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on 12 October 2006
(I am sure there are some people out there who will get the reference above.)

I was deeply privileged to be allowed to read the manuscript for this wonderful autobiography due to my job in publishing. From the moment I heard about this book at a conference months and months ago, I was just itching to get my hands on it. I was not disappointed in any way!

I have fond memories of my childhood, visiting my grandparent's home and sitting by the fire in my pyjamas and dressing gown watching episodes of 'The Two Ronnies'.

Both Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett were icons to me, not just because of their performances as comedy geniuses, but also because of their warmth and genuine personalities which shone through their bespectacled faces.

In 2005, I was heartbroken to hear the news of Ronnie Barker's death as though a member of my own family had passed away. (My grandfather also passed away that year and I will always have the two men intrinsically linked in my mind.)

Ronnie Corbett's deeply affectionate biography is an insightful, emotional and genuinely funny portrait of two of the most remarkable men in British comedy. Beautifully constructed, the story takes us from their humble beginnings through the remarkable coincidences of their early lives before they even met, onto the success of their time on 'The Frost Report' which eventually led to one of the longest running comedy series in television history, the eponymously titled 'The Two Ronnies'.

For anyone who has had an affection for these two fine gentlemen of comedy, you cannot be unmoved by the chapters concerning Ronnie Barker's illness and eventual passing. I had tears in my eyes as Mr Corbett tells us of the memorial service and the tributes from their peers and friends.

This wonderfully frank volume is essential reading for any fan of British comedy and anyone who would like to know more about the comedy geniuses who are Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker.

This beautifully presented hardback book is illustrated with photographs, both black & white and colour.
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VINE VOICEon 10 October 2006
You can't be in your thirties and above and not have a special place for the Two Ronnies in your heart. This is a perfect book for a trip down memory lane and some fascinating insights in to the process that went in to making the show, and how it fitted in to the rest of the two stars' lives.

The book is frequently very funny with some key scripts given in full, and Corbett manages to slip in a few typical meandering stories. It helps that you can't read it without hearing his distinctive Scottish voice.

If I had a criticism it would be that there is the occasional use of a bad pun here and there, and it could have done with some tighter editing as some of the sentences are a bit clumsy (not unlike this one!) It's not particularly deep and could be seen as just a sequence of anecdotes, but I don't think the hard-hitting psychoanalysis is required here - look elsewhere if you want that.

I read this in the space of a couple of 90-minute train journeys. It's a magnificent way of remembering a great double act and a fitting tribute to Ronnie Barker, a much-missed comic actor.
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on 1 August 2007
Having read the Bob Mccabe biography of Ronnie Barker, it seemed only fair to check out Mr Corbett's bio also.

The pace of RC's book is much slower, gentler than that of the RB book, but it still provides a rich and colourful description of his early family life, his break into the world of media, his signing with David Frost, working with Cleese, Palin and others and obviously his teaming up with the marvellous Ronnie Barker.

As you would expect, there are anecdotal passages featuring other celebrities (and a useful index to boot) but mostly its Ronnie simply sharing his thoughts, decisions and experiences at various junctions in his life. At times, Ronnie seems compelled to take the narrative off into his famous meandering sequences (like those on the big chair in the Two Ronnies) but he soon makes his way back to the point, none the worse for wear!

I was surprised how much detail Ronnie spoke of his friend Barker, happily retelling some of the stories I'd already seen in RB's biograpy although adding his own unique perspective. It felt like Ronnie was still very happy to share the limelight with his friend even in his own biography. The friendship and devotion of this unique partnership and their obvious devotion to their art shines through. I found Ronnie's description of the death of his friend poignant and touching but without becoming gloomy or overly sentimental.

My only disappointment was that Ronnie didnt touch on his most recent exploits (his appearance in Extras for example) but this may have been after the book was written.

All in all, the book is an fun, interesting and enjoyable read for those wanting to know more about Mr Corbett and expecially the workings of the Two Ronnies. But it's also a very fine and warm tribute to Ronnie Barker and the affection still felt by RC for RB is lovely to read.
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on 4 November 2008
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.
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Just as Ant & Dec are now the faces of Saturday night TV back in the 70's and 80's that role fell upon a slightly older partnership, The Two Ronnies.
The Two Ronnies shows set the benchmark in TV comedy that as subsequently never been bettered or even equalled. Although they both looked like most peoples idea of kindly uncles their shows were brimming with a mixture of saucy seaside postcard like humour, subtle and unsubtle wordplay (of which Ronnie Barker was a master) and funny musical skits, all or some of which could be relied to appeal to both young and old alike.
This book is the story of the Two Ronnies and is an affectionate remininiscence of the series, and is a gentle and undemanding read.
Although this book is subtitled 'The Autobiography of the Two Ronnies' don't expect any scandal or the releasing of skeletons in closets. This isn't that type of book, and I suspect the people to who it will appeal wouldn't want to read anything like that anyway.
It is clear from this book that both Ronnies were thoroughly decent and unspoilt characters and the high regard in which they held each other is plain to see.
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on 1 January 2008
This book gave an insight into Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett and I enjoyed the book.

Ronnie Corbett goes on to tell us that he worked at a club and then he was involved with the Frost Report and that is how he met Ronnie Barker.

What I liked about this book is that some sketches that they had done in the Two Ronnies were there in the book to read so as I read I could imagine what went on as I have seen the sketches on TV particularly The Four Candles Sketch. Also in the book was the Upper Class Sketch where the Two Ronnies were standing on boxes alongside John Cleese.

It was interesting to read about how much time and effort was put into the making of The Two Ronnies and its surprising because we the readers do not know about Behind the Scenes work involved in the programme.

I wasn't keen when the locations were mentioned and I think this is because I wasn't sure where the actual places were.

On the whole I think this is a very good book and I think that if Ronnie Barker were alive today he would have been very pleased with Ronnie Corbett's efforts because they worked brilliantly as a team.

Anybody who is a fan of The Two Ronnies, this is the book for you and you won't be disappointed.
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on 27 February 2014
Oddly the assistance of the comedy writer David Nobbs, is acknowledged on the inside back flap, but not on the cover of this book. Whether that was at his request, or whether Corbett was unwilling to share top billing is unknown. The doubt is raised because Nobbs is a very funny writer, and the book is not. The anecdotes are limp, and clumsily told.
Corbett is generous in his praise of Barker, but other fellow actors are half heartedly complimented, and on every occasion one has the sneaking suspicion that Corbett always thought himself better than everyone he worked with. At one point he says about Barker “Ronnie’s career was full of highlights, but nobody can avoid a few disappointments along the way.” He then lists roles in which he feels Barker failed; a mean spirited thing to do to the other half of a double act when that half is safely dead. Self-congratulation is a major theme – the length of the partnership with Barker, the durability of his marriage to Joy, the award of an OBE, are all referred to repeatedly.
Extracts of some sketches are presented in script form, and, by and large, these provide what entertainment there is to be had from this book. Elsewhere a collection of the best of the scripts has been published, and that would be a better reminder of how funny the Two Ronnies were than “And it’s goodnight from him”.
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on 25 January 2015
I would recommend this book to all ages. Despite being from a bygone golden age of family entertainment, the material of the 2 Ronnnies is timeless, genial and influential. A very modest yet honest account of an unforgettable partnership as yet unequalled to this day despite numerous attempts. Enjoy!
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on 22 March 2007
I didn't really like the Two Ronnies when I was a kid - I was probably too young to appreciate the wordplay and double entendre - and I found the musical umbers boring. However, whenever I see re runs, I find them refreshing and a wonderful reminder of how TV (and computer games and everything else) used to be.

Whilst searching for a DVD of their silent magnum opus, By the Sea, I came across this book, written shortly after Ronnie Barker's death. It is a lovely easy read, written as though it was a Ronnie Corbett rambling monologue, with jokes and bad puns thrown in. Some of their routines are reproduced here in full. Whilst it may not be laugh out loud funny, it is impossible not to be carried along by Ronnie C's affectionate memories of Ronnie B and be moved by the depth of their friendship which lasted over four decades.
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on 15 February 2015
Entertaining, to a degree. Very generous to Ronnie Barker, and to other entertainers, but clearly loves himself inordinately. But then I think this is to be expected. Self conscious about his height, but then again, that is to be expected. Any showbusiness autobiography is bound to be overwhelmingly self laudatory.
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