From Special Appearance to Regular Cast Member

codfanglers

Dedicated Member
I have some questions in which those that have read the books here probably know.

I was absolutely blessed to catch Secret Scar of Nora Batty last Thursday. Oddly enough, in all my years watching Summer Wine, I have always missed this episode. I didn't even realize this was Billy Hardcastle's debut (as I mentioned in the other thread I was shocked to see Keith Clifford in the opening credits).

Clifford was great in his debut and made me appreciate Billy Hardcastle even more. So what happened..... was he so popular in that episode, that they decided to bring him in full time once they figured they needed more help a few years later?

I also recall Alvin's debut as a skydiver. I was never crazy about Alvin but his opening scene and his "Grettings From England" was always classic. When Alvin debuted, was it expected that he would become a regular?

So I am interested in the different special guests and how Clarke and Bel decided to keep them on or not. Possibly, this was the case with Mrs. Davenport. I noticed they kept her on but not Gavin Hinchecliffe. It seemed like she was meant to be a guest start originally but they decided to keep her on.

And of course, earlier on, there was Clem Hemingway. I also share the sentiment of many here that Jack Harry Teesdale and Bobby Ball would have been great to become regulars.

So included are a handful of questions. Are there any other thoughts or stories of how various regular eventually became permanent?

Thanks.
 

LOTSW Fan

Dedicated Member
I can only say that I am glad they made Billy Hardcastle a regular as he became a favorite of mine.

Nancy
 

wstol

Dedicated Member
Billy Hardcastle of course returned in another Compo episode, Last Post and Pigeon, as well as a few episodes Immediately after Compo's funeral episodes, where he appeared to be Compo's neighbour.
 

captain clutterbuck

LOTSW Fanatic
Special Appearances

I often wondered if the Producers of the show knew in advance that Bill Owen was so ill and so inducted Keith Clifford as Billy not as a direct a replacement [how do you replace the irreplaceable ] but to maintain the theme of 3 main characters which they continued until the programme ended.

As Peter Sallis and Frank Thornton were of an age that they could no longer undertake arduous filming outdoors they promoted Alvin/ Entwistle eventually joined by Hobbo to maintain that three person lead to the end.
 

codfanglers

Dedicated Member
I often wondered if the Producers of the show knew in advance that Bill Owen was so ill and so inducted Keith Clifford as Billy not as a direct a replacement [how do you replace the irreplaceable ] but to maintain the theme of 3 main characters which they continued until the programme ended.

As Peter Sallis and Frank Thornton were of an age that they could no longer undertake arduous filming outdoors they promoted Alvin/ Entwistle eventually joined by Hobbo to maintain that three person lead to the end.
Although for most of the post Compo years, it really wasn't a trio, but usually a collection of four or five barmpots. Yes, they tried to keep the true trio going (especially rigt after Compo's passing and the Hobbo years, but in between them there were various collections of guys.
 

codfanglers

Dedicated Member
Billy Hardcastle of course returned in another Compo episode, Last Post and Pigeon, as well as a few episodes Immediately after Compo's funeral episodes, where he appeared to be Compo's neighbour.
I never see the specials like Last Post and Pigeon, but I don't recall where Billy was supposed to be Compo's neighbor. Which episodes were these?
 

Sarkus

Dedicated Member
From what the books say, I don't think anyone knew that Bill Owen was really ill until he showed up to film his final series. So Billy Hardcastle's appearance in Last Post and Pigeon was presumably decided independent of that, and was likely simply a response to the popularity of the character. They did use him a bit in the final episodes of that series, but I don't think there was anything in there about him being Compo's neighbor.

If there was any thought of Keith Clifford as a "backup" character at that point I'd guess it was more about Peter Sallis, who had seen a reduced workload in the series before Bill Owen's death.

As for Alvin, IIRC Alan Bell was interested in bringing Brian Murphy to the show not long after Bill Owen died. Murphy was not interested or not available at the time, however, so that got delayed a few years. After Bill Owen I think the plan initially was for Tom Owen to become the third member of the trio, but that didn't go over well with the audience and so they settled on Billy since he seemed more popular in a prominent role. But I think they were always looking at bringing Murphy on even then.
 

codfanglers

Dedicated Member
Overall, it really seems like Billy and Alvin were very similar roles. They were two barmpot-type characters that could be interchanged in and out of scenes and story lines.
 

wstol

Dedicated Member
From what the books say, I don't think anyone knew that Bill Owen was really ill until he showed up to film his final series. So Billy Hardcastle's appearance in Last Post and Pigeon was presumably decided independent of that, and was likely simply a response to the popularity of the character. They did use him a bit in the final episodes of that series, but I don't think there was anything in there about him being Compo's neighbor.
I meant to put Truly's neighbour, not Compo's.

Then again, I'm not sure if that is definite.
 

captain clutterbuck

LOTSW Fanatic
Special Appearance

Stage work withstanding and post George and Mildred I only recall Brian Murphy undertake a guest appearance in One Foot in the Grave and Wikipedia mentions him as having a lengthy stint in Children's TV Wizadora so if Alan Bell came calling you think he would have snapped his hand off I guess without speaking to the man himself we will never know.

In my opinion LOTSW offered any number of mature British Comedic actors the opportunity to get back on TV because at that juncture TV seemed to have abandoned the formula sitcom and variety type shows that were their bread and butter .

Croft and Perry , Croft and Jeremy Lloyd , Croft and Richard Spendlove with Dad's Army, It aint half hot mum , Hi de Hi, You rang m'lord, Are you being served , Allo Allo , Grace and Favour and Oh Doctor Beeching had all finished by 1997 so for Brian, Cannon and Ball, Josephine Tewson , Bernard Cribbins, Trevor Bannister, Christopher Beeny , Russ Abbot and to a certain extent June Whitfield LOTSW offered a vehicle for their great talents which I am sure they gratefully accepted

I am so happy that the Beeb, UK Gold , Drama and Yesterday continue to show these classic pieces daily . I was absolutely ecstatic when over the Festive period they showed Spike Milligan's Best of Q bits and pieces that were saved. I did own the VHS tape but it has long gone and the Beeb refused to issue on DVD [a familiar trend ] . Some of it may not be PC but it was ground breaking and Monty Python would not have existed without the influence of Spike's ground breaking series
 

dick

LOTSW Fanatic
Stage work withstanding and post George and Mildred I only recall Brian Murphy undertake a guest appearance in One Foot in the Grave and Wikipedia mentions him as having a lengthy stint in Children's TV Wizadora so if Alan Bell came calling you think he would have snapped his hand off I guess without speaking to the man himself we will never know.

In my opinion LOTSW offered any number of mature British Comedic actors the opportunity to get back on TV because at that juncture TV seemed to have abandoned the formula sitcom and variety type shows that were their bread and butter .

Croft and Perry , Croft and Jeremy Lloyd , Croft and Richard Spendlove with Dad's Army, It aint half hot mum , Hi de Hi, You rang m'lord, Are you being served , Allo Allo , Grace and Favour and Oh Doctor Beeching had all finished by 1997 so for Brian, Cannon and Ball, Josephine Tewson , Bernard Cribbins, Trevor Bannister, Christopher Beeny , Russ Abbot and to a certain extent June Whitfield LOTSW offered a vehicle for their great talents which I am sure they gratefully accepted

I am so happy that the Beeb, UK Gold , Drama and Yesterday continue to show these classic pieces daily . I was absolutely ecstatic when over the Festive period they showed Spike Milligan's Best of Q bits and pieces that were saved. I did own the VHS tape but it has long gone and the Beeb refused to issue on DVD [a familiar trend ] . Some of it may not be PC but it was ground breaking and Monty Python would not have existed without the influence of Spike's ground breaking series
I wish I could get a DVD of the Q series , I was /am a great Spike Milligan fan since the GOON SHOWS!!:12:
 

captain clutterbuck

LOTSW Fanatic
spike milligan

Dick,

Just looked at BBC IPlayer online and both Spike Milligan:Assorted Q episodes are on there for another 10 days so you may hopefully have an opportunity to watch .
 

happyjack

Dedicated Member
I wish I could get a DVD of the Q series , I was /am a great Spike Milligan fan since the GOON SHOWS!!:12:
I am with you Dick. When I was a teenager a group of us performed the Ying Tong Song on stage miming to the record. Oh happy days.
 

Adanor

Dedicated Member
Stage work withstanding and post George and Mildred I only recall Brian Murphy undertake a guest appearance in One Foot in the Grave and Wikipedia mentions him as having a lengthy stint in Children's TV Wizadora so if Alan Bell came calling you think he would have snapped his hand off I guess without speaking to the man himself we will never know.

In my opinion LOTSW offered any number of mature British Comedic actors the opportunity to get back on TV because at that juncture TV seemed to have abandoned the formula sitcom and variety type shows that were their bread and butter .

Croft and Perry , Croft and Jeremy Lloyd , Croft and Richard Spendlove with Dad's Army, It aint half hot mum , Hi de Hi, You rang m'lord, Are you being served , Allo Allo , Grace and Favour and Oh Doctor Beeching had all finished by 1997 so for Brian, Cannon and Ball, Josephine Tewson , Bernard Cribbins, Trevor Bannister, Christopher Beeny , Russ Abbot and to a certain extent June Whitfield LOTSW offered a vehicle for their great talents which I am sure they gratefully accepted

I am so happy that the Beeb, UK Gold , Drama and Yesterday continue to show these classic pieces daily . I was absolutely ecstatic when over the Festive period they showed Spike Milligan's Best of Q bits and pieces that were saved. I did own the VHS tape but it has long gone and the Beeb refused to issue on DVD [a familiar trend ] . Some of it may not be PC but it was ground breaking and Monty Python would not have existed without the influence of Spike's ground breaking series
It would be really wonderful if PBS could cough up some these TV shows such as Dad's Army, It aint half hot mum, Hi de Hi, You rang m'lord, Grace and Favour, and Oh Doctor Beeching that have never graced US airwaves. Don't ask me about seeing it on VHS or DVD, as I am your basic Luddite.
 

Sarkus

Dedicated Member
It would be really wonderful if PBS could cough up some these TV shows such as Dad's Army, It aint half hot mum, Hi de Hi, You rang m'lord, Grace and Favour, and Oh Doctor Beeching that have never graced US airwaves. Don't ask me about seeing it on VHS or DVD, as I am your basic Luddite.
PBS doesn't generally do that stuff as a network, but rather leaves it up to individual stations to pay for whatever shows they want. It works differently then traditional US network TV stations, who have most of their schedules dictated by the network affiliation. Which is why some PBS stations play Summerwine even today while others never have. The PBS station in Spokane, WA, used to be heavy on BBC comedies - its where I saw stuff like Monty Python, Are You Being Served, Allo Allo, and even Grace and Favour over the years. All on long runs. In comparison, the PBS station in Tacoma, WA, ran Summerwine for only a short time and never had any of those other shows in all the years I lived in that area.
 
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