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Ronnie Barker Authorised Biography Paperback – 26 May 2005


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Ronnie Barker Authorised Biography + And It's Goodnight from Him . . .: The Autobiography of the Two Ronnies + David Jason: My Life
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; 1st Paperback Printing edition (26 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563522461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563522461
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Bob McCabe is a respected author and journalist and contributes regularly to film magazines and BBC radio arts programmes. He is the author of several books.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr S Glover on 25 Oct. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Having bought this book a little while ago, I started to read it about 1 week before the legendary Ronnie Barker died. I have always been a fan of his and was keen to know more about his career. The book certainly does explain about Ronnie's upbringing and career, but the writer (Bob McCabe) has a thankfully unique writing style. He repeats lines over and over again (I lost count of the number of times he told us that Clarence was the last sit com Ronnie wrote) and his general style is quite painful at times, especially when describing dialogue. If you want to remember Ronnie - watch some of his old TV programmes or films...don't rely on this biography.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. B. Ager on 19 Jan. 2005
Format: Hardcover
This biography of one of Britain's best loved comic institutions is actually a revised repeat of a glossy, larger-print "coffee table" style book published in 1998, extended to include the various attempts to coax Ronnie out of retirement, his belated success on film, in more serious roles, and the preparations to resurrect The Two Ronnies, after nearly 18 years.
The traditional book format this time means that there are fewer photographs, but apart from that nothing has been left out. Anyone expecting lots of Barker wit and colleagues' anecdotes will be disappointed; this is a fairly straightforward account of his career, from backstage hand in rep in the 50s to retirement in '87 and beyond. It does include words of wisdom, technique and experience from the man himself, and does have a sprinkling of excerpts from songs and sketches that he wrote (including the complete "Fork Handles"). It does also include quotes from his partners from time to time, all generally complimentary.
So there are no revelations of a deprived childhood, or guerilla warfare with landladies, or life-threatening illnesses or accidents, or salacious love affairs to excite a public used to tabloid journalism. Ronnie Barker was and still is a consumate professional with a natural gift to make people laugh and a disinclination to seek unnecessary publicity. This biography reflects all that, and it is the more refreshing for it.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
Badly written and badly edited. The book teaches us nothing about Ronnie Barker except that he's a gifted actor and a lovely fellow; but these things we already knew or we wouldn't be buying the book. There are no interviews with his family so as to protect his private life and most of the lauded contributors comment only on his career, not the man. Indeed, the book as a whole is merely a chronology of his career and more of a biography of each project than of Ronnie himself. The author contradicts himself (his ambition was to be in movies/he was never bothered with movies, he didn't really learn from other actors, just enjoyed being entertained/he watched them and learned from them); the content is jumbled and out of sequence; and many (albeit amusing) anecdotes are squashed in with no point to them. At one point the author lifted a whole block of text from one chapter and repeated it a couple of chapters later (when telling us that the Ronnies upped and offed to Australia for a year). I can, at a stretch, forgive the writer for repeating himself, but this, and many other flaws, should have been picked up and resolved in the editing process.
I've given it an extra star because it included the text of the "Four Candles/Fork Handles sketch" otherwise it's only worthy of one star.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Powners on 2 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought this book in a charity shop. For this I am glad. I would have been gutted if I had paid the full price. Don't misunderstand, I think Ronnie Barker is a genius. I watched the round of drinks sketch the other night and nearly fell off of my chair laughing.
I read a lot of biographies. This, journalistically is probably one of the weakest I have come across. It reads like an overlong CV. Full of repetition and shows no insight into the man himself.
In the words of Arkwright......t t t t t t t terrible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Whilst I can see some of the reservations about this book as noted by other reviewers, I still found it to be an immensely enjoyable read. This book tells us a great deal about Barkers career and not a great deal about the man, but a) his career was so interesting it is still a fascinating read and b) this is how he wanted it when he agreed to an authorized biography. This looks at the various plays, films, radio plays, TV shows and books he was involved in and you soon realise what a busy and prolific artist he was. The fact that he wrote a great many of his sketches via pseudonyms makes it all the more impressive. You also realise how respected he was and appreciate the relationships he built up within the industry, most notably those with Ronnie Corbett and David Jason. This book has two photo plate sections to illustrate the various stories told and it has numerous excerpts from books and scripts dotted throughout. It also has a foreword by David Jason. You come away from this with an idea of the artistic integrity that drove Barker and impressed at how much of his comedy has stood the test of time and holds up to repeated viewings (and readings). All in all this is a fascinating insight into his career, which touches on some aspects of his personal life and you get some idea about the man behind the characters so beloved by the nation.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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