First Of The Summer Wine
UK, BBC, Sitcom, colour, 1988
Starring: Peter Sallis, David Fenwick, Paul McLain
A clever but simple premise - a 'prequel' that looked at the characters in Last Of The Summer Winewhen they were youths - in other words, in their first childhood as opposed to their second. Set in 1939, the series depicted the adventures of the lads as they sought jobs, chased girls and made plans for their future, all infused once more with their philosophical ramblings on the nature of life. The shadow of the Grim Reaper again added an edge of blackness to an otherwise summer-filled existence, but this time it wasn't old age that was hanging over the trio but the Second World War gathering darkly on the horizon. Peter Sallis played Clegg Sr, the father of his character Norman Clegg in Last Of The Summer Wine (who was played here by David Fenwick) and the scene was set each week by readings from Norman's diary.
The young cast coped well with roles that were part straight-acting and part impersonation of the mannerisms and vocal phrasing of the actors already established as the elder versions. Roy Clarke's dialogue was as sharp as ever and he obviously relished inventing the youthful doppelgangers of the characters that he had already fully developed over a number of years, establishing the beginnings of relationships, romances and alliances that, in the earlier series, set at a later time, had already reached fruition.
Number of episodes: 13
Length: 1 x 45 mins · 12 x 30 mins