Comedy classic not too old for stage

Last of the Summer Wine THE Cosmopolitan Players in Leeds renowned since the early 1980s for putting on comedy plays and popular titles have chosen one of the most popular BBC series for their spring production. Roy Clarke’s Last of the Summer Wine ran as a TV series from November 1973 to August 2010 making it the longest-running comedy programme in Britain and the longest-running sitcom in the world. In this new stage adaptation, Foggy, Clegg and Compo are reunited for one last adventure. Foggy has designs on winning the affections of Constance, Nora Batty’s niece and the long-suffering fiancée of the hapless Gifford Bewmont. With the help of Clegg, Foggy invites the ladies around for an evening’s entertainment but the duo are unaware that a mysterious flasher is stalking the local community. Gifford, a special constable, has pledged to apprehend the flasher and has mounted all-night patrols in the village. While awaiting the arrival of the ladies, Foggy is dismayed when Compo turns up unannounced and proceeds to wreak havoc on Foggy’s careful preparations as Hifford’s efforts to capture the flasher lead to mistaken identities and even more chaos. When the flasher is eventually unmasked it turns out his intentions are benign, but not before our heroes are nearly undone by the enveloping madness. I was impressed by the opening sequence of the play with a short video filmed in Holmfirth (the setting for the TV series) by Bryan Craven with the three main characters of Foggy (Michael Wilkinson), Clegg (Graham Siddle) and Compo (Terry Kelly) walking up one of the cobbled streets and shown on the large screen at the front of the stage. The curtain then lifted to reveal Clegg’s dining room where the action of the play itself takes place. There are a total of seven actors in the production. As well as the three mentioned above, Richard Hunt plays Gifford, Lee Sharrat is Flash, local journalist Liz Coggins performs the role of Nora Batty whilst Gillian Myers is Constance. As befits a piece of writing from Roy Clarke, there is much humour in the storyline and this is well brought out by the three main characters with much slapstick including in particular Compo and Flash hiding under the dining table. I thought these three actors worked very well together much in the same mould as Brian Wilde, Peter Sallis and Bill Owen. They were very well supported by Richard, Lee, Liz and Gillian whose contributions combined to make this a very enjoyable evening for the audience at The Carriageworks. It is just a pity that the theatre was only 50% full on the opening night, and I hope it picked up for the remainder of the week. by John Burland, Ilkley Gazette

Carnival Memories Revived

CORLEY GAURDIAN, Published on Wednesday 14 November 2012 16:05 A few Retro and Flashback readers have been in touch about some photos of Adlington Carnival which we published in the paper last month. Jeanette Lowe spotted herself in this pictiure (right), and emailed the Guardian to name a few of the other people in the picture.
Adlington Carnival-photo by Ken Chapman, She said: “The photos were taken in August 1987, when Bill Owen (Compo) and Kathy Staff (Nora Batty) from Last of the Summer Wine were the star guests. “The man on the far left was Coun Idris (Ted) Rees, president of the carnival committee, the ladies in the centre were the Mayor of Chorley, Coun Mrs Edna Shone, JP, and the Mayoress of Chorley, Mrs Jeanette Lowe (myself). “The Town Mayor of Horwich is on the far right on the photo.” And reader Eric Cadman recognised the back of his dad’s head in the photograph. The late John Cadman is wearing a blue jumper in the shot, and can be seen taking a photograph of the people on the stage. “You can’t miss that bald patch,” Eric said. “It made me chuckle a lot when I saw it. “My dad went to a lot of festivals in the area and enjoyed taking photographs. “He was a boiler man at Eaves Lane Hospital for a long time, and people used to call him Doctor John. “He was also Father Christmas at a garden centre, and lived in Higher Wheelton.” Eric identified the Carnival Queen as being Monique Duffy, and said the Princess was called Joanne, and the Rosebud was named Nicola, but he doesn’t know their surnames.