Where Arkwright in Open All Hours found his signature stutter

It began as a single episode in a series of pilots for Ronnie Barker, but 37 years later, a comedy about a back street corner shop in Yorkshire is still going strong.

Ronnie Barker in Open All Hours
Ronnie Barker in Open All Hours

Open All Hours is in its second incarnation now, with David Jason – originally the assistant to Barker’s Albert Arkwright – in the main role. But these pictures take us back to the Seventies, when set dressers first transformed a hairdresser’s salon in Balby, near Doncaster, into the best known grocer this side of Sir Ken Morrison.

Barker took Arkwright’s signature stutter from one of his comic mentors, the 1950s writer and performer Glenn Melvyn, who made it his trademark.

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But it was the wordplay of the South Yorkshire scriptwriter Roy Clarke, who also turned out Last of The Summer Wine, that gave Arkwright a life of his own.

Ronnie Barker, with co-stars Lynda Baron (Nurse Gladys) and David Jason (Arkwright's nephew/assisstant Granville

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David Jason and Ronnie Barker during filming of Open All Hours

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Ronnie Barker and David Jason filming in the shop on Lister Avenue, Balby. Picture: SWNS
Sir David Jason as Granville in Still Open All Hours