The Two Ronnies: Season 1, Episode 1

Episode #1.1 (10 Apr. 1971)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy
8.3
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The main sketches are the news report put together in a hurry, unable to control himself at a party, a doctor with a cure for saying things twice, Hampton Wick episode 1, sending flowers ... See full summary »

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Title: Episode #1.1 (10 Apr 1971)

Episode #1.1 (10 Apr 1971) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Himself / Various Characters
...
Himself / Various Characters
Alfredo ...
Himself
...
Themselves
Tina Charles ...
Herself
Madeline Smith ...
Henrietta Beckett
Ian Gray ...
Charles, Party Guest
The Ladybirds ...
Themselves / Vocal Backing
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Storyline

The main sketches are the news report put together in a hurry, unable to control himself at a party, a doctor with a cure for saying things twice, Hampton Wick episode 1, sending flowers through Interpol, Paris, getting a hearing aid. Big Jim Jehosophat and Fat-Belly Jones draw the show to a conclusion with their blue-grass performance. The musical guests are Tina Charles and New World, and Alfredo does a vaudeville act. Written by jem

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Comedy

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Release Date:

10 April 1971 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Soundtracks

River Deep - Mountain High
Written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich
Performed by Tina Charles
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User Reviews

 
"Hello. Is that Interpol?"
7 May 2007 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

'The Two Ronnies' was perhaps not the most imaginative title for a series starring two men with the first name of 'Ronnie', but we'll let that pass. Following a pair of one-off shows - 'The Ronnie Barker Yearbook' ( with special guest star Ronnie Corbett ) and 'Ronnie Corbett In Bed' ( with special guest star Ronnie Barker ), the first episode proper of 'The Two Ronnies' got underway, establishing a formula that was to endure for the next sixteen years.

Following spoof news items, they moved onto a party sketch. In the first ( widely believed to have been written by Michael Palin and Terry Jones ) Barker plays a man who slaps Corbett whenever he tries to make small talk.

The musical guest was a young Tina Charles, belting out 'River Deep, Mountain High' in a dress that appeared to have been made from drawing room curtains. Corbett got two things right about her in his introduction; firstly, she was very tiny and secondly, she did go on to become a star ( in 1975, she topped the British pop charts with 'I Love To Love' ).

The lecture sketch featured Barker speaking on behalf of a society for People Who Repeat Everything Twice...Everything Twice.

The first of many serials was called 'Hampton Wick' ( that's Cockney rhyming slang for...oh, work it out for yourself ) and starred the scrumptious Madeline Smith as 'Henrietta Beckett', the 21-year old governess to 36-year old ( ! ) Edward Hampton. Soon she and Edward are running around the orchard Benny Hill-fashion, but then Sir Geoffrey takes a shine to her and she has to fend off both their advances. Dismissed from the post, Henrietta heads for London, where she falls in with rogues who look suspiciously like 'Fagin' and 'The Artful Dodger' from 'Oliver Twist'. Terry Hughes displays the flair for period comedy he would later bring to 'Ripping Yarns'. 1971 was a good year for lustful Madeline fans ( of whom I was one ) as only a month before, she'd been seen in L.W.T.'s 'Doctor At Large' as Arthur Lowe's daughter 'Sue Maxwell'.

But, wait, what's this? Another musical item? Surely not. As this was not yet a proved success, the B.B.C. hedged its bets by including singers and imported novelty acts. 'New World' - consisting of three men with big sideburns - sang 'Rose Garden'. I never worked out which category they belonged in.

I cannot comment on Ronnie's first chair monologue as I don't think I ever sat through a single one. In my house, the mere sight of Corbett in a relaxed position was sufficient to send me to the kitchen to make the tea.

A sketch set in a hearing aid clinic followed. "I'd like a hearing aid please.", says Corbett. "Pardon?", responds Barker. Of course, this is a forerunner of the famous optician sketch, with Barker playing a blind oculist. But its okay.

But then comes 'Alfredo', a John Astin-lookalike able to gurn Sammy Davis Junior, spit ping pong balls at a music stand ( and catch them again in his mouth ) whilst seated at a drum kit, and race around in circles with a glass of beer on his head. According to the book 'And Its Goodnight From Him', Ronnie Corbett's wife Anne Hart recommended him to Terry Hughes. Easy to sneer now, but these abilities - bizarre though they are - make him more worthy of putting on television than half the people we see now. Eh Jade Goody?

For the big finale, we get Corbett as 'Big Jim Jehosophat' and Barker as 'Fat-Belly Jones', American country and western singers who look like refugees from 'Woodstock', and perform numbers with lyrics that would make Madonna blush. These characters proved enormously popular and would make return appearances, as well as guest on other people's shows. For instance, 'Fat-Belly Jones' did a duet with Lulu in 1975.

After more spoof news items, it was goodnight from them both. Cue Ronnie Hazlehurst's theme tune.

Not bad for a first episode - even if some of the sketches ( notably the Interpol one quoted above ) had been done before in 'The Frost Report' - but the best was yet to come.


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