Why no Tom third man?

Onslow

Well-Known Member
I'm reading through the Richard Skelton book and apparently there was some musings about casting Tom Owen's character as his father's replacement. Alas it didn't seem to work out. I'm lost as to exactly why (or what kind of feedback did writer and producer receive that they would decide otherwise)?

Also, it seems Tom's voice is VERY recognizable (even though I'm here in the U.S.) but I can't figure out from where. Any reminders or suggestions greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
 

Barrychuckle

Dedicated Member
I just found him a very weak character and also felt he was a poor actor. He was only ever in walk on bit parts during his acting career and as I recall he was 'resting' & teaching drama when approached by the series. I think he just didn't have the acting skills to fill in his fathers illustrious shoes.
 

Adanor

Dedicated Member
Well, he ended up with a really big "walk on" part. He pushed, pulled, crashed, dumped or otherwise was engaged with the handcart along with Smiler (Stephen Lewis). They were both Auntie Wainwright's assistants and had to use the handcart to deliver furniture and other goods. So Tom had a lot of scenes out on some lonely road pushing the handcart while exchanging lines with Stephen Lewis. In addition to the handcart, he occasionally drove some vehicles. Smiler ended up with (I think) an Oldsmobile which Tom almost always drove. And then there was the episode with the hearse. So he ended up doing most of his scenes with Stephen Lewis and alot of those scenes involved doing physical stuff.. As an assistant to Auntie Wainwright, he did appear with Auntie (Jean Alexander) in the shop, but those scenes were brief as he and Smiler always seemed to be receiving instructions from Auntie prior to being sent out.

In retrospect, a few years prior, Compo (his father, Bill Owen) ended up in a scene with the handcart, but it was quite different. Yes, there was a load of furniture and he was supposed to be helping to push it; but then he ended up sitting in a chair on top of the furniture pile, smiling and waving while someone else pushed it.
 

Pearl

Administrator
Staff member
I just found him a very weak character and also felt he was a poor actor. He was only ever in walk on bit parts during his acting career and as I recall he was 'resting' & teaching drama when approached by the series. I think he just didn't have the acting skills to fill in his fathers illustrious shoes.
I agree plus the fact anyone trying to " Replace " Compo was never going to be popular, you can't simply replace an iconic character like Compo. Diehard fans were having none of it even it was Bill Owens son.
 

gothic

Administrator
Staff member
I agree plus the fact anyone trying to " Replace " Compo was never going to be popular, you can't simply replace an iconic character like Compo. Diehard fans were having none of it even it was Bill Owens son.
Agree 100%
 

codfanglers

Dedicated Member
I liked Tom and I feel I am one of the few that really liked his first episodes. I felt he contributed to the show a good bit.

However, his character and age gap just didn't fit as one of the trio. I believe he was a great extra, like Smiler, Entwistle, etc.
 

Sarkus

Dedicated Member
I'm not sure I'd call him a bit part actor, though I guess that applies to later in his career. From what I understand he was a very popular young actor for a time when he joined Freewheelers.

As for why Tom Simmonite didn't work, I think the character wasn't well received. If you read Bell's book, it sounds like Clarke and he were somewhat at odds about the direction the show should take after Compo, with Clarke apparently preferring a harder edge. Tom isn't all that much different then Compo was at the beginning, but Compo mellowed into something of a more lovable scruff after the first few series. He wasn't as devious with women, he was retired from illegal poaching with his ferrets, etc. Tom is introduced as a bit of a con man and even though they scaled some of that back in the next series, it seems like the audience didn't take a liking to him. But once they moved him into a supporting role with Smiler, that worked very well I think.

I've always advocated that they should have teamed Hobbo up with a younger trio, or at least had another young member with Alvin and Hobbo instead of Entwistle. Barry would have been my preference, but even Tom could have been tried there as well.
 

Peripheral

Dedicated Member
Tom Owen played the part he was given and in the manner he was directed. His takes, {facial expressions}, were very good. The character he was instructed to play was lacking but yet he did manage to install some variation into it. It is very difficult to be given a paper aeroplane and be expected to fly to the moon. Summer Wine is very, very, enjoyable and will be for many more years. Thanks to all involved with the programme and especially the cast who became real people in our lives.:01::37::42:
 

codfanglers

Dedicated Member
Tom Owen played the part he was given and in the manner he was directed. His takes, {facial expressions}, were very good. The character he was instructed to play was lacking but yet he did manage to install some variation into it. It is very difficult to be given a paper aeroplane and be expected to fly to the moon. Summer Wine is very, very, enjoyable and will be for many more years. Thanks to all involved with the programme and especially the cast who became real people in our lives.:01::37::42:
I don't mind the character he was given at all. I just think it wasn't right for a main character.
 

Barrychuckle

Dedicated Member
Tom Owen played the part he was given and in the manner he was directed. His takes, {facial expressions}, were very good. The character he was instructed to play was lacking but yet he did manage to install some variation into it. It is very difficult to be given a paper aeroplane and be expected to fly to the moon. Summer Wine is very, very, enjoyable and will be for many more years. Thanks to all involved with the programme and especially the cast who became real people in our lives.:01::37::42:
I agree Peri that the part wasn't very well written, I feel that Roy had a very rare wobble in his writing at that point, which was understandable replacing the void Compo left. But I mean no disrespect to Tom, but it is like asking someone who's played non league football their career to replace a Premier League player. It wasn't really fair on him and he is sadly not in the same acting league as his father in my opinion.
 

wstol

Dedicated Member
He was all set to be the third man, it seems, but they hastily had a re-think before the next series.

I am one of the few people who thought his character was better when he first appeared.

I liked all the ducking and diving, and the scams and all of that.

In the end, for me, he became very characterless, very dull, and a total waste of time which offered nothing to the show.

Others may disagree here :) :) .
 

codfanglers

Dedicated Member
He was all set to be the third man, it seems, but they hastily had a re-think before the next series.

I am one of the few people who thought his character was better when he first appeared.

I liked all the ducking and diving, and the scams and all of that.

In the end, for me, he became very characterless, very dull, and a total waste of time which offered nothing to the show.

Others may disagree here :) :) .
Yes, I also liked the shifty Tom, the schemes, and the repo man constantly after him. I also enjoyed the shed with the "beware of dog" signs. He was more interesting back then than when he simply became Auntie Wainwright's employee.
 

Onslow

Well-Known Member
I sort of like the arc of Tom and Smiler roped into a type of indentured servitude at Auntie Wainwright's. It wasn't leading role material but it worked well for where it was situated.
 
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