Anyone who has ever watched Keeping Up Appearances or The Last of the Summer Wine will be familiar with the comedy of Roy Clarke, and anyone who has enjoyed either of these two comedies will most certainly enjoy Open All Hours.
The boxed set contains three videos with three 30-minute episodes each for a total of nine episodes, which include "Laundry Blues," "Shedding at the Wedding," and "The Ginger Men." The television series, which originally ran to 25 episodes, was written for and stars Ronnie Barker (Porridge, The Two Ronnies) as the miserly, stuttering Arkwright, owner of a corner store. The series also stars David Jason (A Touch of Frost, The Darling Buds of May, Only Fools and Horses) as Granville, Arkwright's half-Hungarian ("the bottom half") nephew and shop assistant. Stephanie Cole (Waiting for God's Diana Trent) and Kathy Staff (Summer Wine's Nora Batty) make guest appearances as customers in a few episodes.
Those who have enjoyed the antics of avaricious Antie Wainwright, owner of the second-hand shop on Summer Wine, will surely enjoy the character of Arkwright. The ploys he comes up with to attract passers-by into his shop, not to mention his methods for moving immovable merchandise, are very original and very funny indeed. As for Arkwright's stutter, there are times when it is simply hilarious.
There is more to the show than merely the running of the shop, as Arkwright is afianced to the "Nurse Gladys Emmanuel," who seems to occupy almost as much of his thoughts as turning a profit, while Granville would do nearly anything just to have a love life period. Typical of Roy Clarke, however, this is first and foremost character comedy. It's what Clarke does best and it's all the better for being so consumately acted. Although Arkwright is a very different character from Hyacinth Bucket, Open All Hours is, in my opinion, every bit as funny as Keeping Up Appearances.
In short, this is a thoroughly enjoyable comedy. Recommended to anyone who enjoys British comedy in general, and especially to those who enjoy either Keeping Up Appearances or Summer Wine. It's definitely one to watch over and over again!