Ronnie Barker dies

RonnieBarker.jpgI’ve just come back from a week in Spain where we didn’t have TV or radio, or even Internet for that matter, so I’ve relied on the old fashioned art of reading for entertainment. We’ve been in total isolation for an entire week.

Arriving home yesterday we heard the radio in the taxi saying that one of the greatest character actors and comedians Britain has ever had the honour of calling its own has passed away, the genius that was Ronnie Barker.

I used to watch The Two Ronnies with much laughter, his quick-fire, deadpan style was superb and his timing spot on. Coupled with the talents of Ronnie Corbett you had a duo that rivalled Cooke and Moore, although with less dirt and more innuendo.

The clear memory I have from that series is that of his character that would always finish Corbett’s characters sentances because he would stammer so much. The writing making each line an innuendo or straight joke in waiting and the timing delivering it perfectly. That or the always remembered and much copied news round up at the end of the show. Superb.

Then there’s the series roles he did such as Porridge or Open all hours, with Porridge going on to a movie.

There’s part of me that wonders what would have happened if he had pursued a career of character roles over comedy and how that would have turned out. Looking at his comic work to date I think that it would have been superb. A close attempt was that of Friar Tuck in Robin and Marion alongside a huge cast including Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. Or how about The Man Outside?

The BBC have an obituary and full comment on his long and hilarious career. It’s a sad day for British Comedy, TV and for movie, because he was perhaps one of the greatest character actors on the big screen we never had. Here’s to Ronnie Barker, his friends and family.

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