The BBC have announced the return of classic sitcom Open All Hours to our screens for a one off Christmas special.The show which last aired
The BBC have announced the return of classic sitcom Open All Hours to our screens for a one off Christmas special.The show which last aired back in 1985 followed the lives of Arkwright, a shopkeeper from Doncaster and his nephew Granville.The two characters were portrayed by two of this country’s greatest ever comedy actors: Ronnie Barker and Sir David Jason.
The show created classic characters
Arkwright was a tight, penny snatching old sod that only had eyes for a profit and of course Nurse Gladys Emmanuel whom he chased around like a headless chicken for four series but with little success.
Ronnie Barker portrayed him in a manner only he could and made the miserly old shopkeeper famous for his stammer, something that Granville would always mock. Played by Sir David Jason, the overworked, underpaid and abused shop attendant was always falling a cropper in Arkwright’s half arsed plans to save money or make a quick buck.
Open All Hours entertained millions over the 15 years that it ran and was ranked 8th in a 2004 vote of Britain’s best sitcoms, but could bringing it back to life – nearly thirty years later – harm the legacy that the show created?
‘Fitting tribute’ to Ronnie Barker
The biggest fall is that sadly Ronnie Barker is no longer with us having died back in 2005. The show was arguably all about Barker – who created many of the sitcom’s most loved traits such as the stammer or the malfunctioning till, and without Arkwright stuttering, and complaining or tricking customers the show loses a vital part of its attraction.
Sir David Jason does return to the show as does Lynda Baron who played Nurse Emmanuel and Maggie Ollerenshaw who was best known as Mavis, the woman who couldn’t make her mind up. Granville has inherited the shop from his uncle and the original creator and writer of the show, Roy Clarke will be penning the adventures of Granville without Arkwright looking over his shoulder.
While it’s all good to have original cast members and creator on board, there will be scepticism throughout TV land over whether the show can give the tribute to the legacy of Arkwright that he deserves, the one that Sir David Jason hopes will happen. Sir David said to the BBC: ‘I am sure there is an audience out there who would like to see what Granville has been up to in the corner shop. I’m really excited to be bringing back Open All Hours. It will be a great family show for Christmas and a fitting tribute to the legacy of Arkwright.’
Should they leave alone these once great shows?
We’ve seen it all before with shows returning, those that have failed to live up to expectation (Only Fools and Horses and The Britass Empire being two examples) would have been better left alone after going out on top. And while many will be tuning into see an aged Granville, most will be watching with fear and anticipation of a disaster.
While I hope I’m wrong, I can’t see anything but a nightmare at Christmas for the purpose of bringing the show back from the archive smacks of utter desperation from the BBC and reminds us that greats like Sir David Jason and Ronnie Barker are a dying trade in the modern comic game.