Saturday, February 14, 2009

His Bark(er) is worse than his bite

In yesterday’s post about Shout! Factory’s upcoming slate of TV-on-DVD releases, I neglected to mention another series headed for disc…primarily because it’s not being offered by the Factory. According to TVShowsOnDVD.com, the BBC and Warner Home Video will bring the classic Britcom Open All Hours to DVD June 9th…and the only thing that keeps me doing a merry jig in my driveway is that I already have all four seasons of the show on Region 2 DVD.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not happy for all you Britcom fans who read Thrilling Days of Yesteryear (yes, the three of you…hey! You all have matching outfits…nice…) because on a list of must-own British comedies, Open All Hours would certainly be enjoying a comfy berth in the Top Ten. A successful series (though it took a while to find an audience) created by veteran comedy writer Roy Clarke (Last of the Summer Wine, Keeping Up Appearances), Hours stars the late, great Ronnie Barker as a conniving “corner shop” proprietor named Arkwright, who has very little respect for his customers and is always scheming to make a fast buck. (If you took W.C. Fields’ It’s a Gift and turned it into a sitcom, Open All Hours would be the result.) Arkwright is saddled with an ineffectual nephew named Granville (David Jason), whom he’s grooming to be his successor (with very little success), and in his spare time romances the busty Nurse Gladys Emmanuel (Lynda Barron)…who rejects his advances at practically every turn.

I’ve written about this series here on the blog in the past, and I remember it was hugely popular back in the 1980s on the Britcom schedule hosted by West Virginia Public Television; my father and I were big fans but when I asked him if he remembered the series (about the time of star Barker’s passing) he didn’t have any recollection of seeing it. For a time, my mother and I would sneak in an episode between Keeping Up Appearances and As Time Goes By because…well, if you think what I say about Are You Being Served? is nasty, you should listen to Mom go off on it. It’s nice to see WHV give this one a release over here; I’m optimistic enough to believe that maybe its DVD exposure will lead to a revival of the series on GPTV.

2 comments:

Sam said...

For half a season in the Fall of '81, there was an American version of the show called Open All Night starring George Dzunda that ran on ABC Saturday nights at Eight. As you may notice, the show didn't last too long. Still, it might be on You Tube somewhere.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

For half a season in the Fall of '81, there was an American version of the show called Open All Night starring George Dzunda that ran on ABC Saturday nights at Eight. As you may notice, the show didn't last too long.

Oh, I did notice, because I'm one of the few people who watched the show. It's a forgotten gem of a sitcom (created by Tom Patchett and Jay Tarses, who later brought us Buffalo Bill) and let me just say that if Night ever shows up on DVD, I can leave this earth at anytime a satisfied man.