The Young Ovens

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.

It’s not the same one either.

Sorry for wasting your time.

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.

Pause To The People

I don’t like to link to full episodes of shows that are commercially available, but have a look at this really odd moment from Citizen Smith.

What just happened?

This is episode four of series three (Tofkin’s Revenge), which aired on 11th October, 1979. Now, I know that sometimes changes are made for the DVD, due to licencing reasons, and sometimes for taste reasons, so I don’t know if this is how the episode originally went out.

That pause and drop of audio could be a tape issue I suppose.

It looks to me like something has been excised, rather clumsily, with a laugh used to mask it.

Anyone have any more details about this?

The Fall & Rise Of The Camera In The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin’s Titles

Not sure why my mind is being drawn to such little details this week, but here’s the opening titles to The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin, a BBC sitcom, written by David Nobbs.

Not the best of quality, but it will do …

So, after Reggie gets his kecks off, and runs down the slope, the camera ‘falls’ and then ‘rises’ again. This feels like an unmotivated camera movement to me, though thematically it makes sense. It just doesn’t feel quite right.

The more I watched it, the more I was convinced it was serving another purpose. It’s not a thematic move, it’s a necessary one. And sure enough, at the 15 second mark, you can see what’s being done.

As Leonard Rossiter disappears, another head pops up, in slightly the wrong place. That’s obviously the real person who goes swimming out in the cold water.

Or maybe I am imagining things.

What do you think?

Hyacinth & Seinfeld

Keeping Up Appearances is a sitcom written by Roy Clarke for BBC One, starring Patricia Routledge, which ran for five series between 1990 and 1995. But you knew that already. You may not know that it is still one of the BBC’s most exported shows worldwide.

Routledge demonstrated time and again her physical comedy prowess. Count the laughs she gets from this three minute masterclass.

More than a catchphrase …

But I didn’t bring you here to talk about such weighty things. I bought you here to talk about Hyacinth’s choice of breakfast cereal.

She wears the same dress a lot for a woman obsessed with appearances …

Grape Nuts?

What are Grape Nuts?

Apparently they were available in the 90s, and still are today, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who ate them in Britain … not even Richard does by the looks of it. They’re made by Post, which appears to have been blanked out on the box in the shot.

Wonder why Grape Nuts?

But I’ve had a nagging feeling about Grape Nuts since seeing that shot, like I had heard of them before …

… then I remembered this.

What’s the deal with Grape Nuts?

It seems Hyacinth was a fan of Seinfeld when he was on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1985. Or perhaps her love of them dates back to Andy Griffiths.