I have to admit I have a lump in my throat, as news comes in that probably the most inspiring writer and actor has died. Ronnie Barker, great stalwart of the comedy industry, has finally passed away leaving many a person upset this morning. The king of comedy throughout the 70s and 80s, his programmes showed how a bittersweet comedy was possible, be it set in a prison or in a corner shop.
His teaming up with Ronnie Corbett gave him the chance to shine as a comedy writer, writing gems that no one else could even come close producing. A great wordsmith, he would often write pieces that play on the English language, enabling him to do monologue sketches with great fluidity and expertise.
His comic acting first came to light in such programmes as the “Frost Report,” before moving on to his most famous role as Fletch in Porridge in 1974. Although the writing was not his, he showed real skill as the hardened streetwise convict. The teaming up with Richard Beckinsale made it all the more poignant as he became the father figure to someone that had simply come off the rails.
Moving on to the all time classic Open All Hours produced a pairing that will never be forgotten. The two most appreciated comic actors were to play side by side, with the teaming up with David Jason. He was famous for his stutter as Arkwright, and submerged himself into the role apparently a lot of the stuttering is adlibbed. The teaming up worked so well, who cannot watch fondly as the characters stood out proudly in each and every episode.
Later life saw him retire to his antiques shop, his life’s dream. His complete disappearance from the spotlight was short lived as his former colleagues rallied around to get him to receive his lifetime achievement award, something he never thought he deserved.
Goodbye Mr. Barker, may you rest in peace.
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