It was always going to be a risk, bringing back a national treasure such as Open All Hours without the national treasure who made it what it was, Ronnie Barker. The risk sadly didn’t pa
It was always going to be a risk, bringing back a national treasure such as Open All Hours without the national treasure who made it what it was, Ronnie Barker. The risk sadly didn’t pay off and instead this half-hour Boxing Day special felt lost, unorganised and very aw-aw-awkward.
Sir David Jason tried his best and there were some laughs but the script simply didn’t harness the jokes of the 1970s and 80s. Of course times have moved on, it’s been 29 years since Granville (Sir David Jason) and Arkwright (the late great Ronnie Barker) last appeared on our screens and the corner shop which was centre to the story is no longer as prominent in today’s society.
Plenty of nostalgia with no originality
And that of course affects the way the script flows, and it showed.
There was no story line, it was half an hour of original creator Roy Clarke reminding us of great things gone by. There was no originality and was nothing but nostalgic. Disappointingly Granville who had always moaned at what a tightwad his Uncle was, has for some inexplicable reason turned into Arkwright. He had all his traits and for fans of the original series, Granville’s 2013 character just didn’t fit.
Then you had Granville’s son, Leroy (Emmerdale’s James Baxter) who was nothing more than an excuse for Granville to show us just how much he’s become Arkwright. He even had the same dilemma as Granville, the question about his mother; it was shameful repetition.
There were plenty of regular faces; Nurse Emmanuel, Mavis and the Black Widow, Mrs Featherstone. And with the return of those, came some even more weird character shifts, none more than Mavis’ romantic chase for Granville. And Mrs Featherstone, who bearing in mind she was a Black widow of age back in the 1970s and 80s, must be pushing well over a one-hundred by now. There was no chemistry and no flow, just a lot of ageing actors running about the place.
Even the cameo appearances of Mark Williams and Johnny Vegas couldn’t save the show from depths of utter disaster, although the return of the hand biting till and flying tin did its best.
Anything particular achieved with this special?
Sadly, Sir David Jason looks tired and has once again failed to reach the heights he did as Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses, which itself outstayed its welcome.
Sir David has nothing to prove, he will always be remembered as the lovely market trader and the tremendous D.I. Frost among others, but it has to be hoped that he thinks about the next script that lands on his desk carefully because his legacy is in danger of being damaged.
That it includes the rumoured return to Nelson Mandela House because to have two failed attempts of bringing back two of the country’s most loved sitcoms would be heart-breaking.
All Still Open All Hours has achieved is to remind us that Ronnie Barker has gone and for many people to look out the original series but then maybe that’s what Roy Clarke and Sir David wanted; to educate the new generation about the classic that was.
And the overwhelming conclusion? Maybe it’s time for Granville to seriously consider retirement.
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