Beds, Herts & Bucks

Two Ronnies 'Four Candles' sketch recreated in 280-year-old shop

Stevie Loft, Jim Oldham and David Odell
Image caption Stevie Loft, Jim Oldham and David Odell said the "Four Candles" sketch is often mentioned by customers

A classic Two Ronnies sketch has been recreated by residents of a town who wanted to "shine a light" on a 280-year-old shop.

Odell & Co has been trading in the same spot on Stony Stratford High Street in Milton Keynes since 1740.

Vicky Holton, who has lived in the town all her life, said the hardware shop had "always reminded" her of the "Four Candles" sketch.

Co-owner David Odell said the sketch was mentioned by customers every week.

"I was taken aback by the video because I knew the original Two Ronnies sketch and it's often mentioned in the shop," he said.

"Never a Saturday goes by without a couple of people mentioning fork handles."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe sketch first aired in September 1976

Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker's BBC sketch show The Two Ronnies was one of the most successful of the 1970s and '80s.

It ran from 1971 to 1987 and the "Four Candles" episode was first aired in September 1976.

Image copyright Odells
Image caption Sean Calvert and Dave Pibworth playing the roles filled by Corbett and Barker in the original

Miss Holton was behind recreating the iconic sketch in the hardware shop and enlisted the help of a local videographer and actors from the Milton Keynes amateur dramatics scene - with Sean Calvert and Dave Pibworth playing the roles filled by Corbett and Barker in the original version.

Miss Holton herself makes a brief appearance, as does Mr Odell.

She said she hoped the video would "shine a light on a marvellous shop, especially as High Streets are at risk in all towns".

"A similar hardware shop a few miles away closed down a few years ago and it was so sad," Miss Holton said.

"Odell's has been around since 1740 and it's a real community hub. They've got a really good ethos, fantastic service and always sell tickets to local events in the shop."

Image copyright Odell & Co
Image caption David Odell's great grandfather bought the business in 1863

Mr Odell, who owns the shop alongside his brother Richard, said his great grandfather bought the business in 1863 but it had been trading in the same building since 1740.

"We are a very old established business," he said.

"For it to have been in the family since 1863 is quite a major feat."

The 66-year-old said he believed the business had lasted the test of time as it "changed with all the changes that were thrown at it".

"During the Victorian period after my great grandfather bought the business we had the industrial revolution and things were becoming much more mechanised and manufacturing changed," he said.

"We adapted to gas coming into the town, electricity coming into the town, the addition of the motor car and we're still here striving to make a living and keep the local people of Stony Stratford happy and buying what they need."

Image copyright Odell & Co
Image caption David and Richard Odell are the fourth generation to run the family business
Image caption Odell & Co as it stands today is a well-loved and well-used shop in the centre of Stony Stratford

Mr Odell said the introduction of the internet had made things "much more difficult" for business, but he insisted: "One has to be positive about the future."

Despite the convenience of shopping online the store attracts new customers regularly.

One customer who recently visited the 280-year-old shop for the first time is Bram Davies, who has moved into a property which was occupied by its previous owners for 40 years.

"I was clearing out the house and found items from decades ago with Odell written on them so I had to come in," Mr Davies said.

Image caption Many fixtures in the store date back to its early days, including drawers with hand-written labels

More on this story