Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

And It's Goodbye To Ronnie Barker

And It's Goodbye To Ronnie Barker

Ronnie barker examines a half empty mug in comedy classic 'Porridge'

*********

British comedian Ronnie Barker died yesterday, after a long illness, aged 76. During the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s there was scarcely a Ronnie Barker-free week on New Zealand television. Mr Barker's large and jolly presence first filled New Zealand's screens in flickering black and white with the prison comedy Porridge. No studies have yet been done to show if the crime rate increased in New Zealand following the portrayal of life inside as a series of jolly escapades.

It was in the later, full colour comedy skit show The Two Ronnies that Mr Barker really cemented a place in the New Zealand psyche. There would be precious few Salvation Army thrift stores that don't have a dusty Two Ronnies comedy album lurking near the Wilbur Smith books.

However, probably the highlight of Mr Barker's career was portraying a stuttering, tight-fisted shopkeeper Arkwright in the perennial British comedy favourite Open All Hours.

According to Tairawhiti District Health, stuttering is common, affecting around 1% of the population. Evidently early intervention by a speech-language therapist for children is crucial to prevent stuttering from developing further.

With the onset of the 1980s the social fabric of British society began to change. As well as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) personified by Iron Maiden there was also to be a revolution in comedy. A new style of British comedy emerged – one less rooted in the nudge,nudge wink,wink tradition of the Carry On films and Music Hall traditions - on which Ronnie Barker had based many of his characters.

Programs such the Young Ones and Blackadder moved British comedy into the late twentieth century. Thankfully, in more recent times there has been a swing back to the style of comedy made famous by comedians like Ronnie Barker. Shooting Stars hosts, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimers' style of buddy, buddy comedy reflected in many ways a return to the past work of the Ronnies - (Barker and Corbett).

Mr Barker's comedic partner Ronnie Corbett led the tributes to his friend - assuring the grieving fans worldwide of classic comedy that Mr Barker was "pure gold in triplicate".

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Dunne Speaks: Labour Leadership Speculation Premature And Facile
Speculation that the Prime Minister’s leadership of the Labour Party may be at risk because of this week’s adverse poll results is as exaggerated as it is premature and facile. While her popularity has plummeted from the artificially stellar heights of a couple of years ago and is probably set to fall further to what would be a more realistic assessment... More>>


Keith Rankin: Some Important But Little Known Facts About Taiwan

The nuclear clock is closer than ever (since 1962) to 'midnight'. Taiwan and Ukraine are of course the two flashpoints. It is important that the citizens of the world understand the key facts... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Aspirations Are All Very Well, But It's Getting It Right That Counts
In a weekend television interview, the Prime Minister pushed back on a suggestion her government is far better at talking about things than achieving them. She countered that “I would not ever change the fact that we have always throughout been highly aspirational…what you’re asking me essentially is to shy away from aspiration”... More>>




Ian Powell: Colossal ‘Porkies’ And Band-aids Don’t Make A Health Workforce Plan

On 1 August Minister of Health Andrew Little announced what he described as the start of a plan for the beleaguered workforce in Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system: Government’s 5 year late health workforce announcement. In October 2017, when Labour became government with its two coalition parties, it inherited a health workforce crisis from the previous National-led government... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: The Fuss About Monkeypox
The World Health Organization has been one of the easier bodies to abuse. For parochial types, populist moaners and critics of international institutions, the WHO bore the brunt of criticisms from Donald Trump to Jair Bolsonaro. Being a key institution in identifying public health risks, it took time assessing the threat posed by SARS-CoV-2 and its disease, COVID-19... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Time For MPs To Think For Themselves
One of the more frequently quoted statements of the Irish statesman and philosopher, Edmund Burke, was his observation that “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement, and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”... More>>