Six Dates With Barker, 1971
Six Dates With Barker was a series of six one off sitcoms staring Ronnie Barker.
First broadcast in 1971 Barker is joined by a host of names from the world of TV both as cast members and writers.
It’s interesting to see how an idea first used by Tom Sloan with writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson was still being used, ten years after the very first BBC Comedy Playhouse.
Episode 1 – 1937: The Removals Person
Transmission Date: 8th January 1971
Barker plays Fred, a short sighted removals man who works whilst the owner of the house watches The Coronation. This idea was developed into Barker’s final sitcom: Clarence, in 1988.
Episode 2 – 1899: The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town
Transmission Date: 15th January 1971
A mysterious figure who blows raspberries at people terrifies Victorian London.
Writer: Spike Milligan
Episode 3 – 1970: The Odd Job Man
Transmission Date: 22nd January 1971
When his wife leaves him, Barker hires a passing odd job man to kill him when he least expects it. When his wife returns he finds his previous request impossible to cancel. A Young David Jason is among the guest stars.
Writer: Bernard Mc Kenna
Episode 4 – 1915: Lola
Transmission Date: 29th January 1971
A top female agent goes missing after the German Head of Espionage fails to monitor her properly.
Writers: Ken Hoare and Mike Sharland.
Episode 5 – 1971: Come in and Lie Down
Transmission Date: 5th February 1971
Barker plays Dr Swanton, a psychiatrist who is visited by a patient who is so terrified of being diagnosed with mental problems, he pretends to be a gasman.
Writer: John Cleese
Episode 6 – 2774 AD: All the World’s a Stooge
Transmission Date: 12th February 1971
In the far future, comedy has become the religion of the world and there are dire consequences for those who do not join in. Based on an outline by Gerald Wiley (Barker) and Maurice Murphy.
Written By: See individual episodes
Produced By: London Weekend Television
Original Transmission Dates: 8th January – 12th February 1971
Three of the episodes found their own spin offs.
The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town. Perhaps the best remembered spin of as it appeared as a series in The Two Ronnies. Did you know that David Jason blew the required ‘Raspberrys’ even though it was actor David Rowlands who appeared as The Phantom in the penultimate instalment.
The Odd Job Man became a film in 1978 entitled The Odd Job. David Jason was the only original cast member to appear in the film version.
The Removals Person became “Clarence” Ronnie Barker’s final sitcom.
All episodes were made in colour except The Odd Job Man which was recorded in blackand white due to an ITV colour strike.
All six episodes still exist within the archives.