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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for all fans
Written by the man who directed and produced the show for 29 of its 37 years it is very much an inside story.

There have been other books looking at the story of the world's longest running comedy series - but even though good and well researched these were written by people more remote from the actual events so I feel this has an authoritative stamp on...
Published 20 months ago by R T

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Modesty is not exactly Bell's middle name.
I'm sorry to be the only one who [seemingly] thinks poorly of this book !

But I can't help feeling annoyed by Alan JW Bell's attitude toward himself. The book often reads like this:
"Everything went downhill, a lot of mistakes were made, then someone called me and as I joined in, I did not only rescue the production, but the whole BBC, god bless...
Published 2 months ago by R., Christine


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for all fans, 12 Nov 2012
By 
R T "RT of Keighley" (Keighley) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Last of the Summer Wine: From the Director's Chair (Paperback)
Written by the man who directed and produced the show for 29 of its 37 years it is very much an inside story.

There have been other books looking at the story of the world's longest running comedy series - but even though good and well researched these were written by people more remote from the actual events so I feel this has an authoritative stamp on it.

Many amusing incidents and some mishaps along the way show how difficult and potentially dangerous the world of filming could be.

It also portrays some of the politicking that went on in the BBC management which surrounded the shows eventual demise despite being a popular and much loved series and capable of life with developments in the cast. Interestingly it also shows various attempts to portray the series as past it's sell by date at several times.

Personal recollection, some amusing incidents, some sadder ones when stars were ill or frail, and one person's view of the way the BBC is managed.

Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Last of the Summer Wine: From the Director's Chair, 9 Feb 2013
By 
Eileen Roys "sister_eileen" (Kent Island, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Last of the Summer Wine: From the Director's Chair (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book very much and, having read everything possible about LOTSW, this book contained data that I had not encountered elsewhere. My only criticism would be that Mr. Bell seemed overly eager to promote newer characters such as Russ Abbott's Hobbo that, in my opinion were the ruination of the program.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An insight of the last of the summer wine, 24 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Last of the Summer Wine: From the Director's Chair (Paperback)
This book gives the viewer an insight from the directors point of view what happened when HE Alan Bell started filming on last of the summer wine and not at the beginning which it started in 1972. The story is very moving and tells you mostly what the actors felt and how the director handled situations with the actors. If you are a last of the summer wine fan then this book is a must because it shows what the series doesn't, what happened off screen which got me wanting more and more but there was one actor which was missed out which I am not naming which was a disappointing. The Bill Owen section of the book got me in tears. Buy the book it is worth buying.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Insights, 29 May 2013
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This review is from: Last of the Summer Wine: From the Director's Chair (Paperback)
This book is an essential read, going behind the scenes of LotSW over nearly 30 years, telling the highs and lows of a long running series loved by its fans yet maligned by unimaginative critics and apathetic bosses.
It holds no punches, and is a perfect companion to the Andrew Vine book released the other year, with lots more detail about its unceremonious axing.
The only real downside to the book is it could have done with another proof reading, as there are plenty of basic errors. Many open brackets never close, sometimes a title followed by a year (for example Jaws (1988)) is given twice in the same paragraph, and sometimes two nigh on identical sentences follow each other, plus episodes are sometimes given the wrong year.
On the whole, a recommended read for anyone interested in TV directing, especially comedy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read, 26 Dec 2012
By 
Mr. G. Proctor "regentcat" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Last of the Summer Wine: From the Director's Chair (Paperback)
The inside story of BBC Tvs most famous comedy series warts and all. For all Summer wine enthusiasts and followers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Modesty is not exactly Bell's middle name., 15 May 2014
By 
R., Christine - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Last of the Summer Wine: From the Director's Chair (Paperback)
I'm sorry to be the only one who [seemingly] thinks poorly of this book !

But I can't help feeling annoyed by Alan JW Bell's attitude toward himself. The book often reads like this:
"Everything went downhill, a lot of mistakes were made, then someone called me and as I joined in, I did not only rescue the production, but the whole BBC, god bless me..."

All too often, such concoctions develop into an autobiographical work in an attempt to form a distinct picture for posterity.

Bell thinks the world of his Christmas specials, especially "Big day at Dream Acres [1987]" - which actually is one of the dullest, least favoured episodes among fans. Or another one: The episodes starring the "late Sir Norman Wisdom". I tell You what: He was a bit too late for comfort. Read the internet forums if You think I'm wrong.

The truth is, that LOTSW went downhill for all the second half of it's existence, after some 15-odd seasons. Writer Roy Clarke, who ran out of ideas and repeatedly fell into repetitions of his old schemes, AJW Bell, who saw his only chance in letting the cast behave like comic figures, Disney-style, with Barry and Glenda giving the impression of Donald Duck and Daisy, without the three nephews, it was embarrassing to watch at times.

On the plus-side, Bell's book contains many photographs of very mixed quality, more than other publications. If You don't mind some heavy image cultivation by Bell, for god's sake, read on. But if You are looking for independant information, You're much better off with Andrew Vine's book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read., 9 Jan 2014
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I loved the programme and was delighted to read this. I was sorry when the programme ended and this book is a gem; easy to read and very interesting to fans of the show.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice to hear from the 'other side of the camera', 20 Nov 2013
By 
Tin Tactoo "Tin Tactoo" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Last of the Summer Wine: From the Director's Chair (Paperback)
I brought this as I am something of a Summer Wine fan I suppose but having brought assorted books on this programme over the years from basically just writers but not performers or anybody actually involved as such in the making of the show, it was one of those 'can't put it down' type of books that has not quite gripped me this way for years. Alan J Bell the director/Producer tells it warts and all from the back stabbing of the BBC in cancelling it to the assorted stories, comic moments and foibles of the performers involved and its quite an eye opener. I feel sorry in some respects for Alan in the way he was treated when or rather how he was told the series was ending full stop, and as I was reading it assorted stories in the media about the abuse of power and the telephone number pay-off's to staff (non talented but just number jugglers in essence) in the 'executive roles', it gave a whole new understanding as to why the BBC is what it is today. Full marks to Alan for a very readable and entertaining book plus a word for Tomahawk books for once again publishing it as this is another book from their stable that is very readable - their book on Will Hay by Graham Rinaldi is also enlightening and a very heavy book to boot and does not disappoint! - and long may they continue. Grateful thanks to Alan for giving us so many enjoyable moments that are now part of television history, regardless of what the present cardboard cut-outs at the BBC might think. Full marks to both Alan and Tomahawk. 10/10 :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About This Book, 13 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Last of the Summer Wine: From the Director's Chair (Paperback)
Very interesting book. A good read particularly for LOTSWine fans but also as a look at how TV directors work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOTSW is my favorite British show and this book is the tops., 27 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Last of the Summer Wine: From the Director's Chair (Paperback)
Wonderful book. So glad I bought it from UK since I couldn't get it in USA. It has fantastic pics and stories about the stars and their storylines. I love this show so much especially the Compo years and was so glad to finally get the book. It is a great book and you won't go wrong buying it if you're a fan as much as I am.
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Last of the Summer Wine: From the Director's Chair
Last of the Summer Wine: From the Director's Chair by Alan J W Bell (Paperback - 5 Nov 2012)
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