A garden shop in Norfolk recently sold out of fork handles after designing a special window display in tribute to a classic BBC comedy sketch courtesy of the Two Ronnies. While the shop has previously won awards for its displays, shop manager Sarah Colman said she thought it would raise a smile, but was a bit taken aback when sales increased too.
“We’ve always had people asking if we’ve got any fork handles. It’s a running joke,” said Colman. “So we knew it would get people talking. But we didn’t expect to sell so many fork handles in the process. We sold out the other day.“
The sketch, which first aired in 1976, starts with customer Ronnie Barker appearing to ask shopkeeper Ronnie Corbett for “four candles” when he means fork handles. Corbett’s character then gets increasingly exasperated as Barker asks for different items that sound the same.
Much like Monty Python‘s Cheese Shop or Dead Parrot sketch, the fork handles/four candles sketch is brilliantly scripted and is comedy in its purest form.
The entire window of the shop in Loddon Garden and DIY is given over to the sketch. Passers-by can see three fork handles hanging above four candles; two garden hoes next to garden hoses and three letter “Ps” for use on a sign alongside tins of garden peas.
“You see people have a look, start laughing and then take a photo or two,” said shop owner Andrew Carver. “It’s proved really popular.“
Interestingly, the sketch was penned by Ronnie Barker under the pseudonym Gerald Wiley and went on to be voted the greatest Two Ronnies sketch. The handwritten script was famously uncovered on Antiques Roadshow in 2006 and was then sold for £48,000 the following year.
All I can say is ‘only in the UK’ is there comedy like this that is still gold after almost 50 years and that passers-by would notice a garden shop window and connect the dots enough to snap photos to capture the moment. Well done, Loddon Garden and DIY!
In: Odds & Sods