1 9 7 1 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
These six stand-alone half-hour comedies starring Ronnie Barker were produced by London Weekend Television and set in periods ranging from 1899 to 2774.
‘The Removals Person’ – written by Hugh Leonard – featured Barker as a short-sighted removals man moving a family on Coronation Day 1937, with Travers the maid (Josephine Tewson) left in charge of the situation. The concept was revisited by Barker in the 1988 series Clarence.
‘The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town’ was a mad melodrama written by Spike Milligan and set in Victorian London with Barker playing nine characters (including Disraeli and John Brown), six actors playing Queen Victoria, and three playing the same detective, Sgt Bowles. The storyline was later incorporated into The Two Ronnies as a short weekly serial.
Set in 1970, ‘The Odd Job’ was a black comedy in which Arthur (Barker) arrived home one evening to find his wife (Joan Sims) about to leave him. Deciding to take drastic action, Arthur hired odd-job man Clive (David Jason) to kill him, with disastrous results.
‘Lola’ was set during the First World War and starred Barker as a member of the Kaiser’s staff taking to drag to pose as Germany’s top female spy in order to escape execution. Freddie Jones and Valentine Dyall co-starred.
‘Come In and Lie Down’ was a fantasy comedy written by John Cleese in which a psychiatrist was plagued by a humble gasman (Michael Bates) convinced he was “a looney ready for the funny farm”.
‘All The World’s a Stooge’ was a futuristic satire set in AD 2774, where humour is now a religion and failing to laugh is considered a crime against the State.
1937: The Removals Person | 1899: The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town | 1970: The Odd Job | 1915: Lola | 1971: Come in and Lie Down | 2774 AD: All the World’s a Stooge