4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4 Candles, ...Sorry, 4 stars for Autobiography of 2 Stars of Comedy,
This review is from: And It's Goodnight from Him . . .: The Autobiography of the Two Ronnies (Paperback)
This is a wonderfully entertaining look at the lives of 2 legends of British comedy and both their working and personal relationships with each other. The book gives a short autobiographical introduction to both Ronnies and cleverly describes how their partnership ticked.
Ronnie Corbett is modest, and open about what he sees as his lesser talent compared the late Ronnie Barker; he is, in fact, too modest - it is hard too see how Barker could have been as funny with any other partner plus Corbett's monologues are superb.
Corbett's assertion is that the 2 Ronnies' similar upper-working/ lower middle class background and the fact that neither one studied at University meant they had a different approach from the Oxbridge or "Gifted Amateur" approach of Cook/Moore or the Pythons: both Ronnies were experienced performers before they even reached TV. As Corbett points in this book the Oxbridge performers could have returned to medicine, teaching, etc.... if their careers stalled but the Ronnies had no such luxury. This maturity and professionalism meant they could accept collaborative working styles and this explained their longevity as a double act as they were both mature enough to respect the other. (Compare this with Pete'N' Dud who were ready to throttle each other within a few years.)
They had an "open marriage" of a partnership: they weren't jealous of each other's outside projects. Also, we read of how they had very different personalities- Corbett:, extrovert, a performer; Barker: private, shy, a writer as well as actor. This book is a tribute to Barker and there is genuine warmth in Corbett's recalling of the tributes made to the retired Barker that re-ignited his desire to perform that was one of the reasons that lead to the reuniting of the pair.
Touchingly we read of how Barker's declining health lead to both his premature retirement and, ironically, perhaps another reason to come back for the "Sketchbook" series as he knew his time was short.
There only a few minor quibbles I could make; I think Barker & Corbett over-reacted to a "Not the Nine O'Clock News" parody of them and their seaside postcard humour and why do need a bit of comtemporary history to precis the scene every few chapters?
Overall, a warm, generous and thoughtful book in an age of spiteful, cash-in biographies.