||OPEN ALL HOURS
Miserly shopkeeper and his hapless nephew run a small business.
"Granville - fer-fetch your cloth!"
26 episodes of 30 minute duration. BBC 1973 (Pilot). 1976 - 1985 (Series).
One of two tales from 'Seven of One,' the collection of single comedies that was spun-off into a full series (the other was 'Porridge') starring Ronnie Barker, in this case playing the part of stuttering Yorkshire shop-keeper, Arkwright. The show only received modest ratings on its first showing on BBC2, but a subsequent repeat run on BBC1 took it straight to the top of the charts.
Penned by former schoolteacher and corner-shop worker Roy Clarke, who had also utilised his experience as a policeman to write the comedy series 'Rosie,' 'Open All Hours' was another of Barker's finest comedy half hours as the mean, penny-pinching corner shopkeeper who, in between hoodwinking his customers and bullying his nephew/assistant, Granville, lusted after the buxom nurse Gladys Emmanuel. Had Barker relied solely on Arkwright's stutter for laughs the BBC would no doubt had been deluged by complaints. But this was only one facet of a well-rounded comedy character that employed physical as well as verbal humour, not least of all in his attempts to place money in the shop's till, which, when closed would snap shut with all the ferocity and speed of a hungry killer shark's jaw, symbolically reflecting the character of its user, who would stoop to whatever level necessary in order to save money, whilst divesting others of their own hard earned cash.
Equally adept at both verbal and physical comedy was Barker's co-star, the talented David Jason, as Granville -the nephew of questionable parentage (at least on his father's side), who was resigned to a life devoid of the excitement, foreign travel and romantic relationships that he so longed for (although there was a brief romance with the milkwoman (Barbara Flynn). Making up the quartet of regulars was Lynda Baron (Sheila Brennan in the pilot), as the district nurse who lived opposite and tended after her sick mother (who was oft mentioned but never seen), whilst fighting off the (not always unwanted) attentions of Arkwright. Although their relationship was never consummated, there was always the suggestion that given the right circumstances...
External shots for the series were filmed outside a corner shop in Lister Avenue, Doncaster and the premises was actually a hairdressing salon given a make-over by BBC designers.
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