Running from 25 March 1973 to 6 October 1985
Key Cast List:
|Ronnie Barker||Albert Arkwright|
|Lynda Baron||Nurse Gladys Emmanuel|
TWO OF BRITAIN’S BEST LOVED comedy actors were cast alongside each other in the highly successful sitcom, Open All Hours. Ronnie Barker and David Jason were back together for the first time since working on the set of Porridge.
With their previous work together, they had already developed a strong bond, giving their double act a chance blossom. Both actors have enjoyed major achievements in British comedy and they showed their quality once again to the nation in one of Britain’s all-time best sitcoms.
Without a shadow of doubt, Barker and Jason are my favourite heroes of comedy as their portrayal of characters is simply unique and magical. In Open All Hours the two characters Arkwright and Granville were played to perfection and have cemented themselves as heroes of comedy.
The show couldn’t have worked without the superb Barker but David Jason’s portrayal of Granville was just as special, a young man who is pining for love, glamour and exotic encounters in life.
My first real memories of the show were when I was around 12 years-old. On Sunday evenings after completing my homework and having a bath, I would retreat downstairs to watch the sitcom on UK Gold before I’d go to bed. This was my set routine on a Sunday evening for weeks on end.
Writer of Open All Hours; Roy Clarke who had already wrote the Yorkshire-based Sitcom called Last of the Summer Wine, used to work in a corner shop and realised its potential as a setting for a comedy.
Ronnie Barker had already become well-known for his role in Porridge as ‘Norman Stanley Fletcher’ but transformed himself yet again to play the corner-shop owner, Arkwright. He is always on the lookout to make a quick sale but his main aim is to acquire the love of his neighbour, Nurse Gladys Emmanuel, at the same time being a father figure to his nephew and shop assistant, Granville.
The two stars of the show were brilliantly supported throughout the duration of the show by Nurse Gladys, who had the patience of a saint. She has to put up with sexual advances from Arkwright but is more concerned with the health of his nephew. The excellent writing from Clarke always leaves the faintest hint of hope for Arkwright in the air, that one day, something could be in the stars.
If it’s one thing that Open All Hours will be remembered for its Arkwright’s stutter; which was always convincing and excellently judged for maximum comic effect. Likewise, his deadly till with a very sharp and quick spring intimidated both Arkwright and Granville. These among with many other aspects will ensure that the sitcom will be loved by the audiences for years to come.
These aside, my most favourite remembrance is when Nurse Gladys tells Arkwright she won’t go out with him unless he buys a van for the shops delivers; which would make it easier for Granville. He reluctantly goes ahead a purchases several vans in order to meet her approval, then thinking he can have some fun and games with her in the back of the van up a dark county lane.
Written by Roy Clarke
Broadcast on BBC2 then BBC1