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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.

Peter Sallis - Mr Clegg
David Fenwick - Norman Clegg
Paul McLain - Seymour
Paul Wyett - Compo
Richard Lumsden - Foggy Dewhurst
Maggie Ollerenshaw - Mrs Clegg
Helen Patrick - Nora
Gary Whitaker - Wally Batty
Paul Oldham - Sherbet
Joanne Heywood - Dilys
Sarah Dangerfield - Ivy
Derek Benfield - Mr Scrimshaw

Roy Clarke - Writer
Gareth Gwenlan - Director / Producer (pilot
Mike Stephens - Director / Producer (series)
Transmission Details
Number of episodes: 13 Length: 1 x 45 mins · 12 x 30 mins
Pilot (45 mins) 3 Jan 1988, BBC1 Sun 7.15pm
Series One (6) 4 Sep-9 Oct 1988, BBC1 Sun 7.15pm
Series Two (6) 3 Sep-8 Oct 1989, BBC1 Sun 7.15pm
Review by Mark Lewisohn.
Reviews supplied by Radio Times 2003 BBC Worldwide - used under licence from BBC Worldwide.

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