Back at Xmas, when discussing the senseless debacle that was the BBC/Roy Clarke/David Jason’s decision to revive Open All Hours, despite the debilitating absence of the great Ronnie Barker, I confidently and thankfully reported that the BBC had decided, notwithstanding the one-off’s popularity, not to order a series of Still Open All Hours. Unfortunately, whilst researching certain details about Roy Clarke’s career for a near-future blog, I have now discovered that this was wrong: a six part series has been ordered, and will be broadcast later this year.
I was prepared to do it once, out of a slightly less reprehensible kind of the same fascination about disaster that causes people to slow down whilst driving past car crashes, but I have too much respect for myself and the late Mr Barker to connive at the perpetration of atrocities by watching the series.
Look, I am aware that Sir David Jason may be desperate to recreate the days when he was the biggest draw on television, but the incontrovertible facts are that Open All Hours was dependant in every respect on Ronnie Barker, who has been dead and much-missed for nearly ten years, and the only way Still Open All Hours could be made to function was by Jason doing a virtually note-for-note mimickry of Barker. Add to that the obsessive urge to copy a thirty year old programme by introducing the special’s only new character in the form of Granville’s own won, only to have him replicate Granville’s lack of certainty about his father was the act of desperate men prostituting a thing of value for the cheap thrill of recognition again.
And if you, Messrs Clarke and Jason, can’t see the psychological cruelty of shoehorning Granville’s hang-ups about the father whose name he never knew into Granville’s own son and have him express it to his real father, then you are devoid of shame.
That you are prepared to extend this pillage of Ronnie Barker’s grave, and that the BBC are prepared to let you, is more than my gorge can stand, and I predict that the audience will let you know what a stupid idea this is.