The Two Ronnies Spectacle. Image shows from L to R: Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett. Copyright: North One Television
The Two Ronnies Spectacle

The Two Ronnies Spectacle

  • TV documentary
  • Gold
  • 2013
  • 3 episodes (1 series)

A three part documentary series about the TV work of double-act The Two Ronnies. Features Ronnie Corbett, Stephen Mangan, Al Murray, Clive Anderson, Rob Brydon and more.

Press clippings

The Four Candles/Fork Handles sketch, ribald puns and lengthy armchair monologues - such was the stuff of all our Saturday nights. This three-part documentary, first aired in 2013, tells the story of the duo, with tonight's opener recalling how they came to work together, having cut their teeth appearing alongside the likes of John Cleese. Contributors include Al Murray, Clive Anderson and the late Ronnie Corbett himself.

David Stubbs, The Guardian, 29th December 2016

"Every time I see it I'm re-astonished by it," says comedian Steve Punt of the Rons' renowned Mastermind spoof. But as its writer David Renwick reveals, he came close to tearing it up: "I thought the premise was too contrived." It's these insights that have lifted this retrospectacle from papery clipathon to something more substantial. An influential 1937 photo of Ronnie Barker's dad provides another little frisson.

The final part focuses on the duo's song-and-dance finales and serials such as "The Worm That Turned" (set in a dystopian future of 2012!) and "The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town" (written by Spike Milligan with a pseudonymous Barker). It rather glosses over the eye-watering sexism of some of the Ronnies' sub-Benny Hill fare. But the mini-scoops make this a must-see for comedy completists.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 9th October 2013

Laurel and Hardy are only mentioned once, in passing, but the comparisons with 70s heroes The Two Ronnies go deeper than an undersized bowler hat. While Barker enjoyed the mechanics of production, especially on location, Corbett was happier playing golf until he was needed for filming. Stan and Ollie operated in similar fashion.

This second episode is a more measured edition after last week's hagiography: some of the humour is pretty hard to defend. But the rarities are terrific - never-before-seen sketches, the Rons Down Under ("It's g'day from me...") - and, for a change, the role of the writer is championed.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 2nd October 2013

Ronnie Corbett on The Two Ronnies Spectacle

The well-loved comedian talks to us about the G.O.L.D. retrospective, being an inspiration to modern comics and still having the razzle dazzle.

Georgina Terry, Radio Times, 2nd October 2013

Ronnie Barker: a performer hell-bent on perfection

Though painfully shy, comic actor Ronnie Barker didn't mind stepping on toes to get his own way, says his biographer Richard Webber.

Richard Webber, The Telegraph, 25th September 2013

Radio Times review

Did you know the "Fork Handles" hardware-store sketch was originally called "Annie Finkhouse?" (as in "anything else")? Or that master word-juggler Ronnie Barker infuriated himself with his rare fluffs? That This Is Your Life was indirectly responsible for the Two Ronnies' only falling-out in a 39-year partnership? Tonight - the first of a three-part series - you'll snack on many such comedy canapés.

Fans of the Rons will love the routine that's not been aired for 40 years - it's not great but it is rare - Barker's between-takes ad-libbing to keep the studio audience warmed up, and Corbett matching Barker for tongue-twistery. Remember the "producer" Corbett was always going on about? We meet the very man. And see the famous chair - now reupholstered four times!

All this plus, of course, a few late items of news. Horn-rimmed heaven.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 25th September 2013

Ronnie Corbett interview

Ronnie Corbett talks to TV Times magazine about the GOLD series The Two Ronnies Spectacle, and thanks David Frost for launching him to stardom as he also unearths a remarkable memorabilia collection made by his comedy partner Ronnie Barker...

TV Times, 23rd September 2013

Ronnie Corbett: I don't know why I keep crying so much

It's an emotional time for Ronnie Corbett: he's returning to TV after 17 years and mourning the sudden loss one of his oldest friends, David Frost.

Celia Walden, The Telegraph, 19th September 2013

GOLD commissions Two Ronnies documentary series

GOLD has commissioned The Two Ronnies Spectacle, a three part documentary series about The Two Ronnies, featuring rare footage.

British Comedy Guide, 19th June 2013

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