Last of the Summer Wine

BBC (ended 2010)



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Show Summary

The longest running comedy series in the world started out, as many British comedy successes did, with a 1973 episode of the BBC series "Comedy Playhouse". The basis was simple but complex at the same time, telling the stories of three old men, who in all essence couldn't be more young at heart.

The original trio consisted of Bill Owen, as Compo Simmonite, the scruffiest man in Yorkshire, with only two passions in life: his ferrets and Nora Batty (Kathy Staff).

The second man of the group, Norman Clegg, played by Peter Sallis, was from the beginning shown as the most timid of the group, and also the one who gets carried away by the crazy ideas and schemes of his companions, which always seem to get him in trouble.

Initially the third man of the group was Blamire, played by Michael Bates, but he was soon replaced by Foggy Dewhurst (Brian Wilde) who always seems to have a scheme or a story that somehow leads to his old days as a war hero... or so he says. In 1986 Brian Wilde left the series, to start filming his new sitcom, which proved to be a wrong move, as the show hadn't the success needed to sustain even a second series. during his 4 year absence from last of the summer wine Michael Aldridge played Seymour, the new third man of the trio, until 1990. Brian Wilde returned to do the next seven years of the show. When Brian Wilde left the series for the second time in 1997 Frank Thornton replaced him as the new third man on the trio as Truly Truelove of the Yard, an ex-police officer who's always remembering his past, both in the police force and in his former marriage to the former Mrs Truelove.

When Bill Owen passed away, his son Tom joined the series, replacing him for the rest of the season as Compo's long lost son, Tom. Compo's permanent replacement would come the next year when Keith Clifford joined the cast as Billy Hardcastle, a man who fancies himself the descendant of Robin Hood.

In 2003, the traditional trio became a quartet with the addition of Brian Murphy as Alvin Smedley, Nora Batty's new next door neigbour. With the addition of Alvin, an element of physical humour missing since Compo's death returned to the series. The quartet once again became a trio when Keith Clifford left the series in 2006.

In 2009, the series was once again redesigned to allow Sallis and Thornton a reduced role on the series. A new third man was introduced in the form of Hobbo Hobdyke (Russ Abbott), a former milkman who fancies himself a former MI-5 agent. By combining Hobbo with Alvin and the electrical repairman, Entwistle (Burt Kwouk), a new trio was formed, proving once again the ability of the show to redesign itself over time.

The main cast has always been surrounded by some amazing supporting cast throughout the run of the series, who helped to mantain the series as fresh today as it was when it premiered on the BBC.moreless

Bill Owen

Bill Owen

Compo Simmonite (1973-2000)

Burt Kwouk

Burt Kwouk

Entwistle (2003- )

Danny O'Dea

Danny O'Dea

Eli Duckworth (1986-2002)

Gordon Wharmby

Gordon Wharmby

Wesley Pegden (1982-2002)

Jane Freeman

Jane Freeman

Ivy (1973- )

Jean Fergusson

Jean Fergusson

Marina (1984- )

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  • Last Of The Summer Goats,On Wine

    Last of the summer wine should have goats,eating the grass,in the background. Very Funny

  • I think I laughed more when I had my tonsils out...

    If you think old men falling over, rolling down hills in bathtubs, getting chased by dogs/cows/ferrets etc is funny, then this will be right up your street. However, if you're older than eight you may not find this very funny.
  • Indy Girl

    I think if you didn't like this show- then stay the hell off this site...turn your channel to another show that would please you more. Your opinion doesn't mean much on a site that is dedicated to LOTSW.
  • Glad to see it end-Last of the Summer Wine-PLZ!

    A truly boring-boring show with few redeaming values least of which was Compo-Foggy

    A tiring lazy man that made a poor image of older men as lazy and somewhat stupid .

    Even worse was playing women as bitchy and demanding.

    What a piece of crap as a show!!

    No wonder were all considering destroying our TV sets!

    R McMillan
  • Can a sitcom go on for 35 years and more?

    Where I live in the U.S., it's July 2009, and PBS is showing and reshowing LOTSW episodes from 2005. If I were to tune into the show for the first time this week, I'd find its little plots or subplots unoriginal and too numerous, providing no overall story arc for the episode. I'd probably not tune in again.

    But, as we know, the show has ardent supporters in England and the U.S. who decry any suggestion that the BBC will cancel it. I tend to believe that most of this support stems from recollections of earlier seasons, which concentrated on the misadvenures of three duffers at loose ends in the lovely Yorkshire countryside and the leisurely town of what is actually Holmfirth -- the duffers were played by Bill Owen, Peter Sallis, and Brian Wilde. When introduced in 1973 and for several seasons thereafter, the show was unusual in its nostalgic concept, enhanced by the charm of the natural setting. I even began to regard the images of the three duffers enjoying their innocent adventures in this timeless and even idyllic place as Roy Clarke's idea of what heaven should be. And along the way, Bill Owen developed his character, Compo, into a unique and lovable individual.

    Now, after 35 years, the show has become a case study in whether a sitcom can go on indefinitely. It's problem for the last several years is in replacing the beloved stars who die or retire -- after all, they began the show when they were in their late 50s or older. So far, no totally adequate substitutes have been found for Bill Owen and Brian Wilde, at least in the minds of most who remember those two performers. Another original, Kathy Staff, passed away in 2008, and Peter Sallis and Frank Thornton, who replaced Brian Wilde, are no longer insurable for exterior scenes.

    Another difficulty is that various characters added to the cast in recent seasons do not enhance the show's original simple premise. Mostly they engage in hackneyed henpecked-husband farce. Most of the satisfaction I get from watching nowadays comes from noting favorite performers from past British comedies who are finding some extended life in LOTSW. And, of course, Roy Clarke is aging along with everyone else. Besides the physical toll exacted by time, writing a show that requires revisiting the same sets of characters, situations, and locations week after week for 35 years surely must strain the imagination.moreless

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Classics, British TV, Sitcoms