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For sixteen years, big Ronnie Barker and little Ronnie Corbett hit hard on the nation's funny bone with their gently subversive, often wonderfully rude comedy routines, which lampooned countless aspects of British life - pompous authority figures, eccentric middle class guests at dreary cocktail parties, shabby men (with distinctly surreal private lives) putting the world to rights over a beer or ten, ghastly restaurants with rude waiters and incompetent chefs, bumptious politicians, leery rock stars and deeply suspicious doctors. Although often regarded as a "safe" series, The Two Ronnies' best sketches often strayed toward decidedly bizarre and ridiculous Monty Python territory, which isn't surprising as several of the Pythons (together with genius upstarts like Marshall and Renwick) wrote for the series - that's when the great Ronnie Barker wasn't providing the bulk of the material himself under a number of unlikely pseudonyms! (Remember Gerald Wiley? That was him.) The musical numbers can seem dated to modern eyes, but the country and western parodies from 'Big Jim Jehosophat'(Corbett) and 'Fatbelly Jones'(Barker) were always a joy, wrapping dozens of double-entendres around some genuinely catchy tunes, as were the lesser-seen spoofs of Chas and Dave, Status Quo and even Kid Creole and the Coconuts! As with many of the 'old school' comedians, the Two Ronnies' work has endured far better than many of the 'alternative' comedians who tried to push them aside - not only that, they're still being repeated. So where's Ben Elton now?
Ronnie Barker (the tall, well-built one) and Ronnie Corbett (the short
but funny one) star in what I can undoubtedly say is the funniest TV
program that I have ever seen in my life.
The show usually started off with a short news item (read by both Barker and Corbett), then it was followed by some sketches (including Corbett's trademark "armchair moment", where he tells funny stories whilst going off track at the same time), and then a spoof on a serial program. Finally, it closed with the now famous catchphrase: "It's goodnight from me... And it's goodnight from him."
My all-time favourite sketch is the spoof on popular UK quiz show "Mastermind", where the contestant (played by Corbett) is asked questions based on the subject "Answering The Question Before Last" ("What would you use a ripcord to pull open?" ... "Large flies." ... "Correct. What sort of person lived in Bedlam?" ... "A parachute." ... "Correct. What is a jock strap?" ... "A nutcase." (Get the picture now?)
Well, in the words of Corbett and Barker (sort of): It's goodnight from me, and it's goodnight from you.
Between 1971 and 1987,the brilliant Ronnie Barker,and his diminutive
but equally talented partner Ronnie Corbett,produced and performed
arguably the perfect peak-time family sketch show in the UK.THE TWO
RONNIES lacked the long lasting influence and greater World-wide
success of MONTY PYTHON,and the more savage,cutting-edge style of NOT
THE NINE O'CLOCK NEWS,but their most memorable sketches can still
compete with the best of them,and as far as sketch humour for the whole
family is concerned(albeit often laced with smut and innuendo),no
programme has ever properly replaced it since it's departure.
To the unfamiliar,virtually every TWO RONNIES show consisted of the following format:Messurs Barker and Corbett would start the programme,sat behind a desk together,starting with usually corny but undeniably funny fake news items,leading on to a solo turn by Barker,with assorted duologue's (often in pubs or drawing room parties) and sketches,Corbett performing a monologue from a comfortable armchair(usually rather bigger than him),an elaborate filmed sketch,usually musical,or sometimes a serial,then ending with more fake news before ending with "It's a good night from me.." (Corbett),"...and a good night from him" (Barker).Over it's long run,the show kept a remarkable comic consistency,only very occasionally being over-stretched,weak,repetitive or misjudged.The main reason for this was perhaps the large number of writers involved,the most notable being perhaps Barker himself,who sent in sketches under various moniker's (Gerald Wiley the best known) before being found out.
With the show's peak years being the 1970's,there was of course much non-PC material which would be difficult to repeat three decades later,and in the compilation programme THE TWO RONNIES SKETCHBOOK (2005),it was obvious that certain modifications had to be made for more modern TV audiences.Despite this,the high comedic quality of the material was still readily apparent,as was the enormous affection for the Ronnies themselves.It was a great joy to see Ronnie Barker on British TV screens again,but it was a greater sadness when Barker sadly died later in the year.The British public were deeply moved by his passing,maybe because in one sense it truly meant the end of an era.An era when TV bosses let such great talents as the Two Ronnies,Morecambe and Wise,Frankie Howerd,Tommy Cooper,Les Dawson,et al entertain and amuse us on peak-time British TV in the 70's,whereas now execs seem to think that infesting our screens with tedious,banal,dreary and mostly pathetic 'reality' shows with such non-talents as Jordan,Sophie Anderton,Kerry Katona and Paul Burrell are what the public wants, when the fact is they actually don't.There are still talented actors,writers,singers and comedians out there.All the execs have to do is use them like before several decades ago.
RATING- 9 out of 10.
This tape is a celebration of the Two Ronnies who are comprised of Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker, and who presented a little comedy show (96 episodes) between 1971 and 1987. This video gives only a brief taste of what the Two Ronnies had to offer during those years. They always began with a funny newscast which went into a sketch with both of them. Then came Barker portraying some sort of official explaining his plight (beautifully written by him as Gerald Wiley). Then came Corbett in a true sit-down comedy routine, and finally a glorious musical number making fun of some sort of British life with songs, costumes and the whole bit. The shame is that this video is only about an hour, which is about a show and a half. We certainly would love to have the remainder in a better "best of..." series. And maybe the both of them would spearhead their return to the video screen in more shows. Barker recently appeared on the telly after being retired for eleven years, and Corbett keeps showing up in movies, so they are alive, well, and still funny! So go ahead, buy this, and hope that there is more to come.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
And now, here is the news: There was a collision today in the English
Channel between one ship carrying red paint, and another ship carrying
Both crews have been marooned.
That's just the sort of simple, hilarious gag that typified the 'Two Ronnies'. For 15 memorable years they were a televinstitution.
Originating for the most part in a 1960's pre-Python program called 'The Frost Report', they worked alongside that other irreplaceable icon of British comedy: John Cleese. Together, they performed an upper, middle, and lower class take on a variety of situation sketches in David Frost's program. Each gave barely a hint of what was to come.
Both of these men were funny. Separately, they had substantial ratings in other regular sit-coms. But together, a special chemistry developed that was only ever matched by that other equally irreplaceable duo: Morcambe & Wise.
Television has never been the same since their retirement. More modern comedians have challenged their family-friendly hour with foul-language and gross-out humour. They have supplanted rude with crude. Although the Ronnies could have you in stitches, there was nothing that you couldn't let you children hear, even if it was a little close to the bone sometimes.
Ronnie Barker's grasp of complex script was bordering upon genius. Autocues were almost unheard of in his game. Watch them in sketches that mocked mastermind, or 'spoonerisms' and you'll know what I mean. Anyone remember the classic 'four candles' sketch?
Look what passes current today for light entertainment and grieve. Now, comedy is about the kind of cruelty, coarseness, and vulgarity that evolved on the 'fringe' circuit or student campus. And - there being no adequate substitute for these incomparable heroes of humour, this has now become mainstream.
It's an indictment of the times, I suspect.
I'm sure that if we'd known it would be 'goodnight from me and goodnight from him' forever; we'd have cherished this treasure so much more.
How I pity those who never saw them at first-hand.
The Two Ronnies is a legendary series for so many reasons. For a long
time it WAS Saturday night and was one of the few shows that the whole
family could enjoy together. Even now it stands the test of time and is
being enjoyed by a whole new generation.
From the fabulous format that shows off each Ronnie perfectly to the hilarious serials and musical numbers there really is something for everyone to enjoy in this show.
The two men have absolute fantastic chemistry and their joy of being and working together shines through in every episode.
Credit must go down to the top notch writing and the stellar performances that Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett give making even the most absurd sketch funny and memorable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I very much doubt we will see a sketch show of the quality of The Two
Ronnies, which ran for 17 years and attracted audiences of 19 million
at its height. Classic sketches such as Fork Handles( no, handles for
forks), Cheese and Onion Ice Cream and the send up of Mastermind will
still be hilarious decades from now. Also hilarious were the news
bulletins at the start and end of each show, the musical pieces( my
favourite is where Barker and Corbett dress up as tea ladies and join
the BBC orchestra), and the serials that ran in each series such as The
Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town and The Worm That Turned.
Some reviewers aren't so keen on this part, but I always found Ronnie
Corbett's chair monologue very amusing and clever.
Also the show's musical guests were of a high standard and The Two Ronnies helped to make stars of Lynsey de Paul, the guest singer in the 1972 series, and the Nolan Sisters, who were regulars on the 1977 show. Later on, Phil Collins would appear between Genesis tours.
One enduring trait with the Two Ronnies is, unlike many modern so called comedians, their shows are refreshingly free of bad language and are suitable for all ages and if there are any references to sex, it is done in clever innuendo.
As a boy, always a must see show and I'm glad most reviewers still think highly of The Two Ronnies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was only young when the Two Ronnies was first shown and I think it
gets funnier with age.
My favourite sketch has to be the Four Candles or Folk Handles sketch the word play and misunderstanding is great, another great sketch was the swear box sketch which was funny for the fact they used different sounds to cover up the swear words and left you guessing which swear words they were saying.
Ronnie Barker was a great writer and of course used his alias Gerald Wiley to send in the sketches, Barkers ability to play on words for some of his sketches were great and very funny.
The show had some great writers such as members of the Python team, Barry Cryer, and John Sullivan who went on to create Only Fools and Horses.
It wasn't just about Ronie Barker though, the other Ronnie which was Corbett brought his humour to the show especially his monologues which were very funny, maybe old jokes but the way he told them and went off on a tangent as he attempted to tell the joke. One of my favourite lines from Corbett was: " I have no faith in my doctor, my wife went to him and asked if he had anything for a creaky hip joint, and he gave her two tickets to Ronnie Scotts."
When Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones spoofed 'The Two Ronnies' in a 'Not The Nine O'Clock News' sketch entitled 'The Two Ninnies', it didn't work because a) it wasn't funny and b) it was inaccurate. Ronnie Barker's beautifully crafted song parodies did not use words like 'titty' and 'bum', and never did. Smith and Jones brought out the dire 'Morons From Outer Space' in 1985, and can count themselves lucky they weren't on the receiving end of similar abuse from Corbett and Barker. Its twenty years since the series ended ( barring compilations ) but 'The Two Ronnies' is still a joy to watch. These gentlemen had an unmistakable on-screen chemistry. My favourite bits were the filmed items, such as the 'Piggy Malone' and 'Charley Farley' serials. Some of the humour hasn't aged very well admittedly, but its stood the test of time a lot better than 'The Young Ones' and 'Not The Nine O'Clock News'. Must throw in a quick mention of 'Four Candles' - has me in fits each time!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've re-watched the entire series from start to finish, for me Messers
Barker and Corbett are THE masters of comedy, there are many names in
the mix, but these two are in a different league. I've not given it a
ten because the Corbett monologue on a few occasions has to be skipped
and some of the guest artists (Barbara Dickinson) didn't seem to fit. I
digress, back to the good stuff, the sketches are painfully funny,
there's never been a time in my life when A Two Ronnies DVD isn't far
away, or the sketches are on Youtube.
The favourites for me are Fork Handles, Opticians, Crossed Wires, Sweet Shop (I'll smash your teeth in 'an all,) Mastermind (Charlie's Aunt,) Pinnochio, the list goes on. I'm a lifelong fan of the Worm that turned, magical, but even better then that is 'The Phantom Raspberry blower of Old London Town,' not wonder it's got a cult following, produced by Hammer Horror, with David Jason's raspberries, it's hilarious, my all time favourite, as a child I used to be terrified of it, I can understand why.
Two magical performers that truly came up with the goods, 9/10
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