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  1. #1
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    Default Si Hunt Takes Down "Open All Hours"

    This has got to be the most over-rated and depressing sitcom of all time. The best thing about it is Ronnie Barkers versatility; it's impossible to watch it and believe it's the same man who played Fletch in "Porridge".

    However, the new character is actually just a dirty old man, letching over Nurse Gladys while being too tight to be of any good to her. What's more, all the episodes take place in a cramped, depressing little shop. I saw one the other day where the main plot "point" was that Arkright had set up a new shelf (I do not jest) in the middle of his shop. For one memorable joke, he pointed out a leek on it. The audience seemingly howled at this, presumably something to do with the leek being floppy. I didn't get it.

    It's such a dreary old show though isn't it? Every episode ends with a slit-your-wrists monologue as the sad old man stands outside his miserable, streetlamp-light shop and closes it for another day.

    Let's remember that this is by Roy Clarke, the man who later gave us "Keeping Up Appearances" and "Last of the Summer Wine".

    It's seen as some kind of classic, but really given the writers other works and the complete inability of anyone to actually name any funny scenes or lines from it, that's got to be worth challenging hasn't it?

    Si.

  2. #2
    Pip Madeley Guest

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    *hides the three DVDs of it that arrived in the post today*


  3. #3
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    You stupid fool!

    Si.

  4. #4
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    Is hope this is just the first in the "Si Hunt Takes Down..." series!?

  5. #5
    Wayne Guest

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    Despite the obvious talent of Ronnie Barker & the fact that 'Porridge' (along with 'Rising Damp') is possibly my favourite sit-com of all time, i've never been able to get into it either. It's just not very funny, IMO. Even 'Going Straight' is preferable, & that's fairly weak.

  6. #6
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    If the pilot is a hit, I could take down lots more things in the weeks, months and even years to come.

    Si.

  7. #7
    Pip Madeley Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Si Hunt View Post
    You stupid fool!

    Si.
    They were cheap, I was weak!

  8. #8
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    I never really found it very funny either, and they never seem to get away from the shop. I know that sounds a bit silly, since you could say 'Well...they never got out of the prison in Porridge!', but I don't think the shop setting is very interesting, and every episodes just seems the same.

  9. #9

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    I like it. I don't go mad for it, but it's amusing enough to watch when you're bored. About on a par with "Only Fools..." for me.

  10. #10
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    Sacriledge!

    I think Penny has absolutely nailed it on the bloody head this time.

    Si.

  11. #11
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    they never seem to get away from the shop. I know that sounds a bit silly, since you could say 'Well...they never got out of the prison in Porridge!'

    True, but within that setting were a variety of plots. Open All Hours all seems to be very samey. Still, it's one of those shows that I'll watch if there's nothing else on and I have nothing else to do, but I won't make an effort to watch it.

    And actually they did get out of the prison in Porridge, in the episode 'A Day Out', and Fletcher got out for a weekend in 'Men Without Women'.
    Last edited by Jason Thompson; 1st Dec 2006 at 4:56 PM.

  12. #12
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    I'm in a large club here it seems. I've never seen the appeal of Open All Hours, it's meant to be a comedy but it comes across as dreary and depressing. Not a good sign really.

  13. #13
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    Much as I hope that "Si Hunt Takes Down..." becomes a regular, I can't agree with his choice of target. I love "Open All Hours", but probably for all the reasons most people hate it. I once said to a friend that it's appeal is that NOTHING happens. True, most episodes have a sort of vague plot to justify the show's existence, but the charm and the appeal is simply in the interaction of Arkwright and Granville. No, you couldn't nowadays pitch a show in which the main character stammers and lusts after the big-breasted nurse across the road, but it is in a sense a period piece. "Last of the Summer Wine" in its heyday was better, but has gone on just w-a-y too long (I mean, crikey, it's older than most of us!) but OAH never got the chance to get old, because they made so very few of them.

    The sense of routine, with each episode starting in the dark as the shop opens, and ends as Arkwright shuts up shop and mulls over life on the doorstep, gives it a structure, and a familiarity. Plus the theme music is gorgeous.

    Mind you, it also reminds me of a shop down the road from us when I was a kid, so perhaps the root of my love is simply misplaced-nostalgia.

  14. #14
    Pip Madeley Guest

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    Anything with David Jason and Ronnie Barker in the same show is hardly depressing, I'd say. It's a lovely comedy. Well written, great characterisation, witty dialogue and physical comedy hand in hand... it's a cosy comedy you can sit down with for half an hour, and just let it flow over you.

  15. #15
    Dave Lewis Guest

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    I thought I'd be in a minority thinking it was utter crap - I can't remember finding a single second of it even remotely funny. It also has an unpleasant childhood association that I can't quite put my finger on... was it shown on a Sunday night, with school looming the following morning?

    I look forward to Si Hunt Takes Down "His Trousers"...

  16. #16
    Captain Tancredi Guest

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    The only thing that I don't particularly like about it is that the leads are three Home Counties types playing Yorkshire. I suspect that some of the humour does come out of characters and turns of phrase, and some of the incidental characters like the Widow Featherstone and Indecisive Mavis. Possibly you could argue that Roy Clarke hadn't quite found his form, but much of it is very enjoyable gentle Yorkshire humour.

  17. #17
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    Just to say, I like the 'link' on the front page - nice touch, Pip!

  18. #18
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    Well done to people defending it - part of the reason for this thread was really to try and understand what people liked about it.
    Anything with David Jason and Ronnie Barker in the same show is hardly depressing, I'd say.
    However, I think you've summed up why I think it's a misplaced classic Pip - it seems to me that because it was made in the seventies, and had Ronnie Barker and David Jason in, people tend to say it's a classic - and this is arguably before Jason had hit his stride as a comedy actor anyway.

    Si.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lewis View Post
    I look forward to Si Hunt Takes Down "His Trousers"...
    I expect much better from you Mr. Lewis!




    Even I managed to resist using that line way back in post #4...







    it made it to the "Preview Post" stage, though.

  20. #20
    Dave Lewis Guest

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    I weep milky tears of shame....


  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lewis View Post
    I weep milky tears of shame....

    I'm ashamed that I didn't go for "the obvious reply" in my last post:



    Si Hunt Takes Down "His Trousers"... would be so awesome and cool. I look forward to its release.


    I now share your milky tears...


  22. #22
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    Oh I don't know, I'm not a big fan by any means, but I think it can be quite sweet sometimes, one episode I saw recently had David Jason's character being looked after by lots of women, just because he was sad about being single, and he just used it as an excuse to bury his head in their bosoms.

    Ahem. Maybe sweet wasn't the right word. But they did manage to carry it off without it seeming pervy or silly, anyhow.

    I think Ronnie Barker's delivery of what would normally be okay lines rise it above the average 70's sitcom too, and though there is that slightly melancholy feel to some episodes, it's that sort of melancholy you don't always mind...like listening to love songs when you're single, on a wet and windy night, with just a candle burning in the corner of the room as you wryly occasionally smile...Or something like that, anyway.

    Btw, I like the idea of a series of pieces like this too! Just don't pick on anything by Chris Morris or I might get ranty!
    Last edited by Alex; 2nd Dec 2006 at 11:43 AM.
    "RIP Henchman No.24."

  23. #23

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    While I do have fond memories of some episodes in the early 80s, I must admit to finding it a rather disturbing and unpleasant programme by implication. I know a lot of british sitcoms have dealt with characters being held back by fate and wishing in vain that they could improve their lot, but here we have someone who was deliberately prevented from sitting their exams at school by their uncle so that he could have no chance of going on to find a better job or way of living. He's effectively been forced to eke out his days doing work he hates and finds humiliating (esp. the pinny, which seems to be partly a symbol of his resentment at being unable to escape that life) by an uncle who seems to care nothing for him, thinks he's a good-for-nothing idot, and has little compunction about bullying and abusing him.

    I'll be honest, I really REALLY hated Arkwright as a kid, and was always pleased when an episode ended up humiliating him. It gets particularly horrible in the last series when he seems to become more of a control freak than ever, determinedly stopping Granville get any chance of even a decent relationship with any women by telling them all kinds of lies to put them off. He (Arkwright) just wants someone to feel superior to, imo, and Granville fits that bill.

    I don't know...it's Norman Bates stuff, I tell you...since the series ended, I bet Granville's now living alone in the building, the shop having closed years ago, with Arkwright's murdered corpse sitting on a chair in the cellar...

  24. #24

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    Although it occurs to me now that my reading (and it is only a reading admittedly...someone else could easily see it differently) of it makes it sound a bit like Steptoe And Son. Although I think I minded it less with Steptoe, because Harold always came over as much more aggressive and better able to look after himself.

  25. #25
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    I'm afraid the 'head in the bosoms' humour Alex cites is a point to the prosecution, rather than the defence. This kind of sub-Carry On smutty gag, whereby the writer expects us to laugh at something which is basically just lewd and sexually exploititive, is the sort of stuff Clarke still peddles, except today everyone ignores him. It's sexual titilation that it's okay for pensioners to watch, because it's slightly underhand and can therefore be excused as something else.

    Si.

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