Thursday, 30 September 2010

Four Candles

This Sunday marks the 5th anniversary of Ronnie Barker's death. To many he will always be the jailbird Fletcher. And to many more the tight-fisted Arkwright. But I guess it's as one half of The Two Ronnies that the Great British public will always remember him; it's hard to imagine now, but on Saturday nights in the 70s they were watched by north of 15 million viewers.

When the Number One Son came back for a few days last week, he and his fair maiden brought along some autographs her dad has collected over the years. I posted Spike Milligan's on Mondo's blog earlier in the week. Here's Messrs Barker and Corbett.

And, if you've got a minute, listen to Ian McMillan, the Bard of Barnsley, wax lyrical on the genius that was Ronnie Barker.

Ian McMillan Orchestra: It's Goodnight From Him


  1. 5 years! I can't believe that. Sadly missed - I loved the Two Ronnies just so funny, the olde phantom raspberry blower was a total classic along with so many others. As a character actor he was pretty much unsurpassed, Open All Hours, Porridge etc.

    Genius is too often a used word these days - not in describing that man it wasn't

  2. The 'G' word has almost become worn out through over use - but Ronnie Barker, was one of the few who it absolutely applies to. There's the writing (Gerald Wiley), the delivery of those great wordplay set pieces and the talent as an actor to make a scripted personality 3D, fully formed and believable. Fletcher and Arkwright couldn't be more polarised, but you only ever see the character never the performer (take note Steve Coogan). As much as I loved Not the Nine O'Clock News , I remember being a bit miffed when they took the piss out of the Two Ronnies by way of some musical skit.

    Phantom Raspberry Blower is a twofer: written by Spike Milligan, performed by The Ron's

  3. Even their signatures are in the right size and order!

  4. i can never go into a hardware shop without thinking Fork handles!

  5. I blogged a while back about his role as Fletcher because I think it was his most interesting work, simply because it took him from his comfort zone. I think he was superb, though I don't necessarily believe he was as flawless as received wisdom suggests.

  6. I've always thought you can be a flawed genius. His track record, of course, went beyond 'the greatest hits' - his radio work, including The Navy Lark, and his contribution to TV's ground-breaking Frost Report (including the Class sketch with Cleese and Corbett) are often overlooked.

  7. Did you know that to commemorate the 5th aniv, a statue of Ronnie Barker has been unveiled in Aylesbury, the town where he began his acting career.

    It's a life-size bronze statue, and was officially unveiled by Ronnie's widow, Joy, alongside Ronnie Corbett and Barker’s Open All Hours co-star David Jason.

    It's a statue of him as Fletcher. Nice work!

  8. That first day cover autographed is a wonderful piece of memorabilia. And it has to be said that Ronnie Barker is a British icon, and I don't use the word icon often to describe anybody!