Last of the Summer Wine : You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

... I don't wanna sound like some whiny chip-on-my-shoulder yorkshireman here but you really won't understand this program unless you live in the area.

Let me explain, this program has been an appalling sitcom for about the last 20 years. The jokes aren't funny, the situations aren't funny, its basically pensioner slapstick with yorkshire accents and pretty countryside in it. If your not from the area I can't understand why you'd want to watch some old man ride a bike down a hill and crash into a dry stone wall every week for 20 years. In fairness although nearly every episode since about 1980 has been like this, the original series was much less daft.

I love the old series though, the very first, because its actually VERY close to a particular generation of men and what they do when they retire. The lifestyle really involves just finding places to go and sit together and talk crap, like in the library for instance. Infact thats a really significant piece of cultural observation that the guy who made the program (originally going to be called "the Library Mob") must've see somewhere, because in the days before Thatcher and the pit closures and the destruction of the whole fabric of yorkshrie society that it entailed, old men really WOULD spend all day in the public library's because thats the only place they could go to escape the cold! They'd buy a pint and spend 2 hours drinking it just so they could stay in the warmth of the pub, they'd buy a cup of tea in a café and spend as much time there as possible.

There are numerous little jokes and phrases that would fly right over the heads a lot of the people who watch this, especially the earlier episode. Puns and word-games in the dialect that only those steeped in it could really get. The name "Compo" for example is a commmon nickname for old men who were injured and who lived off the National Workmen's Compensation scheme, there are dozens of Compo's even in my little village!

The second childhood angle is true enough. These old men are like carefree children, frolicking on the moors and in streams, getting into trouble and talking to one another, philosophizing in a way down-to-earth unpretentious way that only old yorkshire folk and philosophise in. When I wer a lad, I used to just go randomly walking with my friends, talk about stuff, then when we were tired we'd find a patch of grass, lie down and relax for a few hours before coming home. THATS EXACTLY WHAT THESE OLD MEN IN THIS PROGRAM DO!! And we didn't used to jump into bathtubs on wheels and go rolling down hills, thats just rubbish, the things we did were much less stupid and that side of the program has really let it down.

Its hard to explain, but the joy of this program lies in the fact that its a depiction of a very local and unique way of life, and with the greatest of sincerity I can't imagine how anyone how doesn't have an innate understand of that culture could be in on that joke. Its hard to condense 2 decades of cultural experience into a user-friendly few paragraphs that could do LOTSW justice, and I've not done a very good job at it, but take my word for it this is an incredibly localized brand of humour.

Besides everyone just watches it for the countryside, which in all fairness even though I grew up in the area and am obviously bias, in achingly beautiful. If you want to experience it don't go on a silly bus tour, just go to Holmfirth Bus Station and catch a few bus's around the area and see for yourself, and whilst your there try to over-hear what the people are saying to each other, then you might get a clearer impression of what this show is about.

Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

And I don't want to sound like some elitist American, but I understand this show perfectly well. Of course the plots (if you can call them that) are increasingly simplistic, some of the actors now seem to be on auto-pilot, and the dialog is often campy, but the show has worn quite well, for one reason: old men are like this all over the world! I live in a small town in Mississippi, and our "pensioners" are just like those in Yorkshire.
And to refute your point, I don't watch LOTSW merely for the countryside, which I agree is achingly beautiful. I watch it because it's sweet, and innocent, and well-intentioned. You seem almost to be daring non-Yorkshire folk to like it, but then expressing surprise when they do.
And you're right; I've never seen old men coast down a hillside in a bathtub, or a car shaped like a hillock. But who's to say they wouldn't like to try it?
Cheers

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Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

Great post. I'm a 19 year old from Lancashire, but really love the show. I know I probably won't love it or appreciate it as much as older folk, but none the less, It's a programme 'made' for Sundays. Raining outside, me tucked up on my sofa in a blanket watching this. I love it...

"Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies"

Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

This show for a 25 year old American Who has literally traveled the globe with folks in this age group (55-80+) for the past 5 years. I can pick my friends out of any character in this show.

Yes its a little predictable, but its silliness, for a good laugh. I think it's done so well over the years because almost anyone can relate to it. Even with my normally twisted sense of Humor I still enjoy LOTSW on Friday Nights.

My ,02 Pence

You know whatever. Bunch of freaks, animals, whatever you guys are!

Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

I definitely agree that this can be understood by many people all over the world. I live in the United States and my father and I watch this every weeknight together. It is our favorite show. We love the humor, the simplicity and the idea that there are people like this ALL OVER the world.

I used to work at a convenience store where I was blessed with company of a group of elderly men who came in every morning and drank coffee. They did not have any agendas. They just came up and talked about nothing and I found great enjoyment from it. I was in my early 20's at the time and adored these men.

Now at 31, I am reminded of those good times everytime I watch the show. And I agree that there is always a Compo in every group. Ours had one.

Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

BBC America on PBS every Saturday night!

We catch Keeping Up Apperances before LOTSW, but shows are great - KUA is 'mine' and Last of the Summer Wine is my mama's.

The comedy is over the top (I'm sure you Yorkshire folk don't go round fall down hills in tubs) but that's what makes it funny!

~BeautyAriel~

Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

AN AMERICAN CALLING A BRITISH SHOW SIMPLE!!!!!!!!!! POT, KETTLE, BLACK!!!!!

Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

What's not to get? What mysterious Northern subtleties have I been missing?
Has Open All Hours been zooming over my head like an airliner also?

Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

I love it... I cant get enought of it...if it werent a little silly... why would you watch... all comedy is taking truth and "putting a light on it" .. .and maybe taking it to an extreme... but I love this show... maybe if people in the UK had to be subjected to all the useless garbage on american networks.... and reality TV... ugghhh... they would understand better why there is a hunger for something like LOSW... and yes the countryside... I can honestly say that I love the characters, the writing, the jokes, and the countryside... it is comforting to me... It reminds me that there are places in the world where people walk places,and have coffee at mom and pop stores... and maybe gossip some... I live in Jacksonville Florida. It is beautiful here... it is paradise... but, look at Jacksonville on a map... YOU CAN SEE IT FROM SPACE : ) ... you have to drive everywhere... people cant know you... and with starbucks everywhere... it runs alot of the quaint stores out of business. I am not saying I dont love the "big city"... but it is nice to be reminded that not all people on the earth share our impersonnal life.

Understand? Gabbie : ) Oh and smooches from america

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Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

how can you say that about the accents when peter sallis was born in twickenham and speaks in a middlesex accent? in fact, they all dont speak in a yorkshire accent... get a grip man!

Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

yeah your right matey ... Apart from a few thee's and thy's they do not speak in a Yorkshire accent. If they did most viewers wouldn't understand them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thT44DW4lh0 may give you a clue !!!!

Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

I have to agree to some extent with what the poster says - the Americans who say they understand it of course understand SOME of it, but they can't possibly comprehend the whole Yorkshire way of life, the dialect, terminology etc - even I, who have lived in Lancashire (the county which borders Yorkshire) all my life cannot identify with the lives and ways of old Yorkshire men, born well before the Second World War. But that doesn't mean people can't ENJOY the programme - after all, there is very little we can fully understand that we haven't been a part of ourselves, but that doesn't mean we can't get pleasure from it.

I agree with GrimReefer that as a sitcom, the programme is 'appalling'. I must have watched almost every episode, some of them several times, and apart from a couple of very mild chuckles, I have never raised a smile. I think that both the script and the ludicrous crashes into stonewalls are totally unfunny. I also agree that the programme has deteriorated, though I do not think the very early episodes, when Michael Bates was the 'third' man, were nearly as good as those featuring Brian Wilde - yes, perhaps this was a more authentic representation of how old men in that part of Yorkshire actually lived, but that didn't mean it made a good programme to watch. I thought the acting was poor and that the two librarians who were frequently seen in these early episodes, were atrocious actors.

I believe that the series should have ended once Compo died and that the programme now is absolutely unwatchably awful. I have never liked some of the newer characters, even those who go back many years, such as Smiler, Auntie Waintwright, Barry and Glenda and the two policemen - what is the point in any of these characters, and where is their humour? I think the programme was by far at its best when the main characters were just the three old guys, Nora Batty and her husband, and Jack and Ivy who ran the cafe. I have never liked the Howard and Marina saga either - okay, maybe as the wife of a husband who left me for another woman just two months ago, I am biased, but I don't see adultery as being funny in the slightest even when the characters are so clearly over the top.

To me, I watch the series for three reasons. Firstly, I find it peacefully nostalgic, a kind of refuge from the world of violence and sex with which the media bombards us these days; secondly, I adore the scenery (yes, achingly beautiful is a very apt description); and finally, I love the three main characters - Compo, Foggy and especially Norman Clegg, whose pessimistic philosophising (particularly about the awfulness of marriage) I fully endorse.

One quote out of many:-

Compo:- 'Norm - does tha think my magnetism could be slipping?'
Clegg:- 'Don't ask me - I was a total failure at romance.'
Foggy:- 'But you were married?'
Clegg:- 'That's what did it!'

In general, the programme has sublime moments - but also many dire ones. I ignore these, and just enjoy the comfort which LOTSW provides in my pretty miserable life.

Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

I agree that Americans may not entirely 'get' it but I think it's a tribute to Roy Clarke's great writing that he made such a peculiarly Yorkshire programme so universal. I'm a southerner (from London) who's lived in Yorkshire and Lancashire, and I love it. I think if you have a sympathy for 'northern' comedy you'll probably get a lot more out of it. Considering that most Britcoms are set in the south-east, Clarke did a wonderful thing in making our longest-running one so steeped in Yorkshire and 'the north'. Very interesting first post btw.

To the poster who doesn't find adultery funny: I can see why you don't, but on the other side of the coin, plenty of us can empathise with Howard!

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Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….


I'm from Yorkshire and I've never got it.

Re: You won't get it unless your from Yorkshire….

I'm in the US, Houston,TX, and love the program. Whatever language is used would be understood in any Country and enjoyed. This program will surely go down as one of the greatest. Sorry, that you can't really appreaciate and enjoy it as others throughout the TV world do.
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