mentioned as having died some years later. He's a great loss to the series as I very much enjoyed his character's collusion with the trio and the sparring between Sid and Ivy. He's been replaced by Ivy's nephew, Crusher who is likeable enough but also very much a caricature in comparison. Crusher is bringing out some interesting new colours in Ivy, but the series has lost a special something with Sid. I still have Sid's last episode to watch, and Crusher's first since the two specials with these milestones have again been placed, non-consecutively, at the end of Series Seven and Eight.

    Other new arrivals are milquetoast Howard, his mousy wife Pearl and the object of his affection, the brassy Marina. Even just two appearances in, the new characters are already working well and the dynamic an established one, right down to Marina's barely concealed desire for "Norman Clegg as was".

    Brian Glover - among other things the voice of Tetley and Hovis - fitted in very well in his one-off episode.

    I'm laughing out loud regularly. The Mysterious Feet Of Nora Batty tickled me more than most - particularly the ladder stunt at the end which I didn't see coming. The physical comedy is a very enjoyable part of this series, and even accounting for the occasional stunt person, the three leads seem to throw themselves wholeheartedly into whatever needs doing.

    The scenery in the series seems to get more stunningly beautiful with each passing episode. Based on it I'm hoping to visit Holmfirth later in the year, since it's a part of Yorkshire I've never been to.
     
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  3. Swami

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    John Comer died after the 1983 Christmas special - in fact his voice was dubbed during that 90-minute special because he had lost his voice.

    I agree that the way the specials have been placed on the DVDs is not very logical, they should follow in chronological order. I am onto season 9 now, the first with Michael Aldridge as Seymour.

    Swami
     
  4. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd really like to watch in the correct order, especially with cast changes going on. With Series Nine I'm going to give this a go. I've made a note of the two specials that precede it - one of which introduces a number of new characters - and will try my best to watch these before the main series, no matter where they're placed.
     
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  5. Swami

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    Also worth noting around this time is when Thora Hird became a regular, Gordon Wharmby was so overawed by working with her that he suffered a nervous breakdown. He made a full recovery and ironically it was during a scene when Thora fluffed her lines, that he realised that she was fallible, that helped his recovery.

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  6. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Onto series 11 now, by now we have the introduction, as a regular, of Danny O'Dea as the extremely short-sighted Eli Duckett whose increasing number of cameos include walking into a skip, mistaking Marina on all fours for a dog, walking into a conservatory and many more.

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  7. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The introduction of a new Summer Wine "third man" is beginning to feel like a Doctor Who regeneration (not that I really watched the latter show). I find myself looking for shared traits and similarities to the previous incarnation. At the same time I'm looking for things that set this version apart. With Michael Aldridge, both aspects were quite clear from the first scene. He has the pomp and control of Foggy and Blamire while having a unique eccentric scattiness - a mad professor quality. By now it seems the trick is that the lines and situations for each third man may be more or less interchangeable. It's the interpretation and delivery that sets them apart.

    As Seymour, Aldridge is very likeable. Even behind his irritation, one feels that he genuinely enjoys spending time with his companions. He's more avuncular than either of his predecessors, I think. Looking at him kept making me think of the elderly Professor Kirke from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Even so, I've only just realised that he actually played that role in the 1988 series. And here was me thinking I hadn't seen him in anything before. There's also a touch of Alec Guinness in there somewhere. With a hint of a latter day Ian McKellen.

    As an aside, I was interested to see that Aldridge has first billing. I'd naturally assumed he was going to slip quietly in at third billing. I wonder how these things are decided?

    The feature length episodes have been very enjoyable indeed. It's interesting to see how well they work at this length and with no laughter track. The music - particularly the choral versions of the opening credits - have been a treat too. A soundtrack would me most welcome.

    Wally Batty is on the home stretch now, sadly. He never fails to raise a laugh. The hangdog face and his delivery are a winning combination and the perfect contrast to wife Nora. I've known Nora and Wallys - bullying, overbearing matriarchs and the men that tolerate them. Which is odd, because on screen they seem so unlikely. Truth is stranger than fiction, I suppose. Joe Gladwin has to do very little because he does henpecked so well. I've only properly discovered him as an actor in the last year - first as myopic Stan in Nearest and Dearest and now as Wally. When I realised he was in Summer Wine, I thought I'd never manage to see him as anything other than Stan, because that role was so memorable. But he's proved me wrong and Wally is one of the most endearing and enduring characters on the series. I shall miss him.
     
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  8. Swami

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    I think in terms of billing, the three main characters were always listed alphabetically. Michael Aldridge made a huge contribution both on and off-set, before he joined the show, Bill Owen was fairly private and rarely joined other cast members at social events etc, but Aldridge's jovial nature coaxed him out of that, and there was very much a more relaxed atmosphere between co-stars during his time on the show.

    Wally Batty was very much missed. Kathy Staff thought very highly of Joe Gladwin too.

    Swami
     
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  9. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It seems the Summer Wine DVDs have their own Dallas-style series numbering drama. I've just finished Series Twelve according to the DVD count, but Series Eleven according to other (perhaps more reliable) sources. For the record, it's the third and final Seymour year.

    Seymour has proved a very nice addition to the series. A little more mellow than Foggy or Blamire and his initial "mad professor" eccentricities seem to have eased as the episodes have gone by (a move that has been for the better, I think). The old-school headmaster persona has emerged as one of the dominant ones and it has kept the dynamic of the three leads fresh and interesting. I find Seymour very likeable and will miss him when he departs in the next episode.

    The show is feeling more like an ensemble piece than ever - perhaps one of the keys to its longevity. The characters that have been ushered in during this era are mostly working for me although Eli's myopic mishaps tend to fall flat with me. Barry and Glenda are fine. The increasing role for Howard, Pearl and Marina has brought some fun to the series (I hadn't really noticed Pearl on previous watches and she's becoming a favourite). Edie has been my favourite addition to the series. Thora Hird fits in so well and her facial expression and affectations match the tone of the series perfectly. She never fails to make me smile whether she's laying down newspaper for Wesley to walk on; grinding the car gears or affecting her "posh" outdoor accent.

    I had high hopes for Jean Alexander as Auntie Wainwright. In her two initial appearances she's been serviceable, but fairly so-so. She's still recognisably Jean Alexander and in turn it's difficult not to see Hilda Ogden in the way she moves and hear Hilda in the shrill speaking voice. I was hoping for a dramatically different characterisation, I suppose, so that'll teach me to have expectations. The old con lady concept has some mileage, so I'm keeping an open mind.

    Wally Batty is sorely missed, but there have been a couple of more touching moments where his death has been mentioned in passing - including a lovely scene between Nora and Ivy in which they both talk about missing their late husbands' little ways.

    Foggy's going to return in the next episode, so I'm curious to see if the magic will still be there. From reading the synopsis it seems Seymour will get a proper exit, so that'll be a first.
     
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  10. Swami

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    Michael Aldridge left the show to care for his wife who was struggling with dementia, but agreed to come back for one final episode to help pave the way for Foggy's return.

    Swami
     
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  11. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Foggy's return has been, on every level, like the return of an old friend. A few episodes in and it's like he's never been away. I had my doubts at first about whether his return would work, since Brian Wilde seemed visibly older and thinner than when he'd left. But the spirit and energy is still there and he's as game as ever.

    My viewing is now halfway through Series Fourteen from 1992. In terms of airdate timeline I'm halfway through, but when it comes to episode count I'm quite a way from the halfway point.

    I'm appreciating the changes that have happened over the last five years' worth of episodes. The show now feels like a true ensemble with a fairly large main cast of established characters - both regular and recurring. It's now fairly standard that the main three won't appear in practically every scene, so we've got to know characters like Nora and Ivy in a different way and not just how they interact with Clegg, Compo and their third companion.

    The scenes in Edie's house are the best example of this. We see her in the kitchen, laying down newspaper for Wesley then calling him in with her fake posh "outdoors" accent "Wairslair. Would you step insaird fuh a few mairments plea-uhs?" I've actually met people who do this - consciously or otherwise - when interacting with someone they view as a social superior, or when answering the phone and it's a really nice touch from Roy Clarke and Thora Hird. Invariably she'll give up and slip back into her thick Yorkshire accent, which makes it all the more funny.

    Edie's coffee mornings are perhaps the most telling. Where the premise of the series has always been about the men who've never grown up, there's now a counterbalance in which practically all the women in the cast - Edie, Nora, Ivy, Pearl and congregate to act as a kind of Greek chorus. This set up even comes with its own set of running gags: the women's interest in hearing about Howard and Marina from Pearl; Edie's horror when Glenda shows a passing interest in any matter relating to sex; and the eclair gag, which began with Nora taking the cake Ivy had her eye on and has evolved to give some variations where Pearl or even Glenda will swipe the coveted cake.

    There are also scenes in which the women are driven round in Edie's old Triumph Herald which are always good value for money (Edie's terrible driving is funny by itself. Throw in all these wonderful character actresses and it's pure joy). As I commented in earlier episodes, Roy Clarke writes strong women really well and the series certainly has the best when it comes to the people playing them.
     
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  12. Swami

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    Roy Clarke himself often thought that Edie was a prototype version of Hyacinth Bucket. Keeping Up Appearances gave him the chance to develop those kind of characteristics round a major character.

    Swami
     
  13. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I can see what he means, but I still see Foggy as the Summer Wine character with the most similarities to Hyacinth. It's partly down to Brian Wilde's mannerisms as Foggy - the way he delivers lines... right down to that emphatic nose-wrinkle. But it's also the kind of character he is (grandiose, bossy, controlling, full of big ideas, prone to exaggeration in an attempt to impress) and the way he interacts with others (his superiority and barely concealed intolerance towards the resident scruff; the way others try to get away as he talks about something he thinks they need to know; the other characters' delight at his inevitable downfalls).

    Incidentally, it's a little strange to think that at this point Hyacinth would have been halfway through her own series' run. It makes me wonder if a crossover could have worked. The possibilities are limitless.
     
  14. Swami

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    The Detectives (Jasper Carrot and Robert Powell) was one of the few comedies which brought in actors & characters from other programmes. They brought John Nettles back as Jim Bergerac for instance, so I reckon something on the lines you suggest probably could have worked.

    Swami
     
  15. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Especially since both series were written by Roy Clarke and aired on the BBC.

    I don't feel like I've missed out by not seeing some kind of crossover, but it would have been a fun curio to see Hyacinth taking a break in Holmfirth and spending all her time trying to remove the unsightly Compo from her holiday photos while Foggy was showing Richard how to use the camera as a deadly weapon. Or Elizabeth and Emmet giving Hyacinth and Rose the slip only to stumble into Ivy's café where Marina takes a shine to Emmet and Ivy bellows at Elizabeth not to sit at a certain table, causing her to shake and drop her cup. Onslow and Daisy would knock on what they thought was the door of Hyacinth's holiday cottage only to be confronted with Nora's brush.
     
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  16. Swami

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    Yes, suggestions like that would have been good.

    Swami
     
  17. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't panic! Dad's Army turns 50 with set of stamps

    [​IMG]

    Captain Mainwaring and his comrades are to feature on a new set of stamps to mark the 50th anniversary of the classic TV sitcom Dad's Army.

    The much-loved characters from the BBC comedy of the 1960s and 70s are featured alongside their catchphrases.

    Philip Parker of Royal Mail, hoped they would "raise plenty of smiles".

    Ian Lavender, who played Pte Pike and is the only surviving actor from the series, said it was "overwhelming" to be featured on a stamp.


    [​IMG]

    Cpl Jones, Pte Walker, Pte Frazer and Pte Godfrey also feature in the set of eight stamps - which will be available in post offices from 26 June.

    [​IMG]


    The hit series ran from 1968-77 and followed the antics of a World War Two home guard platoon, defending Walmington-on-Sea against a seemingly imminent Nazi invasion.

    At its height, the programme attracted 18 millions viewers.

    "I didn't believe you could have someone still alive on a stamp apart from the Queen. Being on a stamp is not something you hope for simply because it is so unlikely," Lavender said.

    "You can hope for an OBE or a Bafta - those are things that happen. But to be on a stamp, well it really is so nice. What a lovely surprise."
     
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  18. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    A fitting tribute to a great series.

    Swami
     
  19. Victoriafan3

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    Miranda gets my vote here. Ab Fab, Are you being served and to the manor born were all good comedies too :)
     
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  20. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I've now begun Series Nineteen of Summer Wine. Sadly this means I've now watched every Foggy episode.

    Given the circumstances he was written out as well as possible, though I'd be interested to know how it would have been done had Clarke known the departure was to be permanent.

    Frank Thornton is enjoyable to me wherever he appears, so Truly has softened the blow of losing Foggy. He gives good pomp, so it's easy to see why Brian Wilde suggested him to the powers that be. It's good to see that despite the similarities in personality between Foggy and Truly (and, by extension, Blamire and Seymour), Clarke has made some attempts to give Truly some distinct isms, as he has with all four third men. The somewhat fractious relationship with his ex-wife (wives?) is a joy. I think the moment where Truly clicked with me was during a telephone call to his ex where he commented down the receiver that she was looking better than ever.

    Even so, particularly during scenes featuring the main triad interacting, I have at times I've found myself picturing Wilde delivering some of Truly's lines with a narrowing of his eyes or an emphatic nose wrinkle. He will be greatly missed.

    Over the last series or so it feels like Summer Wine has evolved further. There seem to be fewer scenes featuring the clique of women. While Edie still has her coffee mornings with her inevitable "drink your coffee"s and "she's very young"s, there hasn't been a jaunt in Edie's Triumph Herald for some time. I actually feel the return of Barry hasn't helped with this, since Glenda is in more scenes with him. And while the Barry scenes are fine, I thought he worked even better as an unseen almost mythical figure - someone for Glenda to swoon over and the older women to be suspicious of - than he does in person.

    With Series Nineteen, the show now has cold openings. I'm on the fence with them as I liked being gently immersed into Holmfirth life by the theme music. Speaking of which, the music has been rearranged and sped-up slightly. Not a change for the better.
     

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