Summer Winos»Uncategorized»Series 1 Episode 1: Short Back and Palais Glide

Series 1 Episode 1: Short Back and Palais Glide


In which our heroes rid Compo of evil spirits, lose a front door key and attempt to attend a formal dinner dance…

Andrew: I like the way that the first episode of the series proper opens with a shot of 1970s kids mucking about on a field, because even in these early episodes the theme of pensioners reverting to adolescence is quite clear. Our three main characters giggle over adult magazines, loiter at bus stops and fail to gain entry to a posh dance; it’s like an episode of The Inbetweeners with an old-age cast!

Bob: As for the plot, it’s fairly light… Blamire gets his hair cut, Compo loses his house key while being upended in the library to shake evil spirits from his head, and the trio blag their way into the dinner dance to retrieve it from Wainwright the prissy librarian – before retreating, typically, to the backroom where Sid ferries them bottled beer and chicken butties from the buffet.

But it doesn’t matter, it’s a hugely enjoyable start to the series proper. Good to see Compo flick an authentic 1970s V-sign at the end, as well. Nobody gives proper V-signs any more!

Look at the muck in 'ere!

Look at the muck in ‘ere!

Andrew: Actually, with that V-sign and Clegg’s eyebrow-raising mention of rape, it’s probably worth noting that the first three episodes of the series have awarded a ‘12’ certification from the BBFC. I’m not trying to suggest that this means that the early years of Summer Wine are a den of filth, but they are a little at odds with the cosy, family-friendly, inoffensive reputation that the series gained in its later period. Just look at that topless calendar at the back of the barber’s shop!

Bob: And more fabulous early 70s grottiness! Have a good butchers at the café in this, it’s absolutely filthy. The walls are coated in damp, grime and cobwebs. Look at the screengrab… there’s decades worth of congealed muck and chip fat on that back wall! A fantastic double act from Sid and Ivy, though, and you forget how much of an important figure Sid was in these early series… he has the one line in this episode that made me laugh out loud:

Ivy: I came here to dance, but fat chance of that with you. You don’t even know how to hold me.

Sid: (Making a strangling motion) Put your neck in there…

Mr Wainwright approves a withdrawal

Roy Clarke’s love of odd Northern dialogue shines through constantly. The devil is in the detail, and Clegg gets most of the best lines. He talks of Compo making a nest, a ‘simple construction of mattress fluff and old Sporting Chronicles’. He pricks dinner dance doorman Charlie Harris’ pomposity with the splendid riposte ‘I’ve seen you making imitation rude noises for the entertainment of the Young Conservatives’. Although, a heartbeat later, Compo’s perfectly-timed aside, ‘And your Eileen had to get married’ is laced with brilliant old-school Northern nose-tapping knowingness.

I loved Mrs Partridge’s comment about her 12-year-old son as well… ‘he’s never been strong, and everything goes to his chest’. Roy Clarke’s ear for the rhythms and absurdities of speech is just perfect. I could hear my mother saying that line, word for word, in my own grimy, early 1970s childhood.  Does anyone talk like that any more? 


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    August 10, 2016 4:44 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Simon S

    I love the ep title, it sums up things so neatly (unlike the following title, which is the pits).
    Never quite figured how Sid manages his successful smuggling operations – how busy is this dance, and yet no-one can find 3 sneaky intruders in another room?
    Sid gets some nice lines, as you say, but then we haven’t met Wally yet.
    I can’t be doing with Wainwright, either.

    Great site, btw, always love screen-caps 🙂

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      August 10, 2016 10:29 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Bob Fischer

      Thanks Simon!

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    August 11, 2016 7:08 amPosted 3 years ago
    Simon S

    You might want to consider Frank Middlemass as the barber, though, as welcome a one-off turn as Bryan Pringle or others later.

    Lived in Hepesh’s house! Also a regular in Heartbeat, that other Yorkshire classic (!)

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    January 26, 2017 8:41 pmPosted 3 years ago

    I’m surprised that the first episode of the series proper barely re-introduces the characters. It’s as if they take it for granted that the viewers remember all the characters from the pilot. I mean, in the café, we only get a brief look at Sid and a glance at Ivy. It´s so quick, I think people could be forgiven if they didn´t recognize them later, at the dance, in formal dress.

    I wonder whether the next episode (where Clegg has a monologue that is basically the mission statement of the entire show, about finding ways to spend time in their retirement) was intended to air first, and someone decided to switch it?

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    January 20, 2018 4:00 pmPosted 2 years ago
    david raynor

    thats one of my fav quotes of all time but yer neck in their a statement for every husband who has ever lived brilliant.the ending well ill climb in back window like i normally do classic

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    November 13, 2018 1:13 pmPosted 1 year ago

    Wish I knew their shooting locations…like at the opening when they walk down a hill lane…and where the female librarian lives.


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