1 9 6 8 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
This series of half-hour comedy plays starring Ronnie Barker were written by Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke, Hugh Leonard, and Alun Owen.
In ‘Tennyson’, Barker starred as crazy Welsh poet Tennyson Elias Williams (“Tennyson the tonsil”) who is banned from the local poetry competition for running a pair of girl’s knickers up the school flagpole. He subsequently sets out to knobble the contest, only to find it won in spite of his efforts by one of the results of an even earlier misdemeanour in the valley twenty years ago.
In the episode ‘Ah, There You Are’, he starred as the decrepit and lecherous Lord Rustless, a character he later expanded into his next series, Hark at Barker (1969 – 1970).
‘The Fastest Gun in Finchley’ found Ronnie aspiring to become chairman of the Finchley Cowpokes Association against a strong rival candidate, while ‘The Incredible Mister Tanner’ featured Barker as Cyril Tanner, a small-time escapologist who decides to show the world he is the equal of Houdini by performing the “trunk in the river” escape.
In ‘Talk of Angels’, Barker played a monk in a silent order who is knocked down by a car and taken into the house of the Irish driver to recover. The Irishman and his wife are expecting another married couple and the monk quickly realises something is going on. He decides to interfere – with unexpected and amusing results.
The final episode (‘Alexander’) revolved around a shy Scotsman coping with his domineering mother at home and the possessive women at his workplace.
Supporting cast members included Richard O’Sullivan, Richard O’Callaghan, Sheila Keith, Bill Shine, Doris Hare, Pauline Yates, Talfryn Thomas, Gwendolyn Watts, Liz Crowther and Meredith Edwards.
Tennyson | Ah, There You Are | The Fastest Gun in Finchley | The Incredible Mister Tanner | Talk of Angels | Alexander