It's not cutting-edge, it's not fashionable and it's certainly not innovative, but I'm not afraid to admit that I love Last of the Summer Wine. In a bizarre mix of modern and old, I recently used our BTVision PVR to record the whole of the most recent series of the gentle comedy – its 30th.
Yes, for over 30 years, the misadventures of a bunch of elderly folks who seem to have reverted to childhood in the Yorkshire dales have been entertaining people. And I've been enjoying it ever since, as a child, I watched it with my father. He dreamed of a retirement in the Last of the Summer Wine mold. He never got that chance – cancer took him in his mid-60s – but the programme endures, and I still enjoy it.
Most of the original cast are gone now – an inevitable consequence of a show featuring the elderly. Clegg and Ivy are still around, but there's a new trio of Entwistle, Alvin and Hobbo, roughly taking the roles of Compo, Clegg and Foggy from the classic trio of old. But, on the whole, the show hasn't changed that much. It's still an ensemble piece around a central trio, and the humour is just an exaggerated version of the mishaps of ordinary life. There was a period about 20 years ago when the stunts got more and more extravagant, but then the original cast got older and older, and the jokes slowly returned to the more conversational, situational humour in which it excels.
Yes, it's slow, childish and fundamentally unimportant. But that's the point. It's tried and tested humour, performed by actors with more comedy experience each than many TV comedies have amongst the whole cast. It's cosy, predictable and familiar. And that's why I love it. There's a place in life for both trendy urban design and an old blanket.
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