The Very Last Of The Summer Wine Review: Goodbye To Very Old Friends

August 27, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

THE VERY LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE: Sunday 29th August, BBC1, 8pm ALERT ME

Whether you greet the final episode of Last of the Summer Wine with utter indifference or a quivering bottom lip, two things are true of this age-old comedy: 1. It has been an epic and hugely popular television show and deserves homage. 2. The cast are older than and now is probably a good time to call it a day. This final episode of the last ever (31st!!) series marks the end of this longest-ever-running programme and, as usual, it is hard to suppress at least the odd giggle at the mischief these oldies get up to.

Created as a submission for the BBC Comedy Playhouse in 1973, Last Of The Summer Wine has been running for thirty seven years. It reached its peak in popularity in the late 1970s when the programme was being watched by around a third of the TV watching nation (17 people) and in this final ever episode, we witness the usual japes. Howard (Robert Fyfe) and all his pals are trying desperately to win Pearl (Juliette Kaplan) back, although she doesn’t seem too keen on the idea. Any progress that Howard makes is jeopardised when Marina (Jean Fergusson) turns up to the wedding they are all looking particularly hot in a pink get up. Will Howard be able to keep his hands off her and, more importantly, will Pearl spot his wandering eye?

After catching two policemen with their trousers down in the show’s usual slapstick style, we wave goodbye to the characters as they set off on a doddery, old bus (potentially not quite as old as the characters themselves) for a last trip to the Pennines. Clegg (Peter Sallis) utters the final words of the 37 year-old show: “did I lock the door?? and we leave them to go on their merry way to the grave.

It has to be said, Last Of The Summer Wine isn’t exactly my (nor anyone under the age of 40′s) bag. As an ending to such an institution, though, it is well worth watching and should – at the very least – raise the odd smile. The boys/old men are a lovable bunch and a generation of viewers will be sad to see them go. Whilst it might not be your (or my) favourite show, it deserves respect. Last Of The Summer Wine…we salute you.

Gerry Buike says:

Sunday’s Songs of Praise (29/08/2010) provided a more suitable finale to Last Of The Summer Wine Series, than the actual episode, which was very ordinary for such an auspicious occasion.
By the way, please can you tell me what happened to ex. “On The Buses” star – Stephen Lewis, who just seemed to disappear from Last of the Summer Wine without any comment or information.
Thanks,
Gerry Buike

Jac says:

I used to watch this as a little kid in the 70′s and 80′s but drifted away in the 90′s. I think when Foggy left I lost interest really, the original three were the best days of this show. Still my grandparents never got bored of it.

I have seen some of the modern era episodes and they are so bland & inoffensive they border on soporific. If you watch some of the early 70′s episodes you can see it was a totally different show, a darker edge to it.

For me watching the show is nostalgic, I grew up not far away from Holmfirth in a similar setting and the show reminds me of my childhood. I think it’s a good time to end it while Peter Sallis, the only real link to the shows heyday, is still healthy. I think it’s fitting that he should have the last of the words.