Summer Wine On-line

Welcome to the official web site of the Summer Wine Appreciation Society, in partnership with Holmfirth Web. This is our tribute to the world's longest-running TV comedy series which is filmed in the Holme Valley, and surrounding villages.

Roy Clarke
The shot of writer Roy Clarke from the 1970s article. The caption says: "Sitting comfortably in his study. Roy Clarke's scripts are written in pencil - a local typist produces the finishes manuscripts."

 

SPOTLIGHT ON ROY CLARKE

Many thanks for the superb e-mail revealing interesting details about Roy Clarke, writer of the famous Last of the Summer Wine series, filmed in the Holme Valley. There are some fascinating insights into Roy plus his thoughts on Holmfirth as the location for the hit series. The notes are taken from a profile on Roy, which is believed to have appeared in a BBC house magazine in the late-1970s. The article - plus a photo attachment of Roy - was sent in by Jason Spears, who was connected with the filming in the very early days. Many thanks again for the details. Read the revealing story on our popular Summer Wine On Line section. Not many people know this. But the article revealed that Roy was a former policeman near Sheffield…and also penned the popular 1970s sitcom PC Penrose!

Here are some of the details from the original 1970s feature, edited down for space reasons:

Roy started his writing career with novels but changed course when a police thriller was accepted by BBC Radio. Alan Ayckbourn, now a famous playwright, worked for the BBC at the time and was Roy's first producer.

Breaking into the TV scene came in the late 1960s when he was part of a team writing the popular Troubleshooters TV series. Remember that? One of the characters in the series later formed the basis for the 13-part serial The Misfit, featuring Ronnie Fraser, and had a strong following. When the BBC invited him to write a situation comedy based on three elderly men, he admits he was stumped at first. "It was only when I realised that three old men could have the same feelings and thoughts as three young men did the comic element surface as Last of the Summer Wine." Locations for the filming of the series were eventually made at Holmfirth after Barry Took had finished a documentary in the district and recommended the area to the "Summer Wine" producer. Roy said: "Holmfirth was a place I had visited only once in my life, curiously for an X-ray at the Memorial Hospital when I joined the West Riding Constabulary in 1952. I went to take another look and found it provided an excellent contrast between industry and beautiful countryside," said Roy. Roy joined the police after his National Service in the army when he was posted to Rotherham Division, near Sheffield. He resigned in 1954 to enter the teaching profession. "My main ambition was to be a writer. For years I half-finished things but it wasn't until I really disciplined myself that things begin to come together properly. "It's important as well for a writer to get back to the grass roots. I like to link my characters with someone, to have a point of reference. "The irritating thing is that life is far more extravagant and things happen in real life which no writer could get away with." Despite the success of Summer Wine, Roy refuses to move to London but prefers to commute from his home, a house he has converted from an old mill near Goole. His own preference in comedy? Roy confessed to enjoying Hancock, Dad's Army and It Ain't Half Hot, Mum!

Reproduced by kind permission of Summer Wine Appreciation Society.

Roy was born in 1930 and has one son and one daughter. Former soldier, salesman, policeman, teacher and part-time taxi driver. Started writing for radio with two thriller series (both produced by Alan Ayckbourn) and a single play "The World of Miss Edwina Finch's Cat". First TV work was an episode of "The Troubleshooters" (BBC) which introduced a character he was later to develop for the series "The Misfit" (ATV), which won the Writers' Guild Best Series Award 1970. He received the Royal Television Society's Award in 1975. Also wrote a single play for ATV called "The Bass Player and the Blonde" 1977. He won the Pye Television Award 1982 and is an Hon. DLitt. at the University of Bradford. He has also been given the Freedom of Doncaster. He had previously written a number of short comic character sketches for Ronnie Barker. His hobbies are reading and watching nature.

His much acclaimed TV series have included:

 

Last of the Summer Wine 1971 to present time
Open All Hours 4 series 1976 - 1985
Rosie  1975 - 1981 (first series was titled The Growing Pains of PC Penrose)
Potter 1979 - 1980 with Arthur Lowe. 1983 with Robin Bailey
"The Magnificent Evans 1984 with Ronnie Barker
The Clairvoyant 1986 with Roy Kinnear
The Misfit 1981 with  Ronald Fraser
Mann's Best Friends 1985 with Fulton Mackay
First of the Summer Wine 1988 - 1989
The Sharp End 1991 with Gwen Taylor
Don't Tell Father 1992 with Tony Britton and Susan Hampshire
Ain't Misbehaving 1994 - 1995 with Nicola Pagett and Peter Davison
Keeping up Appearances 1990 to present time with Patricia Routledge
Spark 1997 with James Fleet and Jan Francis

 


© 2000 Area5. The Summer Wine On-Line web site brought to you by Area5 Public Relations, Holmfirth. Thanks to everyone who has contributed material to this web site, including Colin Frost, of Side's Café, Holmfirth.