Looks like Summer's over in 2010


It’s being reported by the British Comedy Guide that after 37 years, 31 seasons and 295 episodes, Last of the Summer Wine is calling it a day. According to the Guide, it’s being reported by the program’s leading fansite, The Summer Wine Chronicle, that the world’s longest running sitcom will not return after the current season (#31) concludes. Producer/director, Alan J. Bell, told the site that the latest set of 6 episodes in the 31st season will be the last. Gone are Compo, Clegg and Foggy. No more Clegg, Truly and Alvin. Now, no more Hobbo, Entwistle and Alvin.

Thornton #2I’m sure everyone has a story as to why they enjoyed LOTSW. For me, it was seeing the English countryside as you experienced the antics of this wayward group of pensioners week to week. Very different from the usual British comedy filmed before a live audience in a studio setting.

We visited Holmfirth back in the summer of 2003 when taping both the Funny Ladies of British Comedy and the Funny Blokes of British Comedy projects for PBS. I remember Frank Thornton taking us on a walking tour of the city showing all the locations where they filmed and seeing the fondness not only he had for the show, but also seeing the faces of everyone in the town and their genuine love for the show. Seeing the likes of Sid’s Cafe, Nora Batty’s flat, or just that amazing English countryside made you instantly forget it was June and it was freezing cold.

Without question, a major highlight was meeting new cast member, Entwistle, played by Burt Kwouk. After leaving, Frank said, you know who Burt is don’t you? Unfortunately for us, but probably fortunately for him, it didn’t dawn on us until we had all gone that Burt had played Cato in the Pink Panther movies along with parts in the likes of Goldfinger, Casino Royale, The Avengers and almost every other British drama or comedy dating back to Hancock’s Half Hour in the mid-60’s.

So, personal thanks to Frank, Burt and our time in Holmfirth for an unforgettable experience and thanks to Roy Clarke, Alan J. Bell and everyone involved in Last of the Summer Wine for a wonderful ride all these years. Here are some more photos from that 2003 visit to LOTSW at the Tellyspotting flickr page.

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  • Cora Latta

    Lisa C – totally agree with you.
    KERA – will there be new showings of the “older” episodes of the series? It’s a joy to watch the latest series, but it would be wonderful to see how it all started?

    • Cora: At this point, the BBC only goes back to season 23 for sales in the U.S. At this point, not sure how far we will go back from a broadcast standpoint once we finish our current run of season 30. Want to make sure we get to season 31 as soon as we can after it becomes available as opposed to having everyone have to wait for a year is we start back with season 23. Will keep everyone posted.

  • Cora Latta

    Thanks Bill – season 31 it is!

  • John C. Campbell III

    I sent an email to Mr Thompson who is the director of BBC (See below)
    ************
    Read in the last few days with sadness the probable end of “Last of the Summer’s Wine”. Of course I’m hoping sommat will change and that won’t transpire … but in either case? A question;

    The absolutely wretched “Public TV stations” here in ‘States constantly play the same handful of episodes of “Last of the Summer’s Wine”, “Are you being served?”, “Keeping Up Appearances”,” and “As time goes by” To the point that some time ago we began building our collection of each of the series from Amazon.uk. But … of the 295 episodes of “Summer’s wine” that were produced? Perhaps only half (if that many) have been released on DVD from “Auntie”. To add insult to injury, the PBS-affiliate stations in the Washington area? Treat them is “filler material” and take them off for as much as 3 weeks at a time whilst they have their great bloody “fund raisers”.

    I, myself personally know 50 people over here, who watch these four shows every chance they get (and no, they’re not ALL over sixty) People who went out and purchased zone-free DVD players and sets that would display PAL format … never mind many, many friends in Devonshire, and Hesslington … is there some reason that the remainder of the episodes of these four shows … (particularly “Last of the Summer’s Wine”) cannot quickly get out to publication? I cannot imagine that the looming threat of the end of the series would not generate a massive groundswell of people desiring to acquire the entire 31 seasons worth on DVD.
    jccampb