Oven All Hours

I know the internet is full of articles about the ovens in Open All Hours, and that adding anything to the discourse is almost, if not completely impossible. Nonetheless, let’s have a look at the ovens in the backroom of Arkwright’s.

We first get a glimpse into the inner workings of the shop in the pilot episode from 1973. This is our first chance to examine Arkwright’s oven.

It’s an unassuming affair, with that nice rack at the top for warming plates, and some lovely chunky knobs, and a rather slim looking grill. And there’s a knob lower down for the oven itself.

When we next visit the shop, in the first full series, it’s 1976.

Look at that. A big cast iron behemoth. That’s a bit of a step backwards for the kitchen. Maybe the first one broke down, and penny-pinching Arkwright went and bought one from the scrap dealer, making Granville bring it home on his bike.

Come series two, and it’s 1981.

It looks a lot like the one from 1976, I’ll grant you, but it’s not the same one. There’s no row of knobs across the top, even if it does still have that useless looking slimline grill. Arkwright’s not having much luck with his ovens if he’s got through three in six years. That’s an oven every two years.

Just one year later now.

What’s this? Another one entirely. The grill is on the top now, and the chunky knobs are in a completely different alignment again. Just what is Arkwright doing to his ovens?

Come 1985 …

Gone are the lovely chunky knobs, in favour of a top oven grill combination, and what looks like a pull down main oven door.

I’m willing to bet that all of these ovens have appeared in other BBC shows. Let me know if you spot one.

Ads You Being Served?

At the time of the Are You Being Served? sequel sitcom Grace & Favour, Harp made this advert.

And at the height of the original series, Heinz used Mollie for this campaign.

And used John Inman’s voice to push the point home. Mollie also appeared in this one for Morrison’s.

Frank Thornton meanwhile, was being put to more public service use, in this information film that could easily be the inspiration for that Morrison’s ad.

That’s not to say Mr Thornton was above selling us things like cigars.

Or ice cream bars (which actually look delicious).

Or tea.

Meanwhile Trevor Bannister was flogging us cars.

And crisps.

The CGI in that one is terrible.

It’s An Advert Penelope

Here’s an advert with Penelope Keith, before she came to public prominence.

A few years later, and just as The Good Life was hitting the heights of the ratings, she appeared in this one for Parker Pens, which has so much wrong with it the list would take too much time.

Interestingly, it’s not really playing to The Good Life vibe. Nor is this next one, for Heinz.


And it’s not until this 90s one that The Good Life gets channelled. And even then, wrongly. Felicity Kendall should have been digging up that pumpkin, surely?

Now this one’s confusing, because it seems to be playing off of To The Manor Born (sort of), but for some reason it also stars Nigel Hawthorne and Tom Conti. Anyone?

Ever Decreasing Commercials

Here’s fun. This is an advert for the new 1985 Ford Sierra, featuring Richard Briers. See if you can spot the moments that tickled me.

He’s called Mr Wilton.

In this reality, Richard Briers is called Robert, and he’s probably married to Penelope Wilton. If you haven’t seen Ever Decreasing Circles, this may interest you less than it did me.

Aside from the sultry Gold Blend couple, Nescafe also ran a more homely series of ads, mostly starring Gareth Hunt, with Una Stubbs, and many more.

Sarah Greene joined in the fun later, and luckily she always carried a handful of coffee beans around with her at this time.

But what we’re getting to is the postscript of this campaign, which featured Briers and Wilton, at the height of Ever Decreasing Circle’s popularity.

Aww, he didn’t get to do the wanking bit.

They returned a couple of years later, still with the onanism motif.

Lovely to see the telephone is the right way round.