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The Last of the Summer Wine

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David Thair | 15:25 UK time, Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The boys from the dales - and a bathThis is sure to come as sad news for fans across the world, but it has been announced that this summer's Last of the Summer Wine will be... the last.

The press release says:

Last Of The Summer Wine is an affectionate comedy about people in the autumn of their years. Every single episode has been written by Roy Clarke OBE and produced and directed by Alan J W Bell. The series is the world's longest-running sitcom, having clocked up over 30 series as well as several Christmas specials. It debuted on the BBC in 1973 and over the years has featured a host of famous faces including Eric Sykes CBE, Dame Thora Hird and of course the inimitable Bill Owen as Compo Simonite. The current series still features Peter Sallis OBE as Norman Clegg alongside several other eminent cast members including Russ Abbott (Hobbo), Frank Thornton (Truly), Brian Murphy (Alvin) and Burt Kwouk (Entwistle).

Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One, said: "Last Of The Summer Wine has been part of BBC One for nearly 40 years. This wonderful final series is a fitting farewell to these much loved characters and I am delighted some of the channel's other heritage brands will be helping to say goodbye in style."

Cheryl Taylor, Controller, Comedy Commissioning, said: "It is a testimony to the wit and warmth of the characters that Roy Clarke originally created that this amazing series has endured over several decades. The BBC feels enormously privileged to have played host to its many charms for such a long time and we very much respect the affection in which it is held.

"It is very tough to have to call time on such a cherished institution but we are very sincere in our gratitude for, and admiration of Last Of The Summer Wine. It is the undisputed champion of long-running comedy series. We would like to thank Roy Clarke, Alan J W Bell and all the cast members for their wonderful achievement and for their dedication to the show."

BBC One will celebrate the end of the long-running series with special editions of Countryfile and Songs Of Praise which will come from Holmfirth, the village in Yorkshire where the series has been filmed since it began in 1973.

What are your favourite moments and characters from the series?


  • Comment number 1.

    No Sunday night sitcoms left on BBC One now (and very few on any other nights).

    The channel which once brought us Sunday night hits such as Last of the Summer Wine, Only Fools and Horses, One Foot in the Grave, Bread, Open All Hours, Keeping Up Appearances, Hi-De-Hi etc now contents itself with soporific light factual such as Countryfile and Antiques Roadshow.

  • Comment number 2.


  • Comment number 3.

    I really think the B.B.C.has lost the plot.
    While we are inundated with programmes for the younger generation,
    the only comedy programme to cater for the tastes of the older
    generation is axed.
    Doesn't 37 years of a faithful group of viewers tell you
    something? The so-called fashionable alternative comedies have
    come & gone but Summer Wine has stood the test of time.

  • Comment number 4.

    The light entertainment of BBC has given me many hours of enjoyment. I'm American, and detest the drivel produced here. I've bought many British DVD's and have made several trips to the UK, just because of many of the shows I've seen. The new viewing I'm seeing on BBC looks just like the American garbage being produced, and I think it's sad that the BBC executives have become a sell out to the fake Hollywood pap being produced. BBC America has become just another American channel not worth turning on.

  • Comment number 5.

    The BBC are losing the plot more and more. Why do they consider it progress to get rid of such highly successful entertainment. If it is good and it works don't fix it. Unsurprisingly, whenever these things happen at the BBC, the name of Jay Hunt is always to the fore. I wonder if it is more to satisfy her own ego and justify her huge salary that she feels it essential to keep her name in the public eye. She makes too many mistakes and this is yet another.

  • Comment number 6.

    The BBC charter, to "Inform, Educate and Entertain" has over the past few years fallen short of the mark, and with the demise of "Last of the Summer Wine" and other programs of its quality, the BBC has lowered its production standards to the lowest common denominator. While the News Service is second to non, particularly the World Service News, and the Educational output remains at a reasonable level, we are given a diet of total drivel and minimum price "shows" as entertainment. The BBC is the "Voice of the Nation" and as such should return to the high quality programs that it is so good at. Historical Drama, Good Sit Coms. etc. Give us back our light entertainment, and remember who is paying your salary and who actually owns the BBC. The majority of the Nation is not under 30 years of age.

  • Comment number 7.

    There are many reasons this is a shocking decision. Seven in fact according to this.

  • Comment number 8.

    Obviously there was not enough sex and swearing in it for the modern BBC. Compo's occasional "Bog Off" was just too tame.

    The end of LOTSW is the end of an era of great comedy on British television.

    So, another reason to leave the BBC. At least we can still watch LOTSW on Gold.

  • Comment number 9.

    8. At 10:24am on 11 Jun 2010, Cheryl Taylor wrote:

    "The simple truth to our decision is, like many great series it was felt that the show has now reached a natural end, and we wanted to bring this record breaking series to an elegant close rather than risk it petering out without any kind of fanfare.

    There is a huge affection for Last of the Summer Wine and also a sincere recognition of Roy Clarke's amazing achievements in terms of penning every single episode and we plan to celebrate in style with Roy, cast and crew when the series is transmitted shortly.

    I am really delighted that some of BBC One's other heritage brands - Songs of Praise and Countryfile are also giving a well deserved nod to the series and Roy, Alan JW Bell and others will be contributing to these shows."

    I join with many of my friends in denigrating how BBC is treating what has been for it a "Good and Faithful Servant" over many years.

    Ms Taylor says "we wanted to bring this record breaking series to an elegant close rather than risk it petering out without any kind of fanfare."

    Where is the "elegant close"? It is concluding with a very short series which was filmed without cognisance of the fact that it is to be the last one. Please do not insult our intelligence, Ms Taylor. Some of us have been around longer than "Last of the Summer Wine" itself.

    And where is "any kind of fanfare"? I do not share Boilerplated's (12) views on Countryfile (well, might query its being "heritage" exactly) and Songs of Praise. But their "giving a well deserved nod to the series" do not constitute an "elegant close" or "any kind of fanfare".

    I noted recently ITV finished another long standing favourite, "A Touch of Frost". But I would suggest that unlike BBC's simply ditching "Last of the Summer Wine" that was done elegantly and fittingly with a two-parter aired over a weekend. Main point might be that it was produced knowing it was to be the last.

    Some of my friends have suggested a fitting "fanfare" would be a final Christmas Special. I'll go along with that. But an alternative would be a documentary "37 Years of Last of the Summer Wine" which could reprise right back to the beginning and particularly cover the final years since "30 Years of Last of the Summer Wine".

    Ms Clarke says, "There is a huge affection for Last of the Summer Wine and also a sincere recognition of Roy Clarke's amazing achievements in terms of penning every single episode". Sorry, Ms Clarke, we ain't seen any affection by the upper echelon of the BBC for "Last of the Summer Wine" in recent years and there is no recognition of Roy Clarke's amazing achievement if he is not allowed to pen a fitting closing to his great creation.

  • Comment number 10.

    I feel the BBC is all about quantity rather than quality these days,a typical day on BBC 1 currently is 8-10 hours of news and current affairs,6-8 hours of repeats and few old films leaving very little space to fit in any quality programming, let alone a 30 minute harmless comedy safe for all ages to view which took up 5 hours a year of transmission time.
    The BBC should be begging the Writer/Producer/Cast & Crew to keep it going as they have nothing else to compare with gentle humour,stunning scenery and cast that deserve a lot lot more than being thrown permanently onto the cutting room floor
    The very least the BBC could do is commission a final special to thank the loyal fans,of which there are still millions for their support since 1973,rather than a reality show attitude of waving finger and saying "Your Fired"

  • Comment number 11.

    Oh dear and whoops! In free flow in my last posting (#9) and muddled names. In two places in last paragraph "Ms Clarke" should, of course, read "Ms Taylor". Mea culpa.

  • Comment number 12.

    My family and I have been watching Summer Wine since the early 90's on Canadian TV. If BBC wants to let the world know they are steering towards a more youthful American market, so be it. But for goodness sakes, the least you can do is to give Summer Wine a final send off with a Christmas special. It would be a gift to both the fans and the cast.

  • Comment number 13.

    i been watching last of the summer wine since it started and grew up watching this on a weekend and for Roy Clarke has made some 5 star well wearth watching programs and last of the summer wine gets a 5 star rating from me.

    sadley the shows comming to a close and the bbc will have nou't left for me to watch as i have stopped paying for channels as they kept repeating the same things over and over again and now the free channels are doing the same it's doing my head in

    yet all as i can say is that if it was last of the summer wine then no way would i stop watching it as in a way when i was little i used to walk around with tracksuit bottoms on with holes in them and show laces to keep the up and t shirts were a bit raggy and my coat was practically falling to bits so in a way i was like bill owen aka compo who is sadley missed along with cathy staff aka nora batty as this past week i started to watch the very first episodes of last of the summer wine a it got me thinking at what it was like when i was little by having bath for school the next day then having supper while watching it on sunday then going to bed after it for school so after they take last of the summer wine off the only thing the bbc have left for me to watch is doctor who

    one last thing they should make a mixed program of last of the summer wing going from the begining all the way through to the last one showing the best bits and if this is the last of the wummer wine there doing or done then they should have a big send off with all the cast now and the cast that have sadley past on


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