Open All Hours Christmas special: is no TV classic safe from being revived, reheated – or ruined?

It seems telly bosses would happily screen Rising Damp without Rigsby and probably Father Ted with no Father Ted

Share
Related Topics

They’re bringing back Open All Hours. Terrific. Why not? It’s only been 30 years. Good on the BBC.

The classic corner shop sit-com is being revived this Christmas, and I’ll tell you this for free (which is less than Arkwright would have charged): if my nana even thinks about trying to blag the best seat on the sofa while it’s on, she’s being booted straight into a beanbag.

Of course some churlish curmudgeons might say turning to a show last screened in 1985 is a desperate attempt to improve festive viewing figures; and they might suggest such long-gone greats should be allowed to rest in peace instead of being dragged into an era they don’t belong.

But such clowns ignore two important questions which need answering: does Lynda Baron still look hot in a nurse’s uniform now she’s 74? And did shop assistant Granville, played by David Jason, ever get to take over old Albert Arkwright’s store?

Personally, I never thought he would. It seemed to me a bloke who continually lost a fight to a till wouldn’t stand much chance in a battle with the big four supermarkets. In an age where Tesco would open an Express in your airing cupboard if they could, I imagined Granville wouldn’t last long.

Turns out I was wrong. Seems our hero had hidden acumen all along. The new episode will indeed see him running the shop.

A shame, of course, script writer Roy Clarke has decided to kill off Arkwright himself. But then, as I understand, circumstance rather forced his hand. You know, what with actor Ronnie Barker now being dead and all.

Don’t get me wrong, I bow to no-one in my love of Seventies sit-coms. Shakespeare himself, I’d happily argue, would have been proud to have series two of Porridge on his CV. But how sad, in 21st century Britain, no TV classic is safe from being revived, remade, rebooted, rehashed and reheated – or, to put it more succinctly, ruined. How sad we’ve had to witness Ant and Dec p**s over the legacy of The Likely Lads, Ray Winstone soil the memory of The Sweeney, and – for the love of God! – Gladiators brought back minus Jet.

See, it seems to me, telly bosses would happily screen Rising Damp without Rigsby and probably Father Ted with no Father Ted. But anything so maverick as an original idea? Eeek, less interested.

Which is a joke, is it not?

Because while it’s boring to rant about popular culture – one has almost always had to dig beneath the mainstream to find true gold – wouldn’t it be nice if our terrestrial channels took a little more inspiration from the classics while taking a little less of the material? Which is to say, wouldn’t it be nice if they spent less time bringing back once-popular programmes, and spent more energy honing original ideas, nurturing young talent and encouraging fresh concepts?

Then they might just come up with something to rival those old shows, no?

And we – me and you – might live in a world where we could remember The Likely Lads when they were likable, and The Sweeney when they didn’t have automatic weapons, and Arkwright, not as a photo on a wall as he will be in the new Open All Hours, but as the living, breathing, laugh-a-minute miser overcharging for everything his little shop stocked.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Urgent - Cheshire - £25p/h

£20 - £25 per hour: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a hu...

Sauce Recruitment: Partnership Sales Executive - TV

competitive + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: An award-winning global multi-media...

Sauce Recruitment: Account Director

£26017.21 - £32521.19 per annum + OTE $90,000: Sauce Recruitment: My client is...

Recruitment Genius: Linux Systems Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of UK Magento hosting so...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

I loathe the term ‘hard-working people’. It's patronising, snobbish and wrong

Simon Kelner
Auschwitz death camp survivor Jadwiga Bogucka, 89, holds a picture of herself from 1944  

Holocaust Memorial Day: This isn't the time to mark just another historical event, but to remember humanity at its worst

Jennifer Lipman
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea