Because it would have been rude not to buy it at the bargain price I found it, I now own the complete boxset of Last Of The Summer Wine. Unsurprisingly, this show has been in the background for my entire life, but I realised I hadn’t really seen much of it, outside of the Sundays of the late 80s. Maybe two series got watched, so that leaves a big gap.
Having watched the first three episodes, I’ve been introduced to the character of Blamire, while Nora Batty, while mentioned in dialogue, hasn’t appeared on screen yet. Compo’s existence as a World War 2 veteran is bleak, and I had forgotten that Sid’s cafe used to contain a Sid. There have been (strangely tasteful) riffs on subjects you wouldn’t expect, they smeared dog shit all over a Lord’s manor, and got totally wrecked in the pub. Not quite the cosy show we all remember. And Compo has not once rolled down a hill in a bath.
When one thinks of the show, the aesthetic is of the rolling vistas of the Yorkshire Dales, or the timeless winding streets of Holmfirth. You might be forgiven for thinking the whole show takes place outside. But what struck me in the episodes I’ve watched so far are the beautiful studio sets. (The show later moved away from TVC, of course).
Take this set for example.
It’s simple, but isn’t it lovely? Equally sparse, but evocative is the library set.
There’s no bookshelves, but the furniture alone is suggestive enough. It’s the bleakness of Sid’s Cafe that strikes me.
Look how dirty and dilapidated it all is.
When the boys go and visit a stately home, you might expect some location filming, or some half-arsed set design, but instead, we get this, teased in a series of shots, and never shown in full.
And then there’s this one, which we do see in its wide, magnificent glory.
No doubt elements of this one have appeared in other BBC shows.
Even the pub, seen a little later, is lovely.
Don’t count the bottles.
And take a look at this church set.
Look at the curved beams and stained glass window. And the floor.
I wondered if it shared some of the same elements from the Porridge episode A Day Out …
… but it really doesn’t. Totally different church.
Let’s continue our journey into the curious parallel world of sitcom based adverts. Today, we’ll look at a long running campaign featuring Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson, which began at the peak of Birds Of Feather‘s first run on the BBC. It was for Surf.
Then it just got dirty.
Meanwhile, Lesley Joseph was channelling Dorien for the now defunct supermarket chain Somerfield.
This supermarket makes your willy bigger.
She’s right. They should have gone with BBC Quirke.
This 70s one, featuring Linda Robson, for Sony, has a really nice conceit.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with ovens in sitcoms this past week. It all started when I noticed how many ovens Arkwright got through in Open All Hours, before I began to wonder if any of those same ovens were used in other BBC shows. Logic would suggest they would have to have been.
I got it into my head that I recognised one as an oven that also appeared in The Young Ones. (No, YOU’VE watched the show too much).
This is the oven from the Bachelor Boys’ first house, in Demolition.
I got quite excited, because it does indeed bear a striking resemblance to one of Arkwright’s, but alas, it’s not the same. It’s most like this one.
But as you can see, the knobs have a different configuration, and it’s a side opening door, not a drop down one.
Once they move house, The Young Ones’ oven then looks like this.
Which is also pretty close to that one above of Arkwright’s. It doesn’t last very long though.
Weirdly, although maybe not considering the world of the show, the replacement oven is exactly the same (although missing one fewer knobs).
It’s a cartoon world, so maybe it’s the same oven. And to save you the bother, I checked every episode of the first series onwards, and it’s the same oven in every one. I’m not sure of the shooting order of the episodes, so it’s possible Oil was shot last, but I doubt it.
By the time series two comes along, Mr Balowski has replaced the oven with one that fits my memory of eighties ovens much better.
So that was that. I was wrong. The Young Ones don’t share an oven with Open All Hours.
But take a look at this one.
That’s from the pilot episode.
I was watching the Christmas Special of Get Some In, which aired in December of 1975, when I saw this.