David Jason plays the inept Edgar Briggs, personal assistant to the Commander of the British Secret Intelligence Service. Briggs is an agent who, in spite of his cluelessness, manages to solve case after case.
This prison comedy is based on the popular British television series of the same name. Long time Slade prison inmate Fletcher is ordered by Grouty to arrange a football match between the ... See full summary »
Long running BBC comedy show consisting of sketches and humourous musical routines involving the large Ronnie Barker and the small Ronnie Corbett. Most sketches involved both men, but ... See full summary »
The Fred Tomlinson Singers
I recently bought this on DVD for the simple reason I actually remembered watching it as a boy fifty years ago (that's half a century, makes a girl think), and even remembered one of the gags. When cook (my favourite character back then) says she is making a dinner of 'bubble and squeak' (a traditional British dish made from boiled potatoes and cabbage, the French don't have a monopoly on haut cuisine, you know), Rustless replies "That''s probably what I'll be doing after I've eaten it."
What amazes me now is how 'naughty' some of the humour was. I can only assume my parents didn't know what the programme was really like, or didn't think I would understand the humour (which was actually true). At one point Badger the bulter is exploring a secret passage at Chrome Hall and we hear a crashing noise; Rustless' secretary Bates screams "He may have gone over an abyss!" Rustless: "Gone for a what?"
The two series are actually quite different, apart from the second moving to colour. The first features sketches by Eric Idle, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Graeme Gard and Bill Oddie, who would soon be busy as Pythons and Goodies. This meant they weren't available for the second series which was mostly written by Barker himself as 'Gerald Wiley'.
As much as I enjoy Ronnie Barker as a comedy actor, I have to say I don't feel the second series is as funny as the first. In the first series the humour is quite sharp, in the second there is too much descending into farce and chaos as a way to round off the shows, and a lot of cheap laughs at the expense of Effie the maid's breasts. And as always with Barker's solo work, such as 'Futtock's End' and 'By The Sea', I find myself chuckling in anticipation of hearty laughs which never arrive.
It's good to see these again, they revive pleasant memories, and Barker as Rustless is as memorable as Fletch and Arkwright. There is just a notable quality control problem here.
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