This evening, television’s longest-running situation comedy will come to a close after thirty-seven years of finding laughs, joy and wonderment at the misadventures of, as this editorial at guardian.co.uk describes them, “three childlike pensioners playing truant from real life.” Last of the Summer Wine is the favorite TV program (or favourite TV programme, to use the King’s English) of Queen Elizabeth—even her progeny, Prince Charles, expressed a fondness for the show when he presented series creator Roy Clarke with his O.B.E. (Order of the British Empire) in 2002.
It’s irresistible to imagine the royals gathered round, and reflected in, their 1976 Ferguson colour set – the Duke of Edinburgh like anarchic, foul-mouthed Compo; the Queen as stuffy, petit bourgeois Foggy; Charles mirroring the nervous, fussy Norman Clegg; and the Queen Mum as formidable Nora Batty, hauling up her laddered stockings and wielding a broom.
“No institution, however beloved, can last forever,” the essay rightfully points out—but to see such a cherished series fold its tent certainly doesn’t keep me from shedding a tear here at TDOY. Fortunately, through the magic of DVDs I can drop in on Compo, Clegg and Foggy should the need arise…I just wanted to nibble on a little bit of blog bandwidth to let them know they’ll be sorely missed here at Rancho Yesteryear.
(Update: Here’s another article from guardian.co.uk on the show’s departure…with a great photo of Peter Sallis and Frank Thornton, still alive and kicking!)
(Update 2: Tom Sutcliffe at independent.co.uk has a more jaundiced view on Summer Wine’s final bow at the curtain.)