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.