Comedy Greats

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Humour and happiness feature prominently in the current issue of Evergreen, which is now on sale (click here to order a copy). We have a typically tattyfilarious tribute and interview with the squire - or perhaps that should be the Knight – of Knotty Ash, Sir Ken Dodd. Regular readers will recall that in 2016, This England campaigned for Ken, who has just celebrated his 90th birthday and is still playing to packed houses around the country, to receive his knighthood and we were thrilled when he was awarded the honour earlier this year. In the article you can discover more about his childhood, his comic influences and his career which, I’m delighted to say, shows no sign of slowing down.

Another article in our winter edition that will revive more laughter-filled memories looks back at festive television programmes from the 1970s and '80s, most notably Morecambe and Wise and the Two Ronnies. All these years after they graced the small screen for the final time, I still think that Eric and Ernie in particular are as much a part of the Christmas tradition as mince pies and mistletoe, and turkey and tinsel. No matter how many times I see their sketches and hear their patter, I still find them as brilliantly funny and fresh as the first time I saw them. Their humour is timeless, their timing exceptional, and the Andre “Preview” sketch always makes me cry with laughter. Together with their genius scriptwriter Eddie Braben, who, coincidentally, previously worked with Ken Dodd before being teamed up with Eric and Ernie, they brought us enough laughter and sunshine to last a lifetime. What a gift!

The appreciation and love of comedy from another era is something that has been in the news just lately. A survey, conducted by Samsung, asked 2,000 adults to vote for their favourite British sitcoms. It was no surprise to all of us here in the Evergreen and This England office that those classics from television’s golden age topped the poll. The results are as follows:

1. Only Fools and Horses
2. Fawlty Towers
3. Blackadder
4. Dad's Army
5. Father Ted
6. The Inbetweeners
7. Porridge
8. Gavin and Stacey
9. Mrs. Brown's Boys
10. Vicar of Dibley
11. Red Dwarf
12. The Royle Family
13. One Foot in the Grave
14. Absolutely Fabulous
15. The Office
16. The Young Ones
17. Steptoe and Son
18. Peep Show
19. Outnumbered
20. Yes Minister

No doubt Del Boy, as played so memorably by Sir David Jason in “Only Fools and Horses”, which ran from 1981 to 2003, would have rubbed his hands together with glee and described the result as “Lovely jubbly!”. But I would love to know what you think. Are there any other classic comedies you would add? Here in the office we’ve come up with "'Allo, 'Allo", "Hi-de Hi!", "Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?",  "Rising Damp", "Keeping up Appearances", "The Brittas Empire", "The Liver Birds" and two of my favourites "Bread" and "The Good Life".

Whatever gets you chuckling, though, it is marvellous to see that, as far as the great British public is concerned, the old ones are definitely the best!

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