Roy Clarke discusses the last of Last of the Summer Wine


As we reported here earlier this summer, the world’s longest running situation comedy on television, Last of the Summer Wine, is coming to a close in the UK this coming Sunday, 1 August. Transmission is scheduled to begin on many U.S. public television stations as early as November 2010. How does one begin to bring to a close something that’s been a part of your being for roughly 38 years, 31 seasons and close to 300 episodes including specials?

According to sole series writer, Roy Clarke, he was fully aware based on conversations with the BBC that the upcoming series was to be the last when he started writing it. As he told us back in September when we interviewed him at his home outside of Yorkshire and, more recently, in this interview with the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, he really didn’t relish the idea of writing a “final” episode, but that he did write the final six episodes in serial form for the first time with the idea that this was to be the end. He did admit that the series does have a “nice, quiet” ending that is befitting the series.

It was very clear during our interview that Summer Wine has always been and always will be a very special part of Roy Clarke’s life. However, he did reveal that when the idea of writing Summer Wine was presented to him, he wasn’t that keen on being a relatively young man having to write a sitcom based on the exploits of three elderly individuals. It wasn’t until he finally hit upon an idea as to how to treat the character part of the situation comedy that he jumped in head first. Starting in his early 40’s, I’m guessing Roy had no idea this would be such a great “free-lance” gig for the next 38 years.

As he mentions in the article in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, he’ll be watching on Sunday along with much of England and may get a bit nostalgic seeing the series come to an end.

All in all, a memorable day with a truly warm, genuine individual that has written some of the best of the best when it comes to British comedy. In addition to Last of the Summer Wine, Roy also wrote perennial public television favorites, Keeping Up Appearances and Open All Hours.

Thanks for all the smiles over the years, Roy. We wish you well as you begin that novel you said you’ve always wanted to write.

  • John C. Campbell III

    Now .. we have to hope that “Auntie” has not trashed the archives of the fully half of the 33 seasons that they have not put out on DVD. To my knowledge -no one- from BBC has even acknowledged that the other half even exists much less made ANY statement as to when (or if) they’ll crank them out for amazon.uk … If you recall there was a issue some years ago about BBC trashing some archived show that was only rescued because some fan had taped them.
    “Transmission on US PBS channels?” I don’t know about -your- region but our Baltimore / Washington PBS affiliates? Are a bad joke, rerunning the same shows two to three times in the same week? Cutting off the BritComs for half a month at a time for idiot re-run pledge specials? -sigh- jccampb

    • John: had a conversation with John Howard Davies last week in the UK where he wanted to get all the Hancock’s Half Hour programs from the BBC and come to find out, not many are left as they decided not to archive them. I’m hoping they learned their lesson, but I don’t know why they aren’t out on DVD at this point, especially with the series ending. You might check with MPTV to see what their plans are for the last season, but I do know it will be available to stations beginning in November 2010.

  • John C. Campbell III

    Bill; that bodes ill, and could possibly be the explanation as to why direct questions I’ve put to the director of programming and others, are ignored. I’ve asked Terry to snoop it out
    http://www.summerwine.net/
    I watch the shows as they are happening on BBC1 but that doesn’t help with 16+ seasons that are not out. ….

  • John C. Campbell III

    Terry was kind enough to clear it up for me:
    Hi John

    All these missing episodes are in Limbo, the situation is the BBC also own a subscription satellite channel called UK Gold, and they have been recycling losw since the 90’s, so far they have reached about series 23, once they have flogged them to death on there, they then release another few series on dvd,so unless things change it will be about 2016 before the whole lost is out on DVD, I believe the next batch will be out around Christmas,which must be series 17 & 18

  • Cora L

    Thanks to KERA for sharing this wonderful program with us. I look forward to seeing any episodes!

  • NiteOwl

    Lastnight we saw the episoda of the 10yr. anniversary of Compo’s death, and yes it did bring a tear or two … absolutely love all the characters, forever greatful and thankful for the joy I feel watching “Last of the Summer Wine”

    • @NiteOwl: really nice episode. Need to go back and look at that one again. What first got me interested in the series was that it got out of the studio and showed the English countryside. Then, it was just the ongoing simple storyline with great scripts that hooked you in.

  • Phil Blue

    My wife and I have watched “Wine” from beginning to end. It’s a great program and the scenery is beautiful.

    We really enjoyed the run.

    • @Phil: I think that’s what attracted me the most to the show was that it was a chance to see some amazing outdoor shots rather than say, an indoor department store each week. If in Dallas, last two episodes on KERA Saturday, April 2 from 8-9pm.

  • Phil Blue

    My wife and I have watched “Wine” from beginning to end. It’s a great program and the scenery is beautiful.

    My wife is from Bedfordshire. We watched it on PBS, 2 episodes every weekday.

    We really enjoyed the run.

  • james kern

    i want to thank you for summer wine but when are the later series comming to dvd

  • SYLVIA BATES

    I JUST LOVE LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE AND ALWAYS WATCH THE RERUNS ON UK GOLD. MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE SPENT MANY A HOLIDAY IN THE YORKSHIRE DALES AND HAVE BEEN TO HOLMFIRTH.I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY I LIKE THE 2 POLICEMEN IN IT AND I THINK THEY COULD HAVE A SPIN OFF SERIES OF THERE OWN WITH THERE FUNNY ANTICS

  • Fgfranklin

    We always look forward to watching another episode of Summer Wine. Our local station tends to rerun the episodes even in the same week, but still we watch. So many hearty laughs we have gotten out of this sweet show!

  • Fgfranklin

    We always look forward to watching another episode of Summer Wine. Our local station tends to rerun the episodes even in the same week, but still we watch. So many hearty laughs we have gotten out of this sweet show!

  • Dana Clark Gray

    My parents have watched this show forever, they have gotten me to love it as much as they do, my 7 and 8 year old children love this more than I do, if that’s possible. Shelby and Christian will not go to bed at night untill the show goes off. I am So Thankful that we get to watch 2 show’s at night before we go to sleep. The shows are so funny, and lighthearted, they help me get my mind off of all the garbage going on in my life. I hate that the show doesn’t air on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. We are so excitied when Monday Night Finally Gets Here, it’s a mad dash to my bedroom at precisely 11:00 PM…. (~B. This is one show that I don’t have to worry about my children watching, I really do appreciate that. I am sorry to hear that most of the Wonderful Stars are passing away, I’d like to think that someday if I get the chance to walk into the cafe`, I would get to see those wonderful little ladies gabbing about those crazy old men. And that poor ole’ Pearl, wander if she ever got to hit Howard up the side of the head with her rolling pin. lololol… (~ B  I hope that someday I get to Thank each and everyone of them including Roy Clarke for bringing laughter and  family togetherness between my parents Ruth and Clifford Clark, Myself and my Children.
    I hope that the Reruns never stop. Infact I’d give anything if Mr. Clarke and the Producers would bring back the cast and start the show agin.    God Bless each and everyone of you.

  • Dana Clark Gray

    My parents have watched this show forever, they have gotten me to love it as much as they do, my 7 and 8 year old children love this more than I do, if that’s possible. Shelby and Christian will not go to bed at night untill the show goes off. I am So Thankful that we get to watch 2 show’s at night before we go to sleep. The shows are so funny, and lighthearted, they help me get my mind off of all the garbage going on in my life. I hate that the show doesn’t air on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. We are so excitied when Monday Night Finally Gets Here, it’s a mad dash to my bedroom at precisely 11:00 PM…. (~B. This is one show that I don’t have to worry about my children watching, I really do appreciate that. I am sorry to hear that most of the Wonderful Stars are passing away, I’d like to think that someday if I get the chance to walk into the cafe`, I would get to see those wonderful little ladies gabbing about those crazy old men. And that poor ole’ Pearl, wander if she ever got to hit Howard up the side of the head with her rolling pin. lololol… (~ B  I hope that someday I get to Thank each and everyone of them including Roy Clarke for bringing laughter and  family togetherness between my parents Ruth and Clifford Clark, Myself and my Children.
    I hope that the Reruns never stop. Infact I’d give anything if Mr. Clarke and the Producers would bring back the cast and start the show agin.    God Bless each and everyone of you.