Axe Summer Wine says shock magazine survey

LAST Of The Summer Wine today tops a shock poll of TV programmes viewers want AXED!

LAST Of The Summer Wine today tops a shock poll of TV programmes viewers want AXED!

Roy Clarke (with Kathy Staff and Peter Sallis at the Examiner Community Awards 2002) 240
Roy Clarke (with Kathy Staff and Peter Sallis at the Examiner Community Awards 2002) 240

The longest-running comedy TV series in the world was given the thumbs down by 12,000 television buffs in a Radio Times survey.

The show has followed the antics of a gang of elderly delinquents for more than 30 years despite the loss of leading actors including Bill Owen and Dame Thora Hird.

But it takes nearly one-third of the votes in a wide-ranging survey for the listings magazine, out today.

It pulled in more than twice as many calls to be scrapped as runner-up Heartbeat.

The magazine drew up the poll to mark its 80th birthday.

Although more than six million viewers regularly tune in to follow the fortunes of characters, including Cleggy and Nora Batty, others clearly felt it was time to bring the show to a close.

Cast and crew are busily recording a new season of episodes around Holmfirth.

Learning about the Radio Times survey, writer Roy Clarke hit back: "I don't see why it should finish. If people don't like it they shouldn't switch it on! What's the matter? Are they too idle to turn it off?"

Breaking off from filming, producer Alan J W Bell commented: "Radio Times has always been anti-Last Of The Summer Wine."

Elderly viewers, he said, adored the show. "As long as we satisfy a large audience, that's all it needs."

If the unthinkable did happen and the BBC decided to pull the plug, he promised the programme would continue.

"Certainly we have got plans to carry on if the BBC do try and cut it."

Veteran comedy writer Vince Powell, creator of Bless This House and a string of TV mega-hits over the past 30 years, argued that Summer Wine could carry on indefinitely.

"I think it's a bit like Coronation Street," said Vince from his Surrey home. "It will never reach the end of its life. If the BBC want to continue doing it, they'll do it.

"It has become an institution and I don't think they dare take it off."

He believed Summer Wine survived because of its superb cast.

Andrew Bray, of the Holme Valley Business Association, foresaw life after the TV series.

"There will be a time after Last Of The Summer Wine, but we have got 34 years of repeats! It's not going to go away for a long time. It's a part of Holmfirth's history."

The results of the questionnaire, he argued, depended entirely on the age of the respondents.

Christopher Gardner is the owner of the Wrinkled Stocking tea rooms.

"It's one of the few programmes on TV that has no sex and no swearing," he said. "It's just clean fun."

The Radio Times survey found Doctor Who was the show which most people wanted to see revived, pulling in 31% of the votes.

 

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