The never ending bottle
Monday, March 27, 2006 by Chris Orton
And so the final dregs have still be to be drained from the vessel containing the Last of the Summer Wine. Tuning in last night for the first time in a while it is refreshing to see little has changed for the old men of the Dales. It is quite incredible to think the show has been running for well over 30 years now, especially considering it was last really funny in about 1984 during the Compo, Clegg and Foggy golden age.
In contrast to a simple trio of characters, these days the programme appears to be some kind of retirement home for elderly sitcom actors, with refugees from George and Mildred, Terry and June, Are You Being Served? and Keeping Up Appearances now making up the numbers.
Howard still hasn’t managed to get away from Pearl, Barry is still failing to impress the golf club captain, the women stilldiscuss the faults of men and madcap schemes still prevail. This week the familiar bathtub down a hillside or falling off a ladder routines had been abandoned in favour of a plan to have a fry-up in the woods. Something to do with Robin Hood apparently.
Last of the Summer Wine is now being filmed in high definition, which makes it quite surprising to see that Alan JW Bell and co are still happy to use the extremely ropey-looking chromakey method to show characters travelling in cars.
Still, it’s no good complaining. While it remains able to draw a respectable Sunday teatime audience, and as long as the cast and Roy Clarke are still able, the BBC will most likely keep making it.
Good news folks – the next series is already in production…