Sir David Jason is to return as Granville for a third series of convenience store comedy Still Open All Hours. Arkwright’s will also open its doors to BBC One for a Christmas special.
“I can’t wait for viewers to see the scrapes Granville gets into this series, almost as much as I can’t wait to start filming them. Roy Clarke has once again written seven fantastically warm, funny and inventive scripts, full of the humour and eccentric characters that the nation has come to love over the years.” – Sir David Jason
The series, a follow up to the successful Open All Hours which starred Ronnie Barker as shopkeeper, stutterer and mean with money Arkwright, has proven a huge hit with audiences since it continued the story of the Yorkshire based corner shop in 2014. The beeb proudly note that the most recent run of episodes were some of the highest rated for BBC comedy during the past 12 months. The continuation sees the shop now run by Arkwright’s nephew Granville and his son Leroy, played by James Baxter.
Left: Lynda Barron in the original Open All Hours, and inset as Gladys in the follow up, Still Open All Hours
However one face from the original series won’t be joining the cast for the third outing as Lynda Baron is unable to make the filming schedules due to other work commitments, including EastEnders.
“I was thrilled by the huge success of Still Open All Hours and was very happy to be a part of it. However this year it just isn’t possible to fit it in with my schedule. I am disappointed not least because it is beyond doubt the nicest cast and crew a girl could wish for. There are as many laughs off the set as there are on. Long may they stay Open All Hours.” – Lynda Baron
The series opens with a Christmas special where Granville and Gastric, played by Tim Healy, find themselves being amateur marriage counsellors, whilst Leroy adopts a festive disguise to avoid relationship trouble of a different kind. Meanwhile, Mrs Featherstone, actress Stephanie Cole, struggles to get into the Christmas spirit and Kath played by Sally Lindsay attempts to bring the street together as one harmonious choir of carollers and beat Finkle Street once and for all – but does Granville have a trick up his sleeve to help them out?
Inset: Open All Hours with Ronnie Barker, Lynda Barron and David Jason. Right: David Jason in Still Open All Hours
They will be joined by series regulars Maggie Ollerenshaw as the love of Granville’s life, Mavis, plus Johnny Vegas as Eric, Kulvinder Ghir as Cyril, Brigit Forsyth as Mavis’ sister Madge, Nina Wadia as Mrs Hussein and Geoffrey Whitehead as Mr Newbold.
“I continue to be bowled over by the incredible audience response to Still Open All Hours, so it’s a real pleasure to welcome the series back to BBC One. The opening Christmas special is our most festive yet, and the wonderful mind of Roy Clarke has conjured up many more eccentric, classic adventures for Granville and the gang over the series.” – Executive Producer Gareth Edwards
Location filming will begin in the coming weeks at the famous exterior at Lister Avenue, Balby, South Yorkshire, with studio filming to follow from October. The real shop had previously been a grocery store, up until 1962 when it became the Beautique hair salon run for many years by Helen Ibbotson, the hairdressers is still open and is currently managed by Helen’s daughter. Open All Hours and Still Open All Hours can be seen regularly repeated on UKTV’s comedy channel Gold.
Ronnie Barker as Arkwright in the original series of Open All Hours which ran from 1976 to 1985. The pilot aired in 1973.
Open All Hours Trivia
- The pilot episode of the show, part of Ronnie Barker’s Seven of One series, aired in 1973. It featured Keith Chegwin as a teenage customer.
- Nurse Gladys Emanuele was played in the 1973 episode by Crossroads actress Sheila Brennan. Lynda Barron, who played Gladys from series one to the final fourth series, would later go on to appear in Crossroads herself in 1978.
- The famous theme tune is called Alice, Where Art Thou? and pre-dates the BBC show by some 115 years. The score was composed by Joseph Ascher in 1861. The music also has lyrics which were written by Weillinton Guernsey.
- Yootha Joyce, best known for her role as Mildred Roper in Thames Television’s Man About The House and George and Mildred, appeared in the pilot edition as a local customer.
- The 1973 edition had a different theme tune, an unfamiliar store layout and the outdoor shots were recorded at a shop exterior on Drayton Avenue in Ealing, London. The shop has long since closed.
- In 1981 a paperback fiction book was released by the BBC. The novel adapted scripts and storylines from the first 1976 series. The book was written by Christine Sparks. The release coincided with the series moving from BBC Two to BBC One.
- Last of the Summer Wine actress Kathy Staff featured in the first two series as stern customer Mrs Blewitt while Emmerdale’s Paula Tilbrook appeared in the second series as Mrs Tattersall.
- Despite the production spanning nine years only four series were made in that time – a total of 25 episodes.
- Writer Roy Clarke also penned sitcoms Don’t Tell Father, Keeping Up Appearances and Last of the Summer Wine.
- In 2006 a complete series DVD was released containing all 26 episodes with the 25 from each series and the pilot edition. An eight-minute special produced for The Funny Side of Christmas in 1982 has never been re-screened or released.