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.

 

Nora

 

Why was LOTSW filmed in Holmfirth? It's All Thanks To Barry Took! Click here for More. 


WHAT HAPPENED IN JANUARY, 1973?
  • Britain joined the EEC..
  • A cease-fire was declared in Vietnam (though fighting would continue for another few years)..
  • The Open University awarded its first ever degree…
  • President Nixon was sworn in for a second term of office…
  • The average weekly wage was in the region of £16.
  • And Compo, Clegg and Blamire shambled into the nation’s television consciousness in the pilot episode of Last of the Summer Wine, broadcast at 8pm on Thursday, January 4, 1973.

About 30 glorious years on, the show is more popular than ever, and is comfortably enshrined as the longest-running British television sitcom.

What’s more, every single episode of every series has been written by Roy Clarke, who has also managed to make time to create and write other successful sit-coms, including Rosie, Open all Hours and Keeping up Appearances.

The Story

It all started on a winter's evening in 1973. The television presenter on BBC1 casually announced that a new TV comedy series was about to grace the small screen, set in a little town in the north of England.   Viewers all over the country enjoyed the antics of three special characters and the place where it was filmed. So much so, that the series is still running today - making it the BBC's longest running comedy series ever. It has even been broadcast in over 25 countries across the world, including USA, Australia and Canada.

As most people now know, the special little town where Summer Wine is filmed is none other than Holmfirth, on the fringe of the Pennines in West Yorkshire.  Regulars in Holmfirth are well used to seeing the filming in parts of town and at other nearby locations, including Marsden.

One resident said: "I don't like to admit it in public, but I still get a thrill out of seeing the BBC crew move in to set up their lighting and rigging in a part of town, it is quite a meticulous task. Then the actors arrive, usually to a cheer from the audience, and they have a smile for everyone. I just love to see the faces on the tourists when they walk round the corner to see a slice of "Pinewood" here in town. They come from all over because of Summer Wine fame...and there they are filming the series in front of their very eyes!"

Nora Batty's steps and Sid's Café are still the number one tourist attractions, along with the Summer Wine Museum, Wrinkled Stocking café and, of course, the popular TV-location tours and guided walks run from the centre of town.


Why was it Filmed in Holmfirth? Its all Thanks to Barry Took! 

Last of the Summer Wine could have been filmed around the industrial streets of Doncaster or Rotherham had it not been for this man Barry Took (pictured right at the LOTSW exhibition in Holmfirth). 

Barry was making a programme for TV about Working Men's Clubs and filmed at Burnlee WMC. 

Every Sunday lunch time the club staged a strip show to a packed concert room and he and his film crew came up to the little known backwater to include the show in his programme. Mr Took was later speaking to Jimmy Gilbert about a location for a half hour programme to be shown in Comedy Playhouse, when Barry suddenly remembered his trip to this beautiful little known town of Holmfirth. 

The producer and author Roy Clarke came up to check it out, saw the valley, liked it and the rest is history. The half hour show became a series, the one series became several and the several turned out to be the longest running TV comedy series in the world. Thanks to Mr.Took, Holmfirth has hosted this successful show for more than 32 years. The combination of inoffensive gentle humor, brilliant script writing and beautiful countryside have contributed to the success of the show. Oh ! and what about the music? Holmfirth - little backwater ? No - Summer Wine Country.

Footnote: The Summer Wine connection stayed at Burnlee WMC for many years. During the busy summer filming sessions, the BBC crews parked their fleet of lighting and generator trucks in the big car park, off Woodhead Road. Sadly this came to an end in 2002 when the little club was demolished and the site developed for luxury housing. 

Editor's Note: Many thanks Malcolm Howarth for supplying the above story and photo. 


© 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.