What British comedy teaches us daily


Whether you’ve been watching your favorite British comedy for years or you’re new to the game, it’s a genre that makes you laugh, makes you forget about both the week past or the week ahead and you appreciate the intelligence with which the writers, actors and production personnel go about their business to be the best. There’s no price tag that can be put on that laughter or smile.

British comedy, and Last of the Summer Wine, in particular, can fill another role in the television landscape and has filled it admirably for years. As the BBC’s Yasmeen Khan puts it, “…British comedy shows us that elderly people can still have fun“. According to Andrew Vine, journalist and author of a new book just out on the back story of the longest running sitcom in television history, LOTSW was a bit different from the likes of One Foot in the Grave, Dad’s Army, Royle Family or Only Fools and Horses in the overall characterization of the older generation.

Suddenly it presented a positive image about older people; the characters refuse to accept that their age should be a limitation and that’s why the storylines can focus, for example, on the men attempting to use some ridiculous new invention with inevitable comedic consequences“, says Vine.

“Bill Owen maintained that the programme had helped to change attitudes towards older people, while director Alan JW Bell said they had many letters from older people saying how much the show had inspired them to get out and enjoy themselves.

For my money, I’ll put Waiting for God in the same boat. Diana and Tom may have been two of the crankiest individuals to ever grace the entrance of Bayview Retirement Home, but their constant sense of enjoyment in finding ways to make life difficult for Harvey showed me that same quality present in Summer Wine.