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Last on

Christmas Day 2011 18:00 BBC Radio 2

Duration:
57 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 25 December 2011

Sir David Jason looks at how comedy has changed, since his earliest memories of The Goon Show, and serves up classic moments from an array of festive programmes past and present.

Whether it's Morecambe and Wise, Only Fools and Horses or The Royle Family, the Christmas edition of a hit comedy show has always been a hugely anticipated occasion and David holds a special place in the heart of the nation through his own memorable portrayal of Derek Trotter.

Quotes are taken from The Green Book, a 1949 BBC Variety Policy Guide For Writers and Producers, before David looks at early forms of cheek and innuendo in the shape of Round The Horne. He also considers how shows like Hancock's Half Hour made the move from the wireless to the small screen; and how 'Til Death Do Us Part incorporated social and political comment, as well as providing laughs.

David celebrates the success of sitcoms like Dad's Army, Steptoe And Son, and Last Of The Summer Wine, before looking at how Morecambe and Wise became the kings of Christmas comedy. And other double acts followed in their wake, including The Two Ronnies, Fry and Laurie, French and Saunders and, more recently, the writing partnership of Gervais and Merchant.

As well as clips from festive favourites, the programme features interviews with a host of stars, writers and executives involved in the commissioning and production of these comedy classics. These include Bill Pertwee; Ronnie Corbett; writers Roy Clarke [Last Of The Summer Wine], Carla Lane [Bread], Galton & Simpson [Hancock's Half Hour, Steptoe And Son]; and producer Jon Plowman [Vicar Of Dibley, The Office, and many more].

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