Last of the Summer Wine: The Pilot

Tea Time Tidbit for the week of February 20, 2017

Tea Time Tidbit

The original trio

There’s a treat coming up for fans of Last of the Summer Wine, when on February 22nd and 23rd you’ll be able to see the very first episode of the series, with the second episode airing February 23rd.

Credited as being the world’s longest running situation comedy, LOTSW was the brainstorm of the BBC’s then Head of Comedy, Duncan Wood, who was so impressed by writer Roy Clarke’s 1970’s comedy, The Misfit, for which Clark had won a Writers Guild Award for the best writer of a British TV series, that he asked Clark to write a sitcom about three old men. Clark adapted Wood’s original concept and gave it the working title The Last of The Summer Wine, a title BBC producers rejected. Instead they decided the series would be called The Library Mob. Clark didn’t like the new title, but agreed to use it on the pilot episode, using “The Last of the Summer Wine” as a sub title. "The Library Mob" was dropped after the pilot episode as was the "The" in the sub title and the show became known the world over simply as Last of the Summer Wine.

Scenes from Holmfirth

It was thanks to a well-known British writer, presenter and comedian, Barry Took, that Holmfirth was chosen as the location for the series. Took had gotten to know the small town set in the Yorkshire Dales, when he performed there as stand-up comedian in the 1950s. His performance, which was at a Holmfirth working men’s club, had not been well received. Years later he returned to the club to include it in a series he was working on which documented how the British entertain themselves. While there he took particular note of how picturesque Holmfirth and its surrounding area was, and when he heard that senior BBC producer Jimmy Gilbert was looking for a place in which to set his new Yorkshire series, Took told him about Holmfirth. Gilbert and Clark took a drive out to the countryside and decided it was the perfect setting.

For the next twenty years, Last of the Summer Wine used Holmfirth and its surrounding area for all of the exterior scenes, while the interior scenes were filmed at the BBC Television Center in London in front of a live studio audience. When it eventually became too expensive to film in a studio setting, all of the filming was moved to Holmfirth. On completion, the episodes were then shown to an audience, whose laughter was recorded and mixed into the soundtrack.

Last of the Summer Wine would keep its audiences laughing weekly for almost 40 years, and we’re proud that despite the series being cancelled in 2010, MPT has kept the laughs going every weekday on Afternoon Tea.

Remember to tune in for the pilot episode of Last of the Summer Wine at 1:30pm on February 22nd and February 23rd.

To contact Heather:
E-mail: heather@mpt.org
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117

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Afternoon Tea is Maryland Public Television's weekday presentation of British programs.
Our host and Tea Lady is Heather Sanderson.
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