PERFORMERS: RONNIE BARKER

Born: September 25 1929
Died: October 3 2005

barker-ronnieby PETER TATCHELL (reprinted from LAUGH MAGAZINE #7, 1993)

Most comedians and comic actors would be delighted to star in a successful TV series. In Ronnie Barker’s case, he’s been in four shows regarded as classics … The Frost Report, The Two Ronnies, Porridge and Open All Hours.

Born in Bedford in 1929, he originally wanted to be an architect. However, whilst working at a bank in the late 1940s he got his first taste of the footlights with the local amateur dramatic society. A number of years in repertory followed before he appeared in a series of West End dramas, musicals and a revue called On The Brighter Side in 1961.

By this time, Ronnie had also been cast as a regular on the BBC radio series The Navy Lark (which began a mammoth seventeen year run in 1959). He played the parts of the grumbling Able Seaman Johnson and the inept Lieutenant Queeg of the engine room. Along the way, there was also a brief spinoff series The TV Lark.

A small part in the Jimmy Edwards television series The Seven Faces Of Jim led to regular appearances in the two sequels Six More Faces Of Jim and More Faces Of Jim. He also costarred with Leslie Phillips in a program called Foreign Affairs playing a Russian diplomat.

In the mid-1960s, The Navy Lark wasn’t Ronnie’s only radio show … he had the lead in Let’s Face It in early 1965, and a year later was featured in (Leslie) Crowther’s Crowd. 1966 was to be a momentous year for the Barker career. He’d been asked to join John Cleese and Ronnie Corbett in BBC television’s The Frost Report.

For thirteen weeks David Frost satirized aspects of everyday life under specific topics. Holidays, education, the law and love all came under scrutiny, with Cleese and the two Ronnies illustrating the subject with a series of sketches. The show was a tremendous success, due in no small part to a writing team headed by Marty Feldman and including most of the Monty Python team of several years later. A second series was shown in 1967.

Frost himself was now moving into the entrepreneurial sphere of show business in commercial television, and rewarded all three members of his team by backing them in individual ventures. Cleese would develop the ground-breaking At Last The 1948 Show, Corbett would host The Ronnie Corbett Follies, and Barker would have his own ‘comedy playhouse’, all for Associated-Rediffusion (London’s weekday franchise holder).

The six episodes of The Ronnie Barker Playhouse allowed Ronnie to portray a range of characters from a timid Scotsman and a loud-mouthed Welsh poet to a monk under silent orders. His most popular role was the eccentric Lord Rustless which he based in part on the great Fred Emney. Within a year Rustless would have his own spin-off series Hark At Barker.

By then, Rediffusion had become part of Thames Television, and Frost had helped set up the new London Weekend company in a major franchise shakeup. The two Ronnies were signed for Frost On Sunday which began two days into the new programming in August 1968. It was a continuation of the old Frost Report idea, but a more variety-orientated mixture of sketches and one liners. The program also featured a young Michael Palin (in place of Cleese) and the female parts were handled by Josephine Tewson, who would appear with Barker in several shows over the next twenty years.

The first of these was Hark At Barker, which also had David Jason, playing a dithering gardener. It too dealt with a particular subject each week, with the Rustless host role being interrupted by sketches which allowed Ronnie to be seen in a gallery of colourful characterisations. Like Frost On Sunday, it ran to a second series.

With the arrival of the 1970s, Barker embarked on a second ‘playhouse’ type series, this time called Six Dates With Barker. This batch produced a myopic removalist (who would reappear nearly two decades later as Clarence), an evil Phantom Raspberry Blower in Victorian London (subsequently reworked as a Two Ronnies serial) and a futuristic laughter-dominated society in a story written by someone called Gerald Wiley. Wiley had first appeared on the entertainment scene contributing sketches to Frost On Sunday a couple of years before, but was something of a mystery man. No one had ever heard of him, and his scripts always arrived via an intermediary. Only after months of speculation as to who he might be (and his material was invariably useable) was Gerald Wiley revealed to be Ronnie Barker. At the time he wanted his writing efforts to be judged strictly on their potential and felt if he used a nom de plume he’d get a more honest response.

In 1971, London Weekend Television was in a state of executive turmoil and there were serious thoughts it would have its franchise terminated after only a handful of years in operation. Stepping out of the mess, Barker and his fellow Frost performer Ronnie Corbett were lured back to the BBC to star in a series built specifically round them … The Two Ronnies. The show was a colourful mixture of one-liners, sketches, a ten-minute serial (usually written by ‘Gerald Wiley’) plus a spectacular musical offering near the end of each program. Added to this were a couple of guest vocalists (in the pop vein) and, in the first series, a European sight act (juggler, mime artist or the like).

The Two Ronnies was an enormous success from the start, and became a mainstay of BBC programming for nearly two decades. It also enabled its two stars to develop their particular talents. Ronnie Corbett appeared in a weekly ‘chat spot’ relating a five-minute monologue which would continually interrupt itself with tangential storylines before ending up in a time-worn joke. Barker’s solo piece would be as a bizarre spokesman for some appeal fund or government body and involve a cleverly worded routine full of puns and tricks of the language.

Being at the BBC also led to a series of radio programs titled Lines From My Grandfather’s Forehead which included a vast collection of unrelated material (sketches, poems, one-liners) written by dozens of contributors, including Harold Pinter, Spike Milligan and Michael Palm. Performed without the aid of a studio audience, the show ran two series and a Christmas special.

In between TV work with The Two Ronnies, Barker brought back Lord Rustless in a batch of sitcoms called His Lordship Entertains which he wrote under the pseudonym of Jonathan Cobbold. This time, the old duffer has converted his ancestral home into an hotel, and the storylines revolve around the farcical situations encountered by his staff and the guests.

A year later, it was back to the ‘playhouse’ format for a third time with Seven Of One. Originally it was to be Six Of One, with a follow-up series to be called Half A Dozen Of The Other, but BBC executive wisdom destroyed the joke by wanting a seventh episode for their programming. It was to be a momentous collection of playlets, yielding not one but two gems which would later lead to the sitcoms Porridge and Open All Hours.

Porridge
(expanded from the episode Prisoner And Escort) dealt with the exploits of Norman Stanley Fletcher, a ‘career’ criminal who regularly spends five years away from his family at taxpayer’s expense. Supplied with brilliantly scripted stories by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, and a supporting cast of Richard Beckinsale, Fulton McKay and Brian Wilde, it was to be Ronnie Barker’s most endearing (and enduring) success. By the end of the decade there was also a motion picture spinoff.

Open All Hours
was slower to develop, coming into its own in the 1980s after Porridge had ended. This time, Ronnie plays a North Country shopkeeper with an impediment in his speech and in his wallet. With David Jason as his nephew Granville (trapped in the environment in the same way as Harold Steptoe was a decade earlier) the penny-pinching Arkwright pursues the lust of his life, the buxom Nurse Gladys Emmanuel who lives opposite with her widowed mother. Scriptwriter Roy Clarke relied heavily on verbal rather than physical humour, although there is a sprinkling of slapstick throughout the programs.

After three series of Porridge, it was felt Fletcher should move on, or rather out of the confines of Slade Prison. Going Straight (screened in 1978) saw him back home in London trying to resist the temptation of crime with the help of his daughter Ingrid (played by Patricia Brake) and ex-cell mate Lenny Godber (Beckinsale). Though not having the magic of its parent program and lasting only one series, it did have some nice moments.

That same year, Barker joined with Corbett for a stage presentation of The Two Ronnies at the London Palladium. It was a very successful mix of sketches and musical items from the television version, some novelty acts and even had a short scene from Porridge (with series regular Sam Kelly playing his cellmate). After completing a triumphant British season, the show travelled to the other side of the world for an equally successful Australian tour in the early 1980s.

1978 was a big year for Ronnie Barker. It also saw him awarded an O.B.E. (along with his partner, Ronnie Corbett) for Services to Entertainment.

The Two Ronnies (live and on TV) and Open All Hours occupied most of Ronnie’s professional life in the first half of the 1980s but, not content to rest on his laurels, he created yet another character, an histrionic. Welshman Plantaganent Evans, for the B.B.C. in 1984. The Magnificent Evans centred on the roguish pursuits of an ebullient photographer with an Oscar Wilde turn of phrase who is assisted by his ladylove Rachel (played by Sharon Morgan).

Following their successful stage tour ‘down under’, Barker and Corbett returned in 1986 to record an antipodean version of The Two Ronnies for the Nine Network. In all, seven episodes were taped featuring much the same format as the B.B.C. shows (but with Australian vocalists taking part).

On returning home, made a brief ‘walk on’ (as Arkwright) off-stage at the 1986 Royal Variety Performance before resurrecting another of his characters (from his 1971 London Weekend series Six Dates With Barker), the short-sighted moving man from 1937. Clarence (on BBC2) traced the courtship of the character with a maid named Travers (played by Lord Rustless alumni Josephine Tewson) and the couple’s eventual settling down in a cottage in the country. Ronnie again provided the scripts (under the name Bob Ferris) and filming took place near his own home.

When the series went out (in January 1988) the show business world was stunned when Ronnie Barker handed in his notice. After four decades in the business, he’d decided to take things easy and pursue his hobby as a collector of curios. In short, to ‘stop and smell the roses’.

One of his first ventures was to recount the highs and lows of his career in an autobiography It’s Hello From Him. And afterthat, it was to be a happy retirement for Lord Rustless, Norman Stanley Fletcher, Piggy Malone, Arkwright the shopkeeper and Ronnie Barker. 

And Ronnie stayed good to his word through the 1990s, before finally agreeing to appear in a sketch programme for the new millennium along with a couple of acting roles in cinema and television movies. In 2005, though now in declining health, he also took part in a series highlighting the glory years of The Two Ronnies.

He died that October, regarded as a national treasure and mourned by comedy lovers worldwide.

 

RADIO

Floggit’s
BBC Light Programme August 17 to November 30 and December 25 1956

BBC Light Programme April 8 to August 5 1957

Variety Playhouse
BBC Home Service October 5 1957 to March 29 1958

BBC Home Service September 27 1958 to July 4 1959

BBC Home Service September 24 1960 to March 25 1961

BBC Home Service September 23 1961 to May 19 1962 (not Jan 6)

BBC Home Service October 6 1962 to May 25 1963

BBC Home Service April ? to May 30 1964

Fine Goings On
BBC Light Programme April 2 to August 13 1958

The Navy Lark
BBC Light Programme March 29 to July 12 1959

BBC Light Programme October 16 1959 to April 8 1960

BBC Light Programme November 16 1960 to March 15 1961

BBC Light Programme September 15 1961 to March 9 1962
(temporarily retitled The T.V. Lark) BBC Light Programme January 25 to March 29 1963

BBC Light Programme April 5 to May 10 1963

BBC Light Programme September 27 1963 to January 31 1964

BBC Light Programme July 11 to October 3 1965

BBC Light Programme September 4 to November 27 1966

BBC Light Programme July 2 to November 12 1967

It’s A Stereophonic World
BBC Network 3/BBC TV simulcast September 22 1962

Crowther’s Crowd
BBC Light Programme July 4 1963 (pilot edition, in Star Parade series)

BBC Home Service September 21 to December 21 1963

BBC Light Programme April 17 to June 17 1966

Not To Worry
BBC Light Programme July 31 to September 25 1964

The Starlight Hour
BBC Home Service September 19 to December 12 1964

This Is Your Jim
BBC Light Programme December 10 1964 (pilot, One Night of Jim, in Comedy Parade series)

BBC Light Programme May 27 to July 8 1965

Let’s Face It
BBC Light Programme January 8 to May 14 1965

Lines From My Grandfather’s Forehead
BBC R4 February 15 to April 5

(also Lines From My Grandfather Christmas’s Forehead December 24 1971)

BBC R4 July 9 to August 27 1972

Will Hay, Master Comedian
BBC R4 June 2 1976

Funny That Way
BBC R4 September 24 1990

Ronnie Barker at The Beeb
BBC R2 March 18 1999

 

TELEVISION

(* signifies Ronnie Barker not in all episodes)

The Seven Faces of Jim *
BBCTV November 16 to December 28 1961
The Face of Devotion/The Face of Genius/The Face of Power/The Face of Dedication/The Face of Duty/The Face of Guilt/The Face of Enthusiasm

Six More Faces of Jim
BBCTV November 16 to December 20 1962
The Face of Fatherhood/The Face of Retribution/The Face of Wisdom/The Face of Perseverance/The Face of Loyalty/The Face of Tradition

(also The Christmas Face of Jim segment in Christmas Night with the Stars December 25 1962)

More Faces of Jim
BBCTV June 28 to August 9 1963
A Matter of Amnesia/A Matter of Growing Up/A Matter of Spreadeagling/A Matter of Upbringing/A Matter of  Espionage/A Matter of Empire

How to Be an Alien *
ITV (Associated-Rediffusion) February 12 to April 1 1964

Bold As Brass
BBC1 April 4 to June 13 1964

The Frost Report
series 1: BBC1 March 10 to June 9 1966
Authority/Holidays/Sin/Elections/Class/The News/Education/Love/The Law/Leisure/Medicine/Food and Drink/Trends
(also Montreux highlights edition Frost Over England March 26 1967)
series 2: BBC1 April 6 to June 29 1967
Money/Women/The Forces/Advertising/Parliament/The Countryside/Industry/Culture/Transport/ Crime/Europe/Youth/Show Biz
(also Frost Over Christmas December 26 1967)
(see the Laughterlog profile of THE FROST REPORT in the TV section)

Foreign Affairs
BBC1 September 16 to October 21 1966

Before the Fringe *
BBC2 January 30 to March 20 1967

More Before the Fringe *
BBC2 September 18 to October 23 1967

The Ronnie Barker Playhouse
ITV (Associated-Rediffusion) April 3 to May 8 1968
Tennyson/Ah, There You Are/The Fastest Gun in Finchley/The Incredible Mr. Tanner/Talk Of Angels/Alexander

Frost on Sunday
series 1: ITV (London Weekend) August 4 1968 to January 5 1969
series 2: ITV (London Weekend) January 4 to March 29 1970 (not March 8)

Hark at Barker (spin-off of The Ronnie Barker Playhouse: Ah, There You Are)
series 1: ITV (London Weekend) April 11 to May 3 1969
The Aristocracy/Females/Britain’s Military/Etiquette/Literature/Travel/Astronomy/History
series 2: ITV (London Weekend) July 10 to August 21 1970
Music/Law/Communications/Cooking/Medicine/Do-It-Yourself/Sport

Six Dates with Barker
ITV (London Weekend) January 8 to February 12 1971
1937 – The Removals Person/1899 – The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town/1970 – The Odd Job/1915 – Lola/1971 – Come in and Lie Down/2774 – All the World’s a Stooge

The Ronnie Barker Yearbook
BBC1 March 20 1971

Ronnie Corbett in Bed
BBC1 March 27 1971

The Two Ronnies
series 1: BBC1 April 10 to May 29 1971
(with serial Hampton Wick)
series 2: BBC1 September 16 to November 4 1972
(with serial Done to Death)
series 3: BBC2 fortnightly September 27 1973 to January 3 1974
(also The Two Ronnies Old-Fashioned Christmas Mystery BBC1 December 26 1973)
series 4: BBC2 January 2 to February 20 1975
(with serial Death Can Be Fatal)
(also The Picnic BBC1 January 1 1976)
series 5: BBC1 September 4 to October 3 1976
(with serial The Phantom Raspberry Blower)(remake of Six Dates with Barker episode)
series 6: BBC1 November 12 to December 17 1977, January 2 and January 7 1978
(with serial Stop, You’re Killing Me)
(also The Two Ronnies Christmas Edition BBC1 December 26 1977)
(also compilation The Best of The Two Ronnies BBC1 August 29 1977)
series 7: BBC1 December 26 1978, January 1 1979, January 6 to February 10 1979
series 8: BBC1 November 1 to December 13 and December 26 1980
series 9: BBC1 December 5 to 19 and December 25 1981, January 2 to 23 1982
(with serial The Worm That Turned)
(also By The Sea BBC1 April 12 1982)
(also The Two Ronnies Christmas Edition BBC1 December 25 1982)
series 10: BBC1 December 10 1983 to January 14 1984
(also The Two Ronnies Christmas Edition BBC1 December 25 1984)
series 11: BBC1 February 13 to March 20 1985 (not February 27)
(also The Two Ronnies Christmas Edition BBC1 December 25 1985)
series 12: BBC1 January 4 to February 1 1986
20 Years of The Two Ronnies (compilations): BBC1 October 12 to November 30 1986
The Two Ronnies in Australia: 9 Network October 15 to November 5 1986, July 17 to 31 1987
21 Years of The Two Ronnies (compilations): BBC1 September 18 to November 6 1987
(also The Two Ronnies Christmas Edition BBC1 December 25 1987)
22 Years of The Two Ronnies (compilations): BBC1 September 2 to October 28 1988 (n Sep 30)
The Two Ronnies Sketchbook (compilations): BBC1 March 18 to April 22 2005
(also The Two Ronnies Christmas Sketchbook (compilations): BBC1 December 25 2005)

Comedy Playhouse: Idle at Work
BBC1 January 14 1972

His Lordship Entertains (sequel to Hark at Barker)
BBC2 June 5 to July 17 1972

Seven of One
BBC2 March 25 to May 6 1973
Open All Hours/Prisoner and Escort/My Old Man/Spooner’s Eleven/Another Fine Mess/One Man’s Meat/I’ll Fly You For A Quid

Comedy Playhouse: Franklyn and Johnnie
BBC1 April 23 1974

Porridge (spin-off of Seven of One: Prisoner and Escort)
series 1: BBC1 September 5 to October 10 1974
New Faces, Old Hands/The Hustler/An Evening In/A Day Out/Ways and Means/Men Without Women
series 2: BBC1 October 24 to November 28 1975
Just Deserts/Heartbreak Hotel/Disturbing The Peace/No Peace for the Wicked/Happy Release/The Harder They Fall
(and the Christmas special No Way Out BBC1 December 24 1975)
(and the Christmas special The Desperate Hours BBC1 December 24 1976)
series 3: BBC1 February 18 to March 25 1977
A Storm in a Teacup/Poetic Justice/Rough Justice/Pardon Me/A Test of Character/Final Stretch
LIFE BEYONG THE BOX: Norman Stanley Fletcher
BBC2 December 26 2003 (45 min)

Open All Hours (spin-off of Seven of One episode)
series 1: BBC2 February 20 to March 26 1976
Full of Mysterious Promise/A Mattress on Wheels/A Nice Cosy Little Disease/Beware of the Dog/Well Catered Funeral/Apples and Self Service
series 2:
BBC1 March 1 to April 19 1981 (not April 12)
Laundry Blues/The Reluctant Traveller/Fig Biscuits and Inspirational Toilet Rolls/The New Suit/Arkwright’s Mobile Store/Shedding at the Wedding/St. Albert’s Day
series 3:
BBC1 March 21 to April 25 1982
An Errand Boy by the Ear/The Ginger Men/Duet for Solo Bicycle/How to Ignite your Errand Boy/The Man from Down Under/The Cool Cocoa Tin Lid
(and segment in The Funny Side of Christmas BBC1 December 26 1982)
series 4: BBC1 September 1 to October 6 1985
Soulmate Wanted /Horse-trading/The Housekeeper Caper/The Errand boy Executive/Happy Birthday Arkwright/The Mythical Boudoir of Nurse Gladys Emmanuel

Going Straight (sequel to Porridge)
BBC1 February 24 to April 7 1978 (not March 31)
Going Home/Going to be Alright/Going Sour/Going to Work/Going, Going, Gone/Going Off the Rails

The Magnificent Evans
BBC1 September 6 to October 11 1984

Clarence (spin-off of Six Dates with Barker: 1937 – The Removals Person)
BBC2 January 4 to February 8 1988

The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything
BBC1 January 2 and 4 2001

The Gathering Storm
BBC2 July 12 2002

And It’s Goodnight From Him: A Tribute to Ronnie Barker
BBC1 December 29 2005

The Many Faces of Ronnie Barker 
BBC2 December 24 2012

My Hero: Hugh Dennis on Ronnie Barker
BBC2 May 26 2013

 

FILMS

Wonderful Things (1958 – 85 min.)

Kill or Cure (1962 – 88 min.)

The Cracksman (1963 – 112 min.)

Doctor in Distress (1963 – 102 min.)

Father Came Too (1963 – 93 min.)

The Bargee (1964 – 106 min.)

A Home of Your Own (1964 – 44 min.)

Runaway Railway (1965)

The Man Outside (1967 – 97 min.)

A Ghost of a Chance (1967)

Two Off The Cuff (voice only, 1968)

Futtock’s End (1969 – 49 min.)

Robin and Marian (1976 – 107 min.)

Porridge (1979 – 93 min.)

My House in Umbria (2003)

 

BOOKS

Ronnie Barker’s Book of Boudoir Beauties
(postcards collected by Ronnie Barker)

Ronnie Barker’s Book of Bathing Beauties
(postcards collected by Ronnie Barker)

It’s Goodnight from Him
(sketches by Ronnie Barker. Hodder and Stoughton, 1976)

Sauce
(postcards collected by Ronnie Barker. Hodder and Stoughton, 1977)

Gentleman’s Relish
(postcards collected by Ronnie Barker. Hodder and Stoughton, 1979)

Fletcher’s Book of Rhyming Slang
(by Ronnie Barker. Pan paperback, 1979)

Ooh-La-La – The Ladies of Paris
(postcards collected by Ronnie Barker. Hodder and Stoughton, 1983)

Pebbles on the Beach
(postcards collected by Ronnie Barker. Hodder and Stoughton, 1985)

Sugar and Spice
(postcards collected by Ronnie Barker. Hodder and Stoughton, 19??)

It’s Hello From Him
(by Ronnie Barker. New English Library, 1988)

Dancing In The Moonlight – Early Years on the Stage
(by Ronnie Barker. Hodder and Stoughton, 1993)

Ronnie Barker – The Authorized Biography
(by Bob McCabe. Andre Deutsch/Chameleon, 1998)

All I Ever Wrote – The Complete Works of Ronnie Barker
(sketches by Ronnie Barker, collected and edited by Bob McCabe. Essential Books, 1999)

The Authorized Biography of Ronnie Barker
(by Bob McCabe. BBC Books, 2004)

And It’s Goodnight From Him … the Autobiography of The Two Ronnies
(by Ronnie Corbett. Penguin/Michael Joseph, 2006)

Remembering Ronnie Barker
(by Richard Webber. Century, 2010)

The following are based on jokes, sketches and storylines of various Ronnie Barker series …

The Two Ronnies – But First the News
(edited by Peter Vincent. Star Books, 1977)

The Two Ronnies – Nice To Be With You Again
(edited by Peter Vincent. Star Books, 1977)

The Two Ronnies – In a Packed Programme Tonight
(edited by Ian Davidson. Star Books, 1978)

The Two Ronnies – And It’s Hello From Him
(edited by Ian Davidson. Star Books, 1980)

The Two Ronnies – Time For a Few Extra Items
(edited by Ian Davidson. Star Books, 1981)

The Two Ronnies – It’s Goodnight from Him
(edited by Ian Davidson. Star Books, 1982)

The Two Ronnies Comic Book
(by Denis Gifford. Corgi/Carousel, 1978)

The Two Ronnies Sketchbook
(edited by Peter Vincent. Star Books, 1978)

The Two Ronnies Annual
(no author credit. Brown Watson, 1979)

Porridge
(by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, adapted by Jonathan Marshall. BBC Books, 1975)

Another Stretch of Porridge
(by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, adapted by Paul Victor. BBC Books, 1976)

A Further Stir of Porridge
(by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, adapted by Paul Victor. BBC Books, 1977)

Going Straight
(by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, adapted by Paul Victor. BBC Books, 1978)

Open All Hours
(by Roy Clarke, adapted by Christine Sparks. BBC Books, 1981)

Porridge – The Inside Story
(by Richard Webber, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. Headline, 2001)

The Best of Porridge
(by Richard Webber. Harper/Collins, 2008)

 

DISCOGRAPHY

Irma La Douce
(Philips LP BBL 7274. 1958)
Ronnie is featured on 2 tracks:
Tres Tres Snob (with John East)
That’s a Crime (with John East)

On The Brighter Side
(Decca LP LK 4395/SKL 4134. 1961)
Ronnie is featured on 6 tracks:
Grounds for Divorce (with Stanley Baxter, Betty Marsden)
The House That Jack’s Building (with Stanley Baxter, David Kernan)
Table Talk (with Betty Marsden)
Auf Wiederseh’n (with Stanley Baxter, David Kernan, Bob Stevenson, Victor Duret)
A Resounding Tinkle (with Stanley Baxter, Betty Marsden, the Company)
Lord Oxshott’s Dilemma (with Stanley Baxter, Betty Marsden)

The Frost Report on Everything
(Pye LP NPL 18199. 1968)
Ronnie is featured in 7 sketches:
The Garden Fete
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
Interval
String
Big Businessman
Class System
Class System #2

A Pint of Old and Filthy
(M.G.M. LP C 8107. 1969)
They Tell Me There’s a Lot of it About
All Sorts
I Go Oompah
Billy Pratt’s Bananas
Not Round Here
The State of the Economy
Black Pudding March
Not too Tall, Not too Short
I Put it in the Hands of My Solicitor
Bang, Crash, Ooh, Aah!
I Can’t Stand By and Just Watch Others Suffer
Our Mary Ann
Nell of the Yukon
I Believe in Doing Things in Moderation

Vintage Variety
(BBC LP REC 134M. 1973)
Ronnie is featured in an extract from Crowther’s Crowd (with June Whitfield)

Fifty Years of Radio Comedy
(BBC LP REC 138M. 1973)
Ronnie is featured in an extract from The Navy Lark (with Leslie Phillips, Jon Pertwee, Stephen Murray)

Jehosophat and Jones
(Philips LP 6308 190. 1973)
Up Cat, Pole Cat (with Ronnie Corbett)
Stuttering Bum (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Gal Who’s Gonna Marry Me (with Ronnie Corbett)
Railroad Man (with Ronnie Corbett)
Dimples (with Ronnie Corbett)
Our Mary Ann (with Ronnie Corbett)
We Knew What She Meant (with Ronnie Corbett)
Nell of the Yukon (with Ronnie Corbett)
It Blows My Mind (with Ronnie Corbett)
In the Summertime (with Ronnie Corbett)
Gal from Arkansaw (with Ronnie Corbett)
Barn Dance (with Ronnie Corbett)

The Best of The Two Ronnies
(Transatlantic LP TRA 328. 1976)
Moira McKellar and Kenneth Anderson (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Brass Band (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Plumpstead Ladies Male Voice Choir (with Ronnie Corbett)
Gilbert and Sullivan (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Scouts Jamboree Show (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Russian Choir (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Boys in the Ballet (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Short and Fat Minstrels (with Ronnie Corbett)

The Two Ronnies
(BBC LP REB 257. 1976)
Highlights from series 4 (and series 3*):
Opening News (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Strange Case of Mrs. Mace (with Ronnie Corbett)
Plain Speaking
Grublian * (with Ronnie Corbett)
Dr. Spooner Revisited (with Noel Dyson)
A Doctor’s Life – 1 (with Jo Peters)
About a Bout (with Ronnie Corbett)
Closing News (with Ronnie Corbett)
Opening News (with Ronnie Corbett)
Doctors Anonymous
Jolly Rhymes (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Complete Rook (with Ronnie Corbett, Claire Nielson)
Ronnie Corbett’s Chat Spot (Ronnie Corbett solo)
A Doctor’s Life – 2 (with April Walker)
Closing News (with Ronnie Corbett)

The Two Ronnies – Volume 2
(BBC LP REB 300. 1977)
Highlights from series 5:
Opening News (with Ronnie Corbett)
Train of Events (with Ronnie Corbett, Josephine Tewson, Norman Beaton)
Mispronounciation
Put Me Down for Two (with Ronnie Corbett, Claire Nielson)
Late News (with Ronnie Corbett)
Night, Night (with Ronnie Corbett)
Cheers (with Michael Redfern)
Cricket Commentators (with Ronnie Corbett, Moray Watson)
Closing News (with Ronnie Corbett)
Opening News (with Ronnie Corbett)
All in a Days Wonk (with Ronnie Corbett, Carol Hawkins)
Sex Equality
Late News (with Ronnie Corbett)
Pan Ayres
The Castaway (Ronnie Corbett solo)
You’re Welcome, Milord (with Ronnie Corbett, Claire Nielson)
Closing News (with Ronnie Corbett)

The Two Ronnies – Volume 3
(BBC LP REB 331. 1978)
Highlights from series 6:
Opening News (with Ronnie Corbett)
How’s Your Father? (with Ronnie Corbett, Roberta Tovey, Vicki Michelle)
Ice Cream Parlour (with Ronnie Corbett)
Dr. Spooner in the Bookshop (with Dilys Watling)
Teach Yourself P.C. (with Ronnie Corbett, Paul McDowell)
The Ronnie Corbett Solo (Ronnie Corbett solo)
Limerick Writers (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Late News (with Ronnie Corbett)
The News (with Ronnie Corbett)
Mark My Words (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Restaurant (with Ronnie Corbett, Julie Crosthwait)
Trouble and Strife (with Ronnie Corbett, Claire Nielson, Rikki Howard)
More Worms
Put Your Back into it (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Closing News (with Ronnie Corbett)

The Two Ronnies – Volume 4
(BBC LP REB 394. 1980)
Highlights from series 7:
Opening News (with Ronnie Corbett)
Chacun A Son Gout (with Ronnie Corbett)
British Rail
Sid and Lil, George and Edie – Ouija Board (with Ronnie Corbett)
Conversation Piece (with Ronnie Corbett)
Council House (with Ronnie Corbett)
Closing News (with Ronnie Corbett)
Opening News (with Ronnie Corbett)
You Are What You Eat (with Ronnie Corbett, etc.)
Rupert Baird (with Ronnie Corbett)
Language Barrier (with Ronnie Corbett)
Allied Tiches (Ronnie Corbett solo)
Yes Man (with Ronnie Corbett, Valerie Needham)
Closing News (with Ronnie Corbett)

Porridge
(BBC LP REB 270. 1977)
Features two episodes:
An Evening In
Heartbreak Hotel

Ronnie Barker’s Unbroken British Record
(K-tel LP NE 1029. 1978)
Irish Medley: I’ll Have a Drink with You + Thump Thump + It Pays to Listen
Plain Speaking
The Redskins Annual Dinner
The Vicar of St. Cain and Abel
Chelsea Pensioners Medley: Madeleine + Daisy + Katy + Ivy + Mary + Phyllis Hooter’s Ball + Dolly Gray
Scottish Medley: Amazing Grace + The Ball of Kirriemuir + McTourism + The Yiddish Soldier
They Tell Me There’s A Lot of it About
Not Round Here
Pismonunciation
Welsh Medley: All Through the Night + A Girl Called Megan + The Gogogoff Eisteddofod

Going Straight / String Bean Queen
(EMI single EMI 2768. 1978)

The Very Best of Me and the Very Best of Him
(BBC LP REC 514. 1984)
Highlights from previous Two Ronnies releases:
But First the News (with Ronnie Corbett)
Plain Speaking
Mark My Words (with Ronnie Corbett)
Train of Events (with Ronnie Corbett)
British Rail
Night, Night (with Ronnie Corbett)
Limerick Writers (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Complete Rook (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Restaurant (with Ronnie Corbett, Julie Crosthwait)
The Castaway (Ronnie Corbett solo)
Language Barrier (with Ronnie Corbett)
Cheers (with Ronnie Corbett)
The Late News (with Ronnie Corbett)

The Two Ronnies
(BBC double-cassette ZBBC 1400. 1993)
Reissued as two CDs: BBC Comedy Zone 0563 495731 and ?)

The Two Ronnies – It’s Goodnight from Me …
(BBC double-cassette ZBBC 1728. 1996)

Ronnie Barker at the Beeb
(BBC 3CD 0563527706. 2004)
Ronnie Barker Introduction
Water quickie
Floggit’s
Floggit’s 2
The Navy Lark (extract)
Lines from my Grandfather’s Forehead:
Forecast
Ask No Questions
Sportsnight
Day Trip to Boulogne
Laughing Taxman
A Question from Hampshire
Justice to Scotland
Babytalk
Your Baby ‘as Gorn Dahn the Plughole
Cabinet in the Sky
Improvement Grants
The Weaker Sex
The Piano Moving Recital
Chopin in London
Three Hander
Old Man Remembers
The Road to London
Not Too Tall – Not Too Short
Opting Out
Population Control
The Duel
The Gravedigger’s Wedding
Speech Day
Alphonse Loves Lisa
I Say – Waiter!
A Remarkable Article
Marriage
Susan Simpson
Trousers
Irish Mother’s Song
Youth
Moonlight Sonata
Hamlet
Hamlet 2
Publican
What’s in a Number?
Road Reports
An English Gentleman
Frost Over England: Class
Porridge: Prisoner and Escort (extract)
Open All Hours (extract)
The Two Ronnies:
Complete Rook
Cheers
Cockney Rhyming Slang Vicar
Lillie and Edie and Sid and George
Ronnies Reminiscing About the War
Hearing Aid
Ronnies in the Bar
Country Bumpkins
Morris Men
The Frost Report: Police Training
Porridge: A Quiet Night In (extract)
Open All Hours (extract)
The Two Ronnies:
The Stars at Night – Patrick Moore’s Brother
Ronnies at the Bar
Mastermind
Beans with Everything
Swear Box
Fork Handles
Aldershot Brass Band

The Navy Lark 1 – Laughs Ahoy Landlubbers
(BBC double-cassette ZBBC 1096)

The Navy Lark 2 – Getting in the Swim
(BBC double-cassette ZBBC 1173)

The Navy Lark 3 – HMS Troutbridge Rides the Swell
(BBC double-cassette ZBBC 1250)

The Navy Lark 4 – Shanghai Surprise
(BBC double-cassette ZBBC 1327)

The Navy Lark 5 – Larking Around Loch Ness
(BBC double-cassette ZBBC 1477)

The Navy Lark 6 – All Aboard the Love Boat
(BBC double-cassette ZBBC 1592)

The Navy Lark 7 – Left Hand Down a Bit
(BBC double-cassette ZBBC 1677)

The Navy Lark 8 – Espionage on HMS Troutbridge
(BBC double-cassette ZBBC 1851)

The Navy Lark 9 – The Admiral’s Inspection
(BBC double-cassette ZBBC 2002)

The Navy Lark 10 – HMS Troutbridge Goes Dutch
(BBC double-cassette ZBBC 2136)

The Navy Lark 11 – Troutbridge Joins the Fleet
(BBC double-cassette 0563 552212)

The Navy Lark 12 – The Admiral’s Party
(BBC double-cassette 0563 553677)

The Navy Lark 13 – The Multiple Mines
(BBC double-cassette 0563 535210)

The Navy Lark 14 – The Smuggling Spy
(BBC double-cassette/2CD 0563 53625X)

The Navy Lark 15 – Going on Leave in Croydon
(BBC double-cassette/2CD 0563 494581)

The Navy Lark 16 – Stranded
(BBC double-cassette/2CD 0563)

The Navy Lark 17 – Taking Some Liberties
(BBC double-cassette/2CD 0563 510145)

The Navy Lark – Series 1
(BBC 8CD boxed set 0563 494778)                16 shows

The Navy Lark – Series 2 – volume 1
(BBC 6CD boxed set 0563 52412X)               14 shows

The Navy Lark – Series 2 – volume 2
(BBC 6CD boxed set 0563 524170)                12 shows

 

VIDEOS

Open All Hours
(BBC Video BBCV 4321)
the first three episodes (from series 1)

Porridge
(BBC Video BBCV 4319)
Prisoner and Escort
Just Desserts
The Desperate Hours

Porridge
(BBC Video BBCV 4459)
A Day Out
Ways and Means
Disturbing the Peace

The Two Ronnies: By The Sea and The Picnic
(BBC Video BBCV 4365)

The Best of The Two Ronnies
(BBC Video BBCV 4004)

The Best of The Two Ronnies
(Polygram/BBC BBCMS 012)

 

DVDs

The Frost Report is Back
Network DVD

Hark at Barker
Network 2DVD

Frost on Sunday
Network 3DVD

Six Dates with Barker
Network DVD

The Best of The Two Ronnies
(BBC DVD)
Accountant Bore (9/5)
Allotment (Wallpaper) (9/2)
The Vagabond Lover (10/3)
Nuts Milord (5/1)
Corbett Monologue No. 1 (3/3)
Humphrey and Godfrey #2 (10/5)
Archaeological Lecture (9/6)
Party (1/5)
Allotment (Ears) (8/2)
Adventure Club (6/7)
Laundry Chute (6/7)
Crossed Lines (9/1)
It’s A Duck (George and Sid) (7/2)
Corbett Monologue No. 2 (3/5)
Swedish Lesson (4/2)
Tramps (8/1)
Slapping Party (1/1)
Father of the Bride (1/7)
You Can Say That Again (11/4)
Ice Cream Parlour (6/3)
Minister of Cuts (10/4)
Mastermind (8/1)
St. Botolph’s County Dance (5/4)

The Best of The Two Ronnies – Volume 2
(BBC DVD)
Good Evening
Name Game (9/5)
Bank of Toyland (3/4)
Look Here (6/1)
Il Travatorre (5/7)
Corbett Monologue No. 1 (9/5)
Computer Check-Up (11/1)
The Day after Tomorrow’s World (5/8)
Squash (10/1)
Jaws (5/8)
Ministry for Sex Equality (5/6)
Love Me, Love My Dog (9/3)
Astrology (6/5)
Corbett Monologue No. 2 (10/1)
Ladies Choir (4/7)
News at Ton (4/2)
Goodbye from Me (1975)

The Two Ronnies – series 1
BBC 2DVD

The Two Ronnies – series 2
BBC 2DVD

The Two Ronnies – series 3
BBC 2DVD

The Two Ronnies – series 4
BBC 2DVD

The Two Ronnies – series 5
BBC 2DVD

The Two Ronnies – series 6
BBC 2DVD

The Two Ronnies – series 7
BBC 2DVD

The Two Ronnies – series 8
BBC 2DVD

The Two Ronnies – series 9
BBC 2DVD (* the “Top of the Pops” sketch at the end of episode 8 has now been censored, to remove the Ronnies playing characters based on Jimmy Saville)

The Two Ronnies – series 10
BBC 2DVD

The Two Ronnies – series 11
BBC 2DVD

The Two Ronnies – series 12
BBC 2DVD

The Two Ronnies – Christmas specials
BBC 2DVD

The Two Ronnies in Australia
Umbrella 2DVD (* episode 6 is not included)

Seven of One
BBC DVD

Porridge – series 1
BBC DVD

Porridge – series 2
BBC DVD

Porridge – series 3
BBC DVD

Porridge – series 4
BBC DVD

Porridge – Christmas specials
BBC DVD

Open All Hours – series 1
BBC DVD

Open All Hours – series 2
BBC DVD

Open All Hours – series 3
BBC DVD

Open All Hours – series 4
BBC DVD

The Magnificent Evans
BBC DVD

Clarence
BBC DVD

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