Just in

On the way out, but laughing

Being a Ruster, my relationship with large swathes of the modern world – including technology, a bug-bear mentioned recently by my colleague William Byford – is generally tentative or somewhat hit-and-miss and so I set out to compose my post today with positive intent but also with ‘fingers crossed’ for reasons which will become apparent.

Going back through the long and eminent history of classic British television sit-coms – or at least those any of us can remember – brings to mind not only some inspired set-ups, script-writing and characters (plus character development over time) but some terrific acting performances as well.

For me, on the writing front, I’d single out for honourable mentions Roy Clarke (Keeping Up Appearances and Open All Hours), Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais (The Likely Lads, Auf Wierdersehen Pet and Porridge), Ray Galton and Alan Simpson (Hancock’s Half Hour, Steptoe and Son) and, of course, John Sullivan, who single-handledly came up with and wrote every episode of Only Fools And Horses.

(The reader may, inevitably, gain a feeling that he or she will be able to work out your author’s rough age by the era from which I have selected my examples – and they’d be right!).

No bones about it, the UK has a created a lot of sitcom work to be proud over the years. The following may also tickle a funny bone memory or two – Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, Dad’s Army, Yes Minister and Men Behaving Badly.

Occasionally, however, a project emerges which cuts across boundaries of generation, class, life attitude and any political persuasion known to man – and to an extent defies all norms – simply by being so wonderfully off-beat and funny.

In my view, one of them  (and perhaps the best) was David Renwick’s One Foot In The Grave, starring the brilliant Richard Wilson and Annette Crosbie.

Here’s where my anticipatory nervousness with technology kicks in.

Today I wished to provide a link to an excellent piece on One Foot In The Grave by Tom Fordy that appears upon the website of the Daily Telegraph.

However, the Telegraph, along with other newspapers, is gradually making articles on its website less and less accessible to those – like me – who refuse to sign up to pay them a subscription for the experience.

Anyway – I hope that the link works [my apologies if it does not!] and that Rusters who do not ordinarily buy the Telegraph get the opportunity to read this article. It’s worth it – a really top class piece of journalism …

See here, courtesy of the – DAILY TELEGRAPH

About Francesca Shawn

A former arts editor of The Independent, over the years Francesca has written for an innumerable list of UK arts and dance magazines. More Posts