Home Television Comedy Clarence

Clarence

1 9 8 8 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes

Ronnie Barker announced his retirement from television in 1988 but decided to bow out with this one last sitcom, which he wrote under the pseudonym, Bob Ferris.

12 May 1937 is Coronation day for George VI and everybody is celebrating except myopic removal man Clarence Sale (Ronnie Barker), who is moving the furniture of an upper-family from their London home to Southampton in preparation for a move to Rangoon.

It soon becomes apparent to their maid, Jane Travers (Josephine Tewson), that without her help the perpetually clumsy short-sighted Clarence is unlikely to leave the family with a single piece of furniture intact. As she helps him pack up, the two begin to develop a relationship.

When Jane inherits a run-down cottage, Clarence moves his business (Get A Move On Removals) and the two of them move from London to the gentle countryside of Oxfordshire (the location for the series was deliberately chosen by Barker so he could be near his home, a mill house that he had purchased in 1981).

Clarence wants to make an honest woman of Jane, but she thinks it is a good idea to live together first and find out if they are compatible. The rest of the series concerns Clarence’s attempts to bed Jane and adjust to country life.

Over the course of the six episodes, Clarence and Jane have a trial period of living together in the countryside. Although they share a bed, a bolster is placed in between them to ensure that no intimate behaviour takes place.

The final episode ends with Clarence and Jane finally getting wed.

The myopic removal man character was first introduced in an episode of Ronnie Barker’s six-part anthology series Six Dates With Barker entitled ‘The Removals Person’ (broadcast in 1971) although, on this occasion, the character’s name was Fred.

Two years after Clarence ended, Josephine Tewson went on to play Elizabeth, the harassed neighbour of Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances.

Clarence Sale
Ronnie Barker
Jane Travers
Josephine Tewson

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