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  • Ronnie Barker (the tall, well-built one) and Ronnie Corbett (the short but funny one) star in what I can undoubtedly say is the funniest TV program that I have ever seen in my life.

    The show usually started off with a short news item (read by both Barker and Corbett), then it was followed by some sketches (including Corbett's trademark "armchair moment", where he tells funny stories whilst going off track at the same time), and then a spoof on a serial program. Finally, it closed with the now famous catchphrase: "It's goodnight from me... And it's goodnight from him."

    My all-time favourite sketch is the spoof on popular UK quiz show "Mastermind", where the contestant (played by Corbett) is asked questions based on the subject "Answering The Question Before Last" ("What would you use a ripcord to pull open?" ... "Large flies." ... "Correct. What sort of person lived in Bedlam?" ... "A parachute." ... "Correct. What is a jock strap?" ... "A nutcase." (Get the picture now?)

    Well, in the words of Corbett and Barker (sort of): It's goodnight from me, and it's goodnight from you.
  • Between 1971 and 1987,the brilliant Ronnie Barker,and his diminutive but equally talented partner Ronnie Corbett,produced and performed arguably the perfect peak-time family sketch show in the UK.THE TWO RONNIES lacked the long lasting influence and greater World-wide success of MONTY PYTHON,and the more savage,cutting-edge style of NOT THE NINE O'CLOCK NEWS,but their most memorable sketches can still compete with the best of them,and as far as sketch humour for the whole family is concerned(albeit often laced with smut and innuendo),no programme has ever properly replaced it since it's departure.

    To the unfamiliar,virtually every TWO RONNIES show consisted of the following format:Messurs Barker and Corbett would start the programme,sat behind a desk together,starting with usually corny but undeniably funny fake news items,leading on to a solo turn by Barker,with assorted duologue's (often in pubs or drawing room parties) and sketches,Corbett performing a monologue from a comfortable armchair(usually rather bigger than him),an elaborate filmed sketch,usually musical,or sometimes a serial,then ending with more fake news before ending with "It's a good night from me.." (Corbett),"...and a good night from him" (Barker).Over it's long run,the show kept a remarkable comic consistency,only very occasionally being over-stretched,weak,repetitive or misjudged.The main reason for this was perhaps the large number of writers involved,the most notable being perhaps Barker himself,who sent in sketches under various moniker's (Gerald Wiley the best known) before being found out.

    With the show's peak years being the 1970's,there was of course much non-PC material which would be difficult to repeat three decades later,and in the compilation programme THE TWO RONNIES SKETCHBOOK (2005),it was obvious that certain modifications had to be made for more modern TV audiences.Despite this,the high comedic quality of the material was still readily apparent,as was the enormous affection for the Ronnies themselves.It was a great joy to see Ronnie Barker on British TV screens again,but it was a greater sadness when Barker sadly died later in the year.The British public were deeply moved by his passing,maybe because in one sense it truly meant the end of an era.An era when TV bosses let such great talents as the Two Ronnies,Morecambe and Wise,Frankie Howerd,Tommy Cooper,Les Dawson,et al entertain and amuse us on peak-time British TV in the 70's,whereas now execs seem to think that infesting our screens with tedious,banal,dreary and mostly pathetic 'reality' shows with such non-talents as Jordan,Sophie Anderton,Kerry Katona and Paul Burrell are what the public wants, when the fact is they actually don't.There are still talented actors,writers,singers and comedians out there.All the execs have to do is use them like before several decades ago.

    RATING- 9 out of 10.
  • For sixteen years, big Ronnie Barker and little Ronnie Corbett hit hard on the nation's funny bone with their gently subversive, often wonderfully rude comedy routines, which lampooned countless aspects of British life - pompous authority figures, eccentric middle class guests at dreary cocktail parties, shabby men (with distinctly surreal private lives) putting the world to rights over a beer or ten, ghastly restaurants with rude waiters and incompetent chefs, bumptious politicians, leery rock stars and deeply suspicious doctors. Although often regarded as a "safe" series, The Two Ronnies' best sketches often strayed toward decidedly bizarre and ridiculous Monty Python territory, which isn't surprising as several of the Pythons (together with genius upstarts like Marshall and Renwick) wrote for the series - that's when the great Ronnie Barker wasn't providing the bulk of the material himself under a number of unlikely pseudonyms! (Remember Gerald Wiley? That was him.) The musical numbers can seem dated to modern eyes, but the country and western parodies from 'Big Jim Jehosophat'(Corbett) and 'Fatbelly Jones'(Barker) were always a joy, wrapping dozens of double-entendres around some genuinely catchy tunes, as were the lesser-seen spoofs of Chas and Dave, Status Quo and even Kid Creole and the Coconuts! As with many of the 'old school' comedians, the Two Ronnies' work has endured far better than many of the 'alternative' comedians who tried to push them aside - not only that, they're still being repeated. So where's Ben Elton now?
  • screenman31 May 2008
    Warning: Spoilers
    And now, here is the news: There was a collision today in the English Channel between one ship carrying red paint, and another ship carrying blue paint.

    Both crews have been marooned.

    That's just the sort of simple, hilarious gag that typified the 'Two Ronnies'. For 15 memorable years they were a televinstitution.

    Originating for the most part in a 1960's pre-Python program called 'The Frost Report', they worked alongside that other irreplaceable icon of British comedy: John Cleese. Together, they performed an upper, middle, and lower class take on a variety of situation sketches in David Frost's program. Each gave barely a hint of what was to come.

    Both of these men were funny. Separately, they had substantial ratings in other regular sit-coms. But together, a special chemistry developed that was only ever matched by that other equally irreplaceable duo: Morcambe & Wise.

    Television has never been the same since their retirement. More modern comedians have challenged their family-friendly hour with foul-language and gross-out humour. They have supplanted rude with crude. Although the Ronnies could have you in stitches, there was nothing that you couldn't let you children hear, even if it was a little close to the bone sometimes.

    Ronnie Barker's grasp of complex script was bordering upon genius. Autocues were almost unheard of in his game. Watch them in sketches that mocked mastermind, or 'spoonerisms' and you'll know what I mean. Anyone remember the classic 'four candles' sketch?

    Look what passes current today for light entertainment and grieve. Now, comedy is about the kind of cruelty, coarseness, and vulgarity that evolved on the 'fringe' circuit or student campus. And - there being no adequate substitute for these incomparable heroes of humour, this has now become mainstream.

    It's an indictment of the times, I suspect.

    I'm sure that if we'd known it would be 'goodnight from me and goodnight from him' forever; we'd have cherished this treasure so much more.

    How I pity those who never saw them at first-hand.
  • This tape is a celebration of the Two Ronnies who are comprised of Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker, and who presented a little comedy show (96 episodes) between 1971 and 1987. This video gives only a brief taste of what the Two Ronnies had to offer during those years. They always began with a funny newscast which went into a sketch with both of them. Then came Barker portraying some sort of official explaining his plight (beautifully written by him as Gerald Wiley). Then came Corbett in a true sit-down comedy routine, and finally a glorious musical number making fun of some sort of British life with songs, costumes and the whole bit. The shame is that this video is only about an hour, which is about a show and a half. We certainly would love to have the remainder in a better "best of..." series. And maybe the both of them would spearhead their return to the video screen in more shows. Barker recently appeared on the telly after being retired for eleven years, and Corbett keeps showing up in movies, so they are alive, well, and still funny! So go ahead, buy this, and hope that there is more to come.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I very much doubt we will see a sketch show of the quality of The Two Ronnies, which ran for 17 years and attracted audiences of 19 million at its height. Classic sketches such as Fork Handles( no, handles for forks), Cheese and Onion Ice Cream and the send up of Mastermind will still be hilarious decades from now. Also hilarious were the news bulletins at the start and end of each show, the musical pieces( my favourite is where Barker and Corbett dress up as tea ladies and join the BBC orchestra), and the serials that ran in each series such as The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town and The Worm That Turned. Some reviewers aren't so keen on this part, but I always found Ronnie Corbett's chair monologue very amusing and clever.

    Also the show's musical guests were of a high standard and The Two Ronnies helped to make stars of Lynsey de Paul, the guest singer in the 1972 series, and the Nolan Sisters, who were regulars on the 1977 show. Later on, Phil Collins would appear between Genesis tours.

    One enduring trait with the Two Ronnies is, unlike many modern so called comedians, their shows are refreshingly free of bad language and are suitable for all ages and if there are any references to sex, it is done in clever innuendo.

    As a boy, always a must see show and I'm glad most reviewers still think highly of The Two Ronnies.
  • studioAT30 December 2010
    The Two Ronnies is a legendary series for so many reasons. For a long time it WAS Saturday night and was one of the few shows that the whole family could enjoy together. Even now it stands the test of time and is being enjoyed by a whole new generation.

    From the fabulous format that shows off each Ronnie perfectly to the hilarious serials and musical numbers there really is something for everyone to enjoy in this show.

    The two men have absolute fantastic chemistry and their joy of being and working together shines through in every episode.

    Credit must go down to the top notch writing and the stellar performances that Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett give making even the most absurd sketch funny and memorable.
  • When Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones spoofed 'The Two Ronnies' in a 'Not The Nine O'Clock News' sketch entitled 'The Two Ninnies', it didn't work because a) it wasn't funny and b) it was inaccurate. Ronnie Barker's beautifully crafted song parodies did not use words like 'titty' and 'bum', and never did. Smith and Jones brought out the dire 'Morons From Outer Space' in 1985, and can count themselves lucky they weren't on the receiving end of similar abuse from Corbett and Barker. Its twenty years since the series ended ( barring compilations ) but 'The Two Ronnies' is still a joy to watch. These gentlemen had an unmistakable on-screen chemistry. My favourite bits were the filmed items, such as the 'Piggy Malone' and 'Charley Farley' serials. Some of the humour hasn't aged very well admittedly, but its stood the test of time a lot better than 'The Young Ones' and 'Not The Nine O'Clock News'. Must throw in a quick mention of 'Four Candles' - has me in fits each time!
  • I have just spent an evening watching a selection of this marvellous television series and I can honestly say I haven't laughed so much in years. Right from "And Here is the news" to "and it's goodnight from him" I don't think I stopped laughing in every episode I watched. And what is more is that both Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett actually looked as though they were enjoying themselves (as I am sure they were), as they presented their show. When you compare the brilliance of this pair to the modern day comedians (if I may call them comedians), there is just no comparison. Theirs is a magic we may never see again.
  • "The Two Ronnies" is one of the funniest comedy/variety shows in British comedy history. Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett created some of the funniest sketches that were shown on television. Both were blessed with a natural wit. They complimented each other in a similar manner to Laurel and Hardy, in that they were as physically different to each other as could be but still worked so well together. Barker was the brains behind the series and wrote and collaborated on most of the material. The series lasted from 1971 to 1987 and goodness knows how many sketches. I laugh so hard every time I see them and that level of creativity only comes along once. The approach to the comedy was always to focus on character and on dialogue. Both Ronnies were very clever in their comic timing and knowing how to give the dialogue a double meaning when the sketch called for it. It was to the advantage of both comedians that they were trained as straight, dramatic actors as they created many different characters and to be as hilarious as they were. They played policemen, washer women, Canadian Mounties, officer workers, butlers and others. I enjoyed the spoofs they made in those serial programmes, simply brilliant. The song numbers they performed, they got away with because they made the songs amusing. The Two Ronnies are without doubt one of the funniest comedy teams in history, along with Laurel and Hardy, The Marx Brothers, Will Hay and Moore Marriott and Graham Moffat and Morecambe and Wise.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was only young when the Two Ronnies was first shown and I think it gets funnier with age.

    My favourite sketch has to be the Four Candles or Folk Handles sketch the word play and misunderstanding is great, another great sketch was the swear box sketch which was funny for the fact they used different sounds to cover up the swear words and left you guessing which swear words they were saying.

    Ronnie Barker was a great writer and of course used his alias Gerald Wiley to send in the sketches, Barkers ability to play on words for some of his sketches were great and very funny.

    The show had some great writers such as members of the Python team, Barry Cryer, and John Sullivan who went on to create Only Fools and Horses.

    It wasn't just about Ronie Barker though, the other Ronnie which was Corbett brought his humour to the show especially his monologues which were very funny, maybe old jokes but the way he told them and went off on a tangent as he attempted to tell the joke. One of my favourite lines from Corbett was: " I have no faith in my doctor, my wife went to him and asked if he had anything for a creaky hip joint, and he gave her two tickets to Ronnie Scotts."
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I've re-watched the entire series from start to finish, for me Messers Barker and Corbett are THE masters of comedy, there are many names in the mix, but these two are in a different league. I've not given it a ten because the Corbett monologue on a few occasions has to be skipped and some of the guest artists (Barbara Dickinson) didn't seem to fit. I digress, back to the good stuff, the sketches are painfully funny, there's never been a time in my life when A Two Ronnies DVD isn't far away, or the sketches are on Youtube.

    The favourites for me are Fork Handles, Opticians, Crossed Wires, Sweet Shop (I'll smash your teeth in 'an all,) Mastermind (Charlie's Aunt,) Pinnochio, the list goes on. I'm a lifelong fan of the Worm that turned, magical, but even better then that is 'The Phantom Raspberry blower of Old London Town,' not wonder it's got a cult following, produced by Hammer Horror, with David Jason's raspberries, it's hilarious, my all time favourite, as a child I used to be terrified of it, I can understand why.

    Two magical performers that truly came up with the goods, 9/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It may come as a surprise to some to learn this but I am not really an avid fan of 'The Two Ronnies'. Already I can vision your jaws opening 'Tex Avery' style in amazement. Don't get me wrong, some of the sketches I find genuinely well written and performed, others I feel are overlong and unfunny.

    Each episode commenced with Barker and Corbett sitting before a studio audience, cracking off gags ( which Barker prefaced with ''And in a packed programme tonight!'' ) before moving on to sketches and musical items. Some of the best sketches included Corbett walking into an ice cream parlour and asking for such ludicrous flavours as salt and vinegar or cheese and onion, much to the bewilderment of the proprietor. A very funny 'Mastermind' spoof had Barker as Magnus Mackisson and Corbett as a contestant whose chosen subject is 'Answering Each Question Before Last'. There was also a hilarious 'Top Of The Pops' spoof entitled 'Plop Of The Flops' which featured a blacked-up Barker in drag as Big Momma belting out 'I'm Your Big Fat Momma And I'm Blacker Than A Black-eyed Pea!'. The best of all of course was 'Four Candles' in which a none too bright customer asks a shopkeeper for fork handles but the shopkeeper mishears him and thinks he is asking for four candles. The comic misunderstanding escalates from then on. 'The Two Ronnies' was also home to the famous 'Phantom Rasperry Blower Of London Town'.

    Less amusing were many of the musical items, as well as Corbett's dire armchair monologues. Appearing as guests were Robin Bailey, Stratford Johns, Claire Nielsen, Josephine Tewson, John Clesse, Julia McKenzie and Patricia Routledge to name but a few. Musical acts included The Nolan Sisters, Elton John, Barbara Dickson, Chas & Dave and Lyndsey De Paul. Ronnie Barker wrote many of the sketches himself under the pen name Gerald Wiley.

    There was no denying that 'The Two Ronnies' was hugely popular but personally I could only take it in small doses. Even so, it is miles funnier than some of the more recent guff that taints our screens today, namely 'Little Britain'.
  • As for many Brits of my age, they were the standard Saturday night fare of my teens, and the show produced some of the classic sketches listed by others - although I noticed that nobody mentioned the recurring "Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town", including the delectably-endowed Maddy Smith and written by Spike Milligan.

    The format was slick, predictable, and gave both performers the chance to exercise their differing talents (I recently watched a couple of episodes and was surprised to find that Corbett's "sit-down chat" seems to have dated the least). As with all sketch shows though, the quality varied, and some of the later editions strained for laughs a bit. Luckily for you young 'uns, you don't have to plough through the dross to get to the gems, because they *are* memorable. All you have to do is say "Four candles" to someone of my generation, and they know what you're talking about.

    I'd put it in the second rank of British comedy - in the mix with Dave Allen and Benny Hill and just a smidge behind Morecambe and Wise. Not quite up there with Python or Blackadder, but good wholesome fare done by a couple of real old pros.
  • Other British variety TV shows I've seen such as "Monty Python's Flying Circus", "Dave Allen At Large", and "The Benny Hill Show" had both good and bad parts. But I've seen this show several times and I never saw one joke that made me laugh. In fact, I found the whole show plain stupid.

    These two performers appeared in other British shows and they did okay, but they bombed in this show. Who wrote their material? It seems that whoever did must have made a bet as to who could come up with the stupidest and unfunniest jokes possible.