1 9 7 3 (UK)
1 9 7 6 (UK)
1 9 8 1 – 1 9 8 2 (UK)
1 9 8 5 (UK)
26 x 30 minute episodes
The stuttering Yorkshire corner shopkeeper Albert Arkwright was superbly played in this BBC sitcom by Ronnie Barker, adopting yet another characterisation that showed off his comic gifts to great effect.
In between hoodwinking his customers and bullying his nephew and assistant, Granville (David Jason), the tightest shopkeeper in the North of England, lusted after the buxom nurse Gladys Emmanuel (Lynda Baron).
Granville, meanwhile, was resigned to a life of servitude – devoid of the excitement, foreign travel and romantic relationships that he yearned for – although there was a brief romance with the milk woman.
The days were long in this shop – From well before dawn to well after dusk the lights were on, and the door was open. Each programme began with Arkwright setting out his special offers on stalls at the front, winding up with his taking them back in again.
In between, confused customers came and went – usually with goods Arkwright had conned them into buying – and Granville had suffered another day of frustration and abuse.
But it never prevented him from answering back to his mentor, or smirking whenever Arkwright caught his fingers in the shop’s temperamental till.
Open All Hours originally appeared as a stand-alone episode from the 1973 series Seven Of One, a collection of self-contained 30-minute comedies from Ronnie Barker that also spawned the series Porridge.
Three years passed before a series appeared (on BBC2). This was repeated in 1979 on BBC1, and new episodes eventually appeared in 1981 and 1982.
The last series, however, was not transmitted until 1985, four years after David Jason had switched trading places to Peckham market and taken on the role of Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses.
The series shone thanks to superb performances from Barker as the mean shopkeeper and Jason as his nephew, Granville.
Making up the quartet of regulars was Lynda Baron as the district nurse who lived opposite and tended after her sick mother (oft-mentioned but never seen), whilst fighting off the – not always unwanted – attentions of Arkwright.
External shots for the series were filmed outside a hairdressing salon in Lister Avenue, Balby – a suburb of Doncaster in South Yorkshire – which was given a makeover by BBC designers.
An American version of the series was made, entitled Open All Night.
Ronnie Barker died of heart failure at the Katherine House Hospice in Adderbury, Oxfordshire, on 3 October 2005, aged 76.
A special edition of the show called Still Open All Hours was broadcast in 2013, bringing in more than 10 million viewers on Boxing Day.
Lynda Baron died in March 2022, aged 82.
Nurse Gladys Emmanuel