Seven Of One – 1973
Seven Of One was a series made by Ronnie Barker in 1973. It was effectively a series of possible sitcom pilot episodes. It was a similar idea to a series Barker had done two years earlier with London Weekend Television entitled “Six dates With Barker”
Originally there had been plans to call this series Six Of One, with Ronnie Barker planning a follow up series entitled Half Dozen of the Other.
The series benefited from an all star cast and some great writing, but of the seven only two made it to a follow up series. These were Prisoner and Escort that became Porridge and Open All Hours.
My Old Man also became a short-lived series for Yorkshire Television on ITV, but with an entirely new cast starring Clive Dunn.
Of the seven possible pilots Ronnie Barker’s personal favourite was I’ll Fly You for a Quid. Barker was keen to do a full series, but was convinced by the BBC that it would be harder to do a full series of scripts about Evan Owen in a Welsh gambling community compared to Norman Stanley Fletcher in the prison setting of Prisoner and Escort.
Open All Hours:
Barker plays Arkwright a miserly northern shopkeeper whose tight fisted antics are matched only by his unending lust for Nurse Gladys Emanuel. Unwillingly assisted by his put upon nephew Granville (David Jason). Written By Roy Clarke
Prisoner And Escort:
Features Barker as Norman Stanley Fletcher “an habitual criminal, who accepts arrest as an occupational hazard” and his escorts soft hearted Mr Barrowclough (Brian Wilde) and the authoritarian Mr Mackay (Fulton Mackay) on their journey to prison. Written By Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais
My Old Man:
An embittered former train driver is forced to leave his condemned home, and decides to go & live with his daughter and her ‘posh’ husband by the railway. Written By Gerald Flow
The tale of ailing football team, Ashfield Athletic, and its trainer, local cabbie / hot dog salesman / chauffeur, Norman Spanner. This was a favourite of Barker. Written by Roy Clarke
Another Fine Mess:
Ronnie Barker and Roy Castle play two Laurel and Hardy impersonators who become their characters as an evening’s farcical events escalate around them. Written by Hugh Leonard.
One Man’s Meat:
A man is forced to go on a starvation diet by his wife (Prunella Scales). Written by Jack Goetz
I’ll Fly you for a quid:
A Welsh family, the Owens, who bet on anything and everything, discover that their grandfather backed a winner on the day he died – but where is the betting slip? Written By Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais. This was a particular favourite of Ronnie Barker who was keen to see it become a full series, however it would be Prisoner and Escort that was chosen over it.
Richard O’ Callaghan
Written By: Various
Original Transmission Dates: 25th March – 6th May 1973