Comedy legend Sir David Jason has returned to Doncaster to begin filming the new series of Open All Hours.
Cameras began rolling at the converted Balby hairdressing salon yesterday, as the much-loved BBC sitcom returned to the town once more.
Film crews arrived in town on Friday to begin setting up over the weekend at the Beautique salon on the corner of Lister Avenue and Scarth Avenue, transforming the tiny salon once again into Arkwright’s cluttered emporium. And scores of fans turned out to catch a glimpse of the stars on their street as shooting began for the new six-part series.
Helen Richards, who made a special journey from her home in Barnby Dun to catch a glimpse of the shoot, said: “I missed it last time round so I wanted to make sure I’d be here to see what was going on this time round.
“It is wonderful to see the shop set out again, just like in the original series. It really takes you back to see the Arkwright sign up on the corner.”
The new series follows the success of a Christmas special last year in which Granville, played by Sir David, had inherited the shop from his miserly, stuttering uncle, played in the original series by comedy legend Ronnie Barker.
The Still Open All Hours special proved to be one of the biggest hits of the festive period for the BBC, drawing in more than 12 million viewers and making it the most popular show on TV last Christmas and the seventh most watched programme in Britain for the whole of 2013.
The viewing figures prompted BBC bosses to commission a new series with Doncaster writer Roy Clarke, who penned the original series which ran between 1973 and 1985, taking up writing duties once more.
Other stars of the original series, Lynda Baron, who played buxom nurse Gladys Emmanuel, Stephanie Cole, who appeared as the fearsome Mrs Featherstone, aka The Black Widow, and dithering customer Mavis, played by Maggie Ollerenshaw, are also expected to return for the show.
Cameras will be filming for the next two weeks and Lister Avenue will be sealed off. Interior filming is set for Salford later this year.
But not all Balby residents were glad to see the show’s return. Sue Teale said: “It causes chaos for us and we have a street full of sightseers.”
C-c-c-comedy classic lives on for a new era
Many younger viewers may not be aware that the original series of Open All Hours was one of Britain’s biggest and best loved comedies of the 1970s and 80s.
Born out of a pilot of Ronnie Barker comedy vehicles, the show introduced us to the penny-pinching and stuttering Yorkshire shopkeeper Albert Arkwright and his put-upon nephew Granville, played by David Jason.
At that time, Jason, although featuring regularly on television, was yet to enjoy mainstream success but the pair’s comic capers propelled him to stardom.
When the cameras stopped rolling in 1985 as the fourth series drew to a close, few could have predicted that nearly 30 years on, a tiny hairdressing salon in an unremarkable and normally quiet Doncaster suburb would once more become the set for a TV hit.