Sole surviving Ronnie Barker sitcom episode to be released

Monday 4th April 2022, 5:01pm

His Lordship Entertains. Image shows from L to R: Mildred Bates (Josephine Tewson), Lord Rustless (Ronnie Barker). Copyright: BBC

The sole surviving episode of a Ronnie Barker sitcom is to be released on DVD.

Starring his Lord Rustless character, His Lordship Entertains aired seven episodes on BBC Two in 1972, but all were wiped by the corporation.

A 2007 drive to recover such lost programmes, run by Kaleidoscope in association with ITV, led to a black-and-white film recording of Episode 1 being returned from an archive in New Zealand.

New colour recovery and restoration technologies have now enable the programme to be colour-restored for the first time, and it is this that will be released on DVD by Kaleidoscope later this spring. It is now available to order.

The character of Lord Rustless was a favourite of Barker's, appearing in no less than three different television incarnations.

First seen in the 1968 Ronnie Barker Playhouse episode Ah, There You Are (written by Alun Owen), he would be revived in two series of Hark At Barker, a sitcom/sketch hybrid built around the character's stately home, Chrome Hall, which ran for two series on ITV's London broadcaster LWT in 1969 and 70.

Co-starring David Jason as the ancient, decrepit gardener Dithers, and Josephine Tewson as secretary Mildred Bates, the sixteen programmes featured writing from a talent ranging as wide as Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden, Eric Idle, Alan Ayckbourn and Barker himself.

Following the launch of The Two Ronnies on the BBC in Spring 1971, the character was then brought over to the corporation for the single-series sitcom that saw Chrome Hall opened as a country house hotel and Dithers promoted to bell-boy.

All seven episodes of His Lordship Entertains were penned by Barker, and as such the scripts are included in the compendium All I Ever Wrote.

The Ronnie Barker Collection - Hark At Barker / Six Dates With Barker

All 15 episodes from the 1969 series Hark At Barker, alongside six one-off episodes from the 1971 series Six Dates With Barker.

Ronnie Barker stars alongside the likes of David Jason in these gems of comedy from ITV's archive.

First released: Sunday 12th October 2008

Not in the UK?

Fear not! Many items can still be ordered. Amazon in the UK delivers to many international territories, whilst their Australia, USA and Canada stores also supply many equivalent or imported items.

If you are in the North America, look out for US/Canadian flag icons on popular product listings for direct links.

If you order from a UK store, please note that the UK is in Region 2 and B, respectively, for DVDs and Blu-rays - check your player's compatibility, or look for multi-region products if you are located in another region.

If you are in Australia or New Zealand (DVD Region 4), note that almost all DVDs distributed in the UK by the BBC and 2entertain are encoded for both Region 2 and Region 4. The UK and Australasia are in the same Blu-ray region (B).

Ronnie Barker - All I Ever Wrote: The Complete Works

Ronnie Barker has long been known as one of Britain's greatest comedy performers. But he was also responsible for writing much of the material he performed, often hiding the fact from the public by using a number of pen names. Showcasing the complete work of a true comic icon, All I Ever Wrote is a laugh-out-loud collection of sketches, monologues, songs, poems and scripts from every strand of Ronnie's long and brilliant career.

With gems like 'Fork Handles,' Three Classes' and 'Pismonouncers Unanimous', Ronnie's clever writing, double entendres and spoonerisms will bring a smile to your face, as you rediscover some of the twentieth century's finest comedy moments.

First published: Wednesday 26th August 2015

Not in the UK?

Fear not! Many items can still be ordered. Amazon in the UK delivers to many international territories, whilst their Australia, USA and Canada stores also supply many equivalent or imported items.

If you are in the North America, look out for US/Canadian flag icons on popular product listings for direct links.

If you order from a UK store, please note that the UK is in Region 2 and B, respectively, for DVDs and Blu-rays - check your player's compatibility, or look for multi-region products if you are located in another region.

If you are in Australia or New Zealand (DVD Region 4), note that almost all DVDs distributed in the UK by the BBC and 2entertain are encoded for both Region 2 and Region 4. The UK and Australasia are in the same Blu-ray region (B).

His Lordship Entertains - Episode 1

Ronnie Barker's famous character Lord Rustless swapped channels from ITV for this short BBC sitcom set in a hotel.

Originally shown from colour videotape, those recordings were wiped. During ITV's Raiders Of The Lost Archives campaign in 2007 (which was run by Kaleidoscope) ITV were offered episode one of His Lordship Entertains from New Zealand. ITV declined because it was a BBC show but Kaleidoscope accepted and the print was shipped to the BBC and transferred.

Due to modern technology, Jonathan Coley and his amazing colour restoration processes created a new colour master to be screened at the BFI's annual Missing Believed Wiped event on 27th November 2021. With some further adjustments since, it is now available to own on DVD.

First released: Tuesday 31st May 2022

Not in the UK?

Fear not! Many items can still be ordered. Amazon in the UK delivers to many international territories, whilst their Australia, USA and Canada stores also supply many equivalent or imported items.

If you are in the North America, look out for US/Canadian flag icons on popular product listings for direct links.

If you order from a UK store, please note that the UK is in Region 2 and B, respectively, for DVDs and Blu-rays - check your player's compatibility, or look for multi-region products if you are located in another region.

If you are in Australia or New Zealand (DVD Region 4), note that almost all DVDs distributed in the UK by the BBC and 2entertain are encoded for both Region 2 and Region 4. The UK and Australasia are in the same Blu-ray region (B).

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