Compo-tition Winner!

We were recently overwhelmed with entries to our Last of the Summer Wine competition… well, four. They were good ones though! Mr Bob Fischer sat down to judge them, without access to any names, and we have a winner.  First though, the runners up!

The Second Places of the Summer Wine 

Patrick

I think my favourite era of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ would have to be The Brian Wilde Era: Part 1 (1976-1985). Whilst it is an era that most people say is their favourite and for a time, it wasn’t my favourite. However, having seen these episodes again and again, there’s just a great charm to these episodes, particularly from Series 5 onwards (I cite Series 5 as being my favourite series) For me, it’s consistently funny, consistently well written and consistently well acted throughout. The fact that other than Sid and Ivy and Nora and Wally, there are no other characters apart from the main players. Whilst I do love certain characters that came in around the Michael Aldridge era, there are no distractions here from other characters and it feels very compact.
I can’t think of what else I can add, other than to say that the early Brian Wilde episodes are amongst the best comedy that BBC has put on their screens in the 1970s/early 80s.

Steven

The Return of the Warrior! (Foggy Dewhurst part 2)
I heartily enjoy watching any era/series of LOTSW. My personal favourite however, is when Foggy returns to the trio and re-replaces Seymour. I am a huge fan of visual humour and I feel that, particularly in series 12-18 make great use of this. There are many classic moments, like the episode from series 12, Das (Welly)Boot, where Compo jumps into the boat and goes straight through. This era does stand out due to the bathtub moment, but there is so much more humour to be found in these series, such as the parade with the inflatable castle, or the Clegg’s barbeque. Also, the introduction of Stephen Lewis is a great addition, as I genuinely find him funny. It also showed that Brian Wilde was still great.

Martin

The period I love most is that of the mid ‘90s, towards the end of the second coming of Foggy Dewhurst.

You’ve got everything that makes LOTSW for me: Compo, Clegg and Foggy (the ultimate trio in my opinion) getting up to their usual old tricks; Nora Batty chasing Compo from her doorstep; Howard trying to get up to no good with Marina; the wives and their synchronised coffee-drinking (new Olympic category?); Wesley in his overalls with Edie putting down newspaper and telling Glenda to drink her coffee; Barry having not the best of luck; Smiler being his happy self and Auntie Wainwright giving you a good deal on so many things you didn’t realise you wanted; Compo’s tea slurping and, of course, loveable Eli bumbling along at any moment and doing his typical (always funny) routine. It’s probably not right to laugh at the misfortunes of the physically impaired, but hey-ho.

This is when I was of an age that I was becoming aware of television for more than just cartoons about talking animals dropping like flies on their journey to a nature reserve. It’s when I fell in love with the series and every episode I see not takes me back to those slow, lazy Sunday evenings. Last of the Summer Wine is all about those lazy Sundays.

And now…

The First Place of the Summer Wine

David Cook

It’s hard to choose a favourite era, each has it’s good and bad points and a lot of it’s run is mixed with potent nostalgic memories for me.

The Michael Bates era is something rich and strange, while perhaps not hitting the comic heights of later shows, it’s a window into a lost world of ‘seventies Britian and like a lot of the show at it’s best, has an odd emotional effect on me (I was born in ’69 and while Stockton is not Holmfirth (and not in Yorkshire)it’s pretty close in attitude.

The “Foggy era part one” is were I came in, aptly enough with his first episode. At that time it was a pre-bedtime treat (it was on at a really odd time for such a ‘family favourite’ and I have vivid memories of watching it in my pajamas, drinking hot milk and having a slice of Bakewell Tart for my supper!

At it’s best it was (rather like Dad’s Army) a mix of strong character work and slapstick. As a kid it was probably the slapstick that kept kids like me watching it (it was an incredibly popular show which appealled to all ages, a fact which is usually forgotten now), but now it’s the finely observed characters which keep me watching.

As a series it reached it’s peak with the marvelous ‘Getting Sam Home’, but sadly Foggy left a year or so later and I never really took to Seymour (the manic portrayal in ‘Uncle Of The Bride’ put me off, though while recently watching a few Aldridge episodes for the first time, I was glad to see that they had mellowed the character). It was Foggy’s “second coming” which got me back watching the series, initially out of curiousity, but I stayed watching it more or less until he left for the last time.

A quick word about Brian Wilde. He does tend to be under-rated and, as a kid, it seemed it was Bill Owen who got the attention, but Wilde’s Foggy is a brillient creation, up their with the Rigbsy’s and the Mainwearing’s of the sit-com world.

After Wilde left I drifted away. It was the shock of Bill Owen’s death which got me watching his last, poignant story and I stayed to watched the ‘death’ episodes. That was pretty much it for me, without Wilde and Owen and with Sallis takening a back seat, it wasn’t the same show. I was amazed it lasted as long as it did without Owen (think of it, ten years is more than the Bates and Aldridge era’s combined) and, when I caught a recent episode episode the other year, I struggled to recognise the show.

At the end of the day, ‘Last Of The Summer Wine’ is a series I love and one that I have very fond memories (it’s amazing how nostaglic the early ’90′s episodes are, perhaps because they seem like yesterday to me and not twenty years ago.

Thanks to everyone who entered  (Bob even thought number 3 may have been me!), but David made the grade with his thoughtful and nostalgia tinged overview of several eras. We’ll be in touch, David!

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