One to Watch: The South Bank Show Originals: Ronnie Corbett, 10pm, Sunday, Sky Arts
Melvyn Bragg looks back fondly on a classic episode of The South Bank Show, exploring Ronnie Corbett’s immense contribution to British comedy.
In the fourth outing in this the fifth ‘best of’ The South Bank Show, the programme digs back into the London Weekend Television archive for another classic episode of the long running arts series.
Tonight its the late funnyman Ronnie Corbett who becomes the subject of the hour. Hitting TV screens in the late 1960s thanks to David Frost’s topical series The Frost Report, Corbett found an on-screen sparring partner with fellow comedy actor Ronnie Barker, after ITV ditched the pair in the early 70s they moved over to the BBC and for nearly two decades gave viewers the ratings hit, The Two Ronnies.
When Barker decided to retire in 1988 Corbett went on with a host of theatre and television programmes including game shows and comedy specials. Corbett was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1930 and Following national service, he moved to London to start his acting career.
Early TV parts included ITC/ATV series The Saint, on stage in Take It Easy and in movies such as Rockets Galore!
Corbett first worked with Ronnie Barker in The Frost Report (1966–67). The writers and cast were mostly Oxbridge graduates from the Footlights tradition. Corbett said he and Barker were drawn together as two grammar school boys who had not gone to university. The show was a mixture of satirical monologues, sketches and music. Corbett and Barker were beginning to be thought of as a pair.
They appeared with John Cleese in one of the most repeated comedy sketches in British television: the Class sketch. Corbett’s height provided a key cue for both the visual humour and satirical value of the sketch.
Continuing under Frost, Corbett starred in No – That’s Me Over Here!, a sitcom written by Frost Report writers Barry Cryer, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle. Cryer and Chapman wrote two follow-ups: Now Look Here and The Prince of Denmark. Corbett also appeared in Frost on Sunday and hosted The Corbett Follies for ITV in 1969. He was a subject of the television programme This Is Your Life in April 1970 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews.
Comedy Legends: Ronnie Barker, 9pm Sunday, Sky Arts
Another chance to see Ronnie Corbett’s old pal and on-screen comedy partner Ronnie Barker in the latest edition of Comedy Legends.
Writer, presenter and funnyman Barry Cryer looks back on the life and career of comedy writer and actor Barker, who starred in The Two Ronnies for nearly twenty years and became the lead star actor in classic sitcoms Porridge and Open All Hours. Launched onto television screens in the late 60’s by ITV broadcaster LWT, on the David Frost show, Barker became a regular on telly screens over five decades.
Barker retired from the spotlight in 1988, but a decade later was slowly lured back into show-bizness where he remained one of the kings of British comedy until his death in 2005.
Falling in Love – Taggart, Saturday 9pm, True Entertainment
Back to the rough and ready streets of Glasgow in this classic episode of the detective series.
Tonight Jardine and the team investigate a series of mysterious deaths among members of a tango club, and uncover a connection with an unsolved robbery. Meanwhile, as Reid’s wedding approaches, Ross tries to convince her that she is rushing into marriage too quickly.
Later Weekend… With Jools Holland, Sunday 12.05am BBC Two
The television king of music programming Jools Holland is one again ready to entertain you with his showbiz pals with more Later… and this is the extended version of the long running show.
Jungle – the soul/funk collective formed by childhood friends Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson – perform tracks from their recently-released second album For Ever. Plus, Damon Albarn and Paul Simonon bring their supergroup the Good, the Bad & the Queen back after an absence of almost 12 years with songs from their highly anticipated follow-up.
Swedish singer Robyn also returns after long hiatus, while Mattiel and Terry Reid appear.
The Kennedys: Fatal Ambition, Saturday, 9pm, Channel 5
Part one of a two part series looking at the first family of the states.
In this documentary the producers take to examining the tragedies and scandals that have engulfed the Kennedy clan since they arrived in America in the mid-19th century. The episode begins in 1849 with the first Kennedy to arrive in America, and traces the family’s fortunes over more than a hundred years, rising from the slums of East Boston to amass vast wealth and political influence.
Archive of Joseph P Kennedy, the patriarch of the dynasty, helps to reveal how the seeds of the family’s misfortunes were sown in the humiliation and discrimination he experienced as an Irish Catholic at the hands of Boston’s Protestant elite.
Top of the Pops 2 Specials, Saturday from 7pm on UKTV’s Yesterday
An evening of music from the TOTPs archive starts at 7pm with a trip back to the 1980s. Mark Radcliffe presents a selection of memorable Top of the Pops performances from the 1980s. Featuring appearances by Adam and the Ants, Bucks Fizz, Soft Cell, Dexys Midnight Runners, Madness, Culture Club, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Duran Duran, Wham!, Pet Shop Boys, the Communards, Whitney Houston, Bros, Tiffany, Yazz & the Plastic Population, Kylie and Jason, Black Box and Lisa Stansfield.
At 9pm Mark is back with a tribute to Donna Summer, including hits such as I Feel Love and No More Tears (Enough Is Enough), and featuring her first appearance on the show in 1977. Forty minutes later we’re in the company of TOTPs performances by Duran Duran and finally the Wham! special which brings classic live in the studio performances from George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley featuring Young Guns (Go For It!), Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do), Bad Boys, Club Tropicana, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Freedom, Everything She Wants and Edge of Heaven.
Classic Top of the Pops 2 brings UKTV viewers some vintage George Michael from 7pm, Saturday.