So it has been confirmed that the BBC have given Still Open All Hours a full six-episode run. The series, which was revived for an early evening slot on Boxing Day pulled some of the biggest ratings over the festive period. In many respects you can’t blame the BBC for commissioning a full series, but I question if it’s actually a wise decision.
In my opinion the Boxing Day was an out of date mess that served only to highlight was a huge comedy talent the late, great Ronnie Barker was. I tuned in on Boxing Day to see how writer Roy Clarke had modernised his hugely popular comedy for 2013, the truth was though that he hadn’t. I can imagine the public outcry had Clarke not found a way to shoehorn in that lethal till, and the occasional nod to Arkwright was a nice touch, but the rest felt like a disappointing parody.
So will the same millions who tuned in on Boxing Day tune in on a weekly basis? Of course some are bound to but I think a huge portion of that initial rating tuned in, like me, to see if the premise worked in 2013. I don’t believe it did and I think most people who tuned in where left more than a little disappointed by the first episode.
Looking on the positive side of things, a new series does allow Roy Clarke to flesh out the various customers who inhabit the shop. The Boxing Day episode saw cameos from Nina Wadia and a strong performance from Johnny Vegas and perhaps if these characters are given more time to develop it could become more of an ensemble piece. Much like ITV’s recent success with Birds of Feather, Open All Hours does somewhat of a built in fanbase who will undoubtedly support it upon it’s return but I still think it’s a shame we have to keep resurrecting these older programmes and we haven’t found anything relevant and of it’s time to make us howl with laughter.
Still Open All Hours is due for transmission in late 2014.