Unbeknownst to David Frost, he was key to laying the groundwork for one of the greatest British comedy duos of all time. After inviting both Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker to work on his new show, The Frost Report, it was a quick fill-in appearance by the duo to cover a technical issue during a 1970 awards ceremony that caught the eye of both the Head of Light Entertainment for the BBC and the Controller of the BeeB, who happened to be in the audience. Corbett and Barker were quickly given their own show on the network in 1971, appropriately named, The Two Ronnies.
Along with both Corbett and Barker, the list of writers for the brilliant sketch comedy series read like a who’s who of British comedy history….John Cleese, Spike Milligan, David Renwick (One Foot in the Grave), David Nobbs (Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin), John Sullivan (Only Fools and Horses), Michael Palin and Terry Jones. From Corbett’s monologue delivered from a simple chair facing the audience to the classic open and close from the news desk, the series quickly became the BBC’s primary comedy program during the 70’s and 80’s. Here’s some classic unseen footage from an early Two Ronnies taping at BBC Television Centre’s TC8 studio with some great insight into the weekly production of the long-running series and their classic show opening “news desk” feature.
To celebrate his 80th birthday, Ronnie Corbett returned to the BBC on Christmas Day for The One Ronnie, a special reminiscent of his 70’s efforts with long-time friend and professional partner, Ronnie Barker. At 80, some 40 years after that fatefull day on The Frost Report, Ronnie shows us all that he’s still got it.
Ronnie Corbett needs a new Blackberry