First it was Gilligan, then Maxwell Smart and now Arkwright... Is nothing sacred in this year of our lord 2005? One by one my favourite stars of comedy are dropping like flies.
Ronnie Barker died on October 3 at the age of 76. He was a comic genius in Britain and ever since I was a tiny furry San Nakji I watched all his shows. He is most famous for three roles. The first was as one Ronnie in the Two Ronnies. Along with Ronnie Corbett they starred in this show for 15 years. Some of the jokes were timeless and recent repeats had me in stitches. The second role was as Fletch in Porridge. This was a 'sitcom' of sorts following the life of Fletch and his time in prison. Many say this was his finest role. However I believe his third role, that of shopkeeper Arkwright, in Open All Hours was by far his best. It was amazing how he could command a whole episode virtually on his own. The humour was cutting and the storylines compelling. Open All Hours also marked the appearance for the first time of David Jason who would go on to star in another of my favourite shows, Only Fools and Horses. Please don't tell me he's next, please!!!
On a recent vote of Britain's all time best comedy show on the BBC. Porridge was ranked #7 and Open All Hours was #8. Number 1 went to Only Fools and Horses.
Even though Ronnie had been retired for a number of years now, the fact that someone of his greatness is no longer in this world makes things just a little more sad.
I hereby request no more deaths in the comedy world this year (at least!). Please Mr Death, sort out politicians, their numbers need to be thinned!
San Nakji for President!