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.