Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

They Were Funny Once, Some Of Them Still Are

The Dad's Army movie- the original one not the re-make, which hasn't been released yet- was followed by a Morecambe and Wise compilation which was followed by a Porridge Christmas Special. The cream of late 20th century TV comedy is now as much a part of the Christmas experience as Dickens and Santa and pudding.

The Dad's Army movie is better than you might suppose. Like the series that spawned it it has problems with tone- sometimes aiming for Ealing and sometimes for the end of the pier. Croft and Perry were pie in the flies men who saddled themselves on this one show with a cast who transcended the material. I could watch Lowe and Le Mesurier till the cows come home. On the small screen the physical comedy is often clumsily done- without grace or timing- but on the big screen there was time to get it right- and the sequence involving a steam roller and lines of tents and equipment is a joyful experience.

Morecambe and Wise are ready for retirement. One laughs from memory. Why- in 2015- are we still sitting down in prime time to watch sketches that rely on the audience knowing about such demi-celebs of yesteryear as Des O'Connor, Angela Rippon and Andre Previn?

Porridge may be the best sit-com ever made. Ronnie Barker straddles the comedy generations. He did rumpy-pumpy, lets-please the grannies material (rather too much of it- I'm not a fan of the Two Ronnies) and he also created Fletch- an ingratiating, not-very-nice little criminal low-life with his back against the wall- jesting and japing in the face of despair.
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