A now sadly forgotten sitcom from the legend Roy Clarke, whose classic writing includes: 'Last of the Summer Wine', 'First of the Summer Wine', 'Open All Hours', 'Keeping up Appearances' and 'Potter' This show isn't as good as the named shows, but still a good sitcom.
Michael Penrose has joined Slagcaster Police Station. He is a naive young Constable. The Seargent of the Police Station is Seargent Flagg, who is a bit of a pessimist and wonderfully sarcastic. Also at the station is PC Butteress another young Constable who naturally gets on with Penrose, of whom he calls Rosie, and then there is PC Toombs, a man who is clearly been in the job for too long, not interested, avoids work when necessary and is going through a shaky marriage. The boss who doesn't work in the Police Station is Inspector Fox. Fox is a man who is in love with himself, yet is having an affair with WPC Dean. Even on nights out together, he refers to her as WPC Dean (brilliant Clarke comedy this). She says to him 'You're more in love with yourself than you are with me' he replies 'I've known myself longer'
Police Stations are a potential gold mine for comedy, just look at the criminally underrated 'The Thin Blue Line' I agree that even though this sitcom is very good, it could have been and should have been better. It is a well known fact that Clarke's main strength is dialogue and it is very sharp in this show. He had some great plot ideas as well: 'A peeper in the area, so they get the biggest oldest woman in Slagcaster to undress at the window, viewed by all the village and another great storyline was a bottom pincher on the loose in Slagcaster, hiding in car boots etc. then pinching the bums (they were a sexually confused lot in Slagcaster), so with these great plots, I don't feel that Clarke made the most out of the great ideas due to wanting to flood the show with his dialogue, although great dialogue, you need good focus on the plot and he wasn't really doing so (particulary in episodes 3 and 4- there was far too much dialogue and not enough focus on the plot). Thankfully though, it wasn't like Clarke's 'The Magnificent Evans' a best forgotten Ronnie Barker sitcom, which was just full of dialogue (and not great dialogue either) and absolutely no plot. A great example of dialogue in The Growing Pains of PC Penrose is: BUTTRESS: Hello Toombs, how's your wife, TOOMBS: Do you have to say that, it's like saying how's your terminal illness. Again, great funny Clarke dialogue. Episode 1 'Lovely Eyelashes he's got', episode 2 'The Peeper' and episode 6 'A Quiet Midweek' were excellent episodes, the remaining four episodes were average or slightly above average. This show only ran for one series (7 episodes), but its spin-off, just titled 'Rosey' (Penroses's nickname) lasted for four series, which saw Penrose leave Slagcaster for another Yorkshire Policestation. Paul Greenwood was great as Penrose, but the best performance in this show belongs to Bryan Pringle as Seargent Flagg. He was wonderfully sarcastic. Pringle will be most famous for playing Cheese and Egg in Jack Rosenthal's 'The Dustbinmen' A good series, that is out on DVD- essential for Clarke fans. Lets hope 'Rosey' will be released on DVD. The show had a great theme tune as well.
Best Episode: The Peeper- Series 1 episode 2: For the brilliant stripping scene. The woman stripping is Pamela Cundell- she played Mrs Fox in 'Dads Army' I'm not too sure, but I think Roy Clarke is in the crowd watching her.
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