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Worth it for Fletcher
on 24 November 2005
Seven Of One: This must be a show to go down in history, purely because it sparked Porridge and Open All Hours. Effectively a series of 7 pilots, with possibilities for further series with each episode, Ronnie plays 7 completely different characters with perfect ease.
Porridge: Clearly one of the greatest comedies of all time. Fletcher captured our hearts with Ronnie Barker's terrific acting abilities, and his talent for bringing a monotonous situation to life. Excellent writing, excellent acting, excellent direction. Excellent.
Going Straight: Oft overlooked, I find this to be almost on a par with Porridge; it is to me a fourth series of Porridge, just in a different setting. Richard Beckinsale heads up a spectacular backing cast for Ronnie, who gives his level best again.
Open All Hours: Ronnie's second most famous piece, discounting the Two Ronnies, I have never liked this anywhere near as much as Porridge, but the shop holds some truly fabulous moments, characters, and catchphrases.
The Magnificent Evans: He's Welsh now, and he slips into this new role with perfect ease, and it's hard to believe he could be so different to Fletcher and Arkwright.
Clarence: Now he's blind. Not as funny as it might have been, but some moments in Episode 4 will surely have you rolling about with laughter.
What's missing? Not a lot. I would've liked to see the "Ronnie Barker Yearbook", one of the shows which began his path to glory, and I would have liked to see that "Fletcher: Beyond The Box" thing from a couple of years ago, where some reporters visit the characters from Porridge and see what they made of their lives. There's one brilliant moment when the illiterate Warren is being interviewed while painting a "SCHOOL-NO STOPPING" sign on the road. He seems a bit worried, and calls off to say "How many Os are there in school?" He gets the reply "Two", says "Oh, that's a relief", and the camera pans down to see "SKOOL-NO STOPPING".
Anyway, here's hoping they do a comprehensive Two Ronnies Boxset soon.