FIRST of the Summer Wine

Tea Time Tidbit for the week of May 13, 2019

Tea Time Tidbit

Last of the Summer Wine

It’s so good to have Last of the Summer Wine back as part of our Afternoon Tea line-up – especially as I have my Yorkshire born father visiting soon. The series no longer airs in the U.K., so him being able to watch it while he’s here will be a “reight” treet!

Did you know, by the way, that there was a First of the Summer Wine? Only it didn’t come first, as it was penned by Roy Clarke in the mid-1980s as a prequel to Last of the Summer Wine. By the time the pilot episode of First of the Summer Wine aired, on January 3rd, 1988, the original series had already been running fifteen years.

Although all of the main characters from Last of the Summer Wine were in Clarke’s prequel, the actors who played them were not. In fact, only a couple of familiar faces appear in First of the Summer Wine, which is still set in Holmfirth, but the time period is 1939, just before the onset of World War II.

Peter Sallis plays his own father, Mr. Clegg. Norman Clegg is a young man in the prequel and it’s his diary entries on which the series is based. His friends are still the characters we know and love; “Compo” Simmonite, “Foggy” Dewhurst and Seymour Utterthwaite. Wally Batty is also in the prequel, but he has not yet married the love of Compo’s life, Nora, who has the last name of Renshaw.

Playing Sallis’ wife, Mrs. Clegg, is Maggie Ollerenshaw. The actress had had a minor role in a 1979 episode of Last of the Summer Wine and she returned for a couple more episodes playing the character of Ethel in 1997 and 2008. Ollerenshaw had previously played the role of Mavis in Open All Hours, another series written by Roy Clark, which airs weekdays at 2pm on MPT.

In First of the Summer Wine, Clarke instructed his actors to mimic the vocal characteristics and mannerisms of their elderly counterparts in the original series. See what you think in this video clip for the trailer that aired on the BBC

First of the Summer Wine ran for 13 episodes over two series, with the final episode airing in October of 1989. According to an interview Clark gave last year, he had envisioned both "Summer Wines" airing during the same week and was “sorry it didn’t work out as planned.”

As Clark said in the interview, “When you get solid, substantial characters that you’ve had for a while, you get fond of them and they are basically – for you – real people. And a natural interest arises in what they were like years ago.”

First of the Summer Wine has never been repeated in the U.K., nor has it been made available in this country. But you can, of course, see Last of the Summer Wine, weekday afternoons on MPT at 1:30pm.

To contact Heather:
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117

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