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.
I’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.