May 1, 2016
The recent demise of Ronnie Corbett and the subsequent documentaries about his numerous television appearances prompted me to investigate the first sitcom where he was the star rather than a supporting actor. “No that’s me over here” was even worse than I could have imagined. The surviving episodes from London Weekend TV originally shown in 1970 (earlier episodes are lost) were written by the usually safe hands of Barry Cryer and Graham Chapman but I got the impression that Ronnie was making stuff up as he went along. He chattered away non-stop just as he did when sitting in his armchair for those Two Ronnies “monologues”.
I puzzled why Ronnie (and his neighbour Henry McGee) went to work in dark suits and bowler hats. The place where they worked didn’t seem a “city” environment that would require such dress. In fact Ronnie never seemed to do any work at all. He just spent the day in the office acting like a naughty schoolboy. Plots of the three episodes I’ve watched so far involve Ronnie trying to act younger than he is in a futile attempt to date one of the office girls despite being married, going to the pub straight from work every night and getting very drunk despite his wife having a meal waiting for him and…..oddest episode of all…inviting neighbours round hoping for a “swinging orgy” despite his wife originally not being keen on the idea.
Why does his wife put up with him? I guess that’s how the world was in 1970. Men were in charge and women knew their place. 1970 was also the year when men’s fashion was extremely odd and when mini skirts were at their shortest. Ronnie seems to be constantly smoking and drinking and there is also some swearing. I wonder what time of night the episodes were originally shown?