Last of the Summer Wine
Last of the Summer Wine premiered as an episode of Comedy Playhouse on 4 January 1973 and the first series of episodes followed on 12 November 1973. From 1983 to 2010, Alan J. W. Bell produced and directed all episodes of the show. The BBC confirmed on 2 June 2010 that Last of the Summer Wine had been cancelled and the 2010 series would be its last.
Last of the Summer Wine was set and filmed in and around Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, England and centered around a trio of old men whose line-up changed several times over the years. The original trio consisted of Bill Owen as the scruffy and child-like Compo, Peter Sallis as deep-thinking, meek Norman Clegg and Michael Bates as authoritarian and snobbish Blamire. When Bates dropped out through illness in 1976 after two series, the role of the third man of the trio was filled in various years up to the 30th series by the quirky war veteran, Foggy (Brian Wilde), the eccentric inventor, Seymour (Michael Aldridge), and former police officer Truly (Frank Thornton). The men never seem to grow up and develop a unique perspective on their equally eccentric fellow townspeople through their youthful stunts. The cast grew to include a variety of supporting characters, each contributing their own subplots to the show and often becoming unwillingly involved in the schemes of the trio.
After the death of Owen in 1999, Compo was replaced at various times by his real-life son, Tom Owen, as equally unkempt Tom, Keith Clifford as Billy Hardcastle, a man who fancied himself a descendant of Robin Hood, and Brian Murphy as the childish Alvin. Due to the age of the main cast, a new trio was formed during the 30th series featuring somewhat younger actors, and this format was used for the final two instalments of the show. This group consisted of Russ Abbot as a former milkman who fancied himself a secret agent, Hobbo, Burt Kwouk as the electrical repairman, Entwistle, and Murphy as Alvin. Sallis and Thornton, both past members of the trio, continued in supporting roles alongside the new actors.