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2.0 out of 5 stars Modesty is not exactly Bell's middle name., 15 May 2014
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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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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Jun 2014 14:38:28 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Jun 2014 17:58:06 BDT
M. Scott says:
I agree with your analysis, you are not alone! I think it was a slow, steady decline from the mid-Eighties onwards.There honestly didn't seem to be anything original from Roy Clarke, or the production team. Two-dimensional characters, and over the top slapstick repeated ad nauseam. A pity, because the early series, particularly under Sydney Lotterby, were SO much better.

Don't think I'll be buying this book, it doesn't tally with my perception of how the show developed.
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