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.