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never underestimate the power of nostalgia,
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This review is from: The Magnificent Evans [DVD] (DVD)
True, this is a comedy so gentle that it makes Last of the Summer Wine look like The Wire - not to mention Ronnie Barker's other collaboration with Roy Clarke, Open All Hours. The similarities to OAH are obvious enough: Ronnie Barker playing a big character in a small town; a similar theme, with bassoon instead of cornet or harmonica (perhaps as a nod to that other whimsical Welshman, Ivor the Engine); a creaking floorboard instead of a vicious till; a little sidekick, and a certain special lady Barker has designs on.
So why is it not funny? Perhaps Clarke felt he was spreading his wings by setting it in Wales, but it's possible that the change of setting caused his all-important ear for dialect to fail. More likely, it's because - since Barker happily `lives in sin' with the lady - the characters are already fulfilled and there's nowhere for them to go. Even 25 years ago, being `the only common-law pair in the village' was not enough of a `sit' for a sitcom; it might have worked slightly better if set in the 30s - it feels like that period anyway. Rachel's constant, dishonest insistence that she `has her own apartment, naturally' is meant to be endearing, but is just annoying.
But, Evans tells us, `never underestimate the power of nostalgia'. We all know that nostalgia ain't what it used to be, but for those of us who remember the byways of 80s comedy with affection this is well worth a look. Besides, I reckon a programme being good to fall asleep to is rather a strength than otherwise.