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Big Day at Dream Acres 

Compo, Clegg and Seymour happen upon a somewhat wiley tramp, who persuades them to help him rescue his childhood donkey (from better days), from a field. In fact the tramp wants to fix the ... See full summary »

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The Tramp
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Ivy
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Vi
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Gary
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Mavis
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Compo, Clegg and Seymour happen upon a somewhat wiley tramp, who persuades them to help him rescue his childhood donkey (from better days), from a field. In fact the tramp wants to fix the 'donkey derby' at the local garden fete. Written by Mort Kingsley

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Comedy

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27 December 1987 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Connections

Follows Last of the Summer Wine (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Out with the donkeys
18 December 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The third and final feature length Christmas episode without a laughter track but this one is not as memorable as the previous two, Getting Sam Home and Uncle of the Bride.

There is a nouveau riche couple who seems to have recently moved into a new mansion and are holding a fete. Joanne Good looks the part of a slightly glamorous second wife, at the time she just had done a stint in Crossroads although she is now better known as a radio presenter. But David Ellison was hard to take as the slobbish yuppie. He was too old to be a yuppie and we all knew him as Sergeant Beck from Juliet Bravo.

The real star of the show was the late great Ray McAnally playing the old tramp. He seemed to have burst out in the mid 1980s from Irish theatre into movies such as The Mission and award winning television series A Very British Coup and then a few years later he was gone, suddenly dying of a heart attack in 1989.

The tramp has stolen Clegg's bicycle and they are in hot pursuit. The slippery tramp persuades Compo, Clegg and Seymour against their better judgment to rescue his childhood donkey (that donkey must be really old!) when he actually plans to fix the donkey derby taking place at the garden fete, although this plot point seems to have come out of nowhere.

The trouble with the episode is that it is too long and padded hence why you have so much donkey chasing going on and the usual Seymour's latest contraption going awry. I am not sure how and where the tramp came up with the plan to switch donkeys and think he could make money with a betting scam at the fete. Also how did Seymour, the clever one did not twig that donkey could never be the tramp's childhood donkey or this so called 'local' has a rather Irish twang.

The real problem was that none of the guest stars were likable, especially the tramp. He really was shifty and dislikeable, only out for himself with no redeeming features. Clegg was very much out of character falling for his lies at every turn.

It was left to the side characters to redeem much of the show, Pearl glams up to interest Howard, he fails to recognise her and starts to chat her up. Although Pearl really looks a lot different, even a tarted up Pearl cannot compete with Marina (who in the early years was a MILF before the term was coined.) Marina plays the gypsy in the tent telling everyone their future and managing to cavort with Howard.

Ivy and Crusher do some outside catering for the fete and have roped in Nora as the waitress. The show obviously had to rejig Nora's role as the actor playing Wally Batty had died in early 1987.

We get to see Crusher using his brute strength as their transport has a puncture and he just lifts the car with one hand and with Nora in it. Unfortunately this episode would mark Crusher's last appearance due to the actor's drastic weight loss. Well Crusher certainly was memorable in his brief stint with the show.

Writer Roy Clarke was off form here and wrote a bad episode, shame it was the feature length Christmas special. Still you can rely on Eli to put on a memorable slapstick turn and we get the first appearance of the policemen duo in the panda car which would be refined in later episodes.


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