Summer Winos»Uncategorized»Series 2 Episode 2: Who's That Dancing With Nora Batty, Then?

Series 2 Episode 2: Who's That Dancing With Nora Batty, Then?



In which Blamire tinkles the ivories and Compo contemplates life down under…

Andrew: Nora and Compo’s neighbour Gloria emigrating to Australia sets something of a precedent, as Nora ends up moving there herself when she’s written out of the show. I might be misremembering, but I’m sure other characters move Down Under as well. I wonder if Roy Clarke sees it as the perfect antidote to Yorkshire gloom?

Bob: Emigrating to Australia was a big thing in the 1960s and 1970s… it was seen as the ultimate antidote to working class British life, not just Yorkshire. The Kinks even made a concept album about it (Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire, from 1969 – check it out, it’s their best album) and the cliché of barbies on the beach on sunny Christmas mornings was a huge draw for many disillusioned Brits tired of the darkness and drizzle. I’d be surprised if there were any families around in the 1970s that didn’t lose at least one member or close friend to the lure of the Antipodes. I certainly did  – I’ve got quite a few cousins that have been over there for nearly forty years now.

I think there’s an onrunning storyline in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em as well, with Frank and Betty contemplating the move? I haven’t seen those for a long time, though.

Anyway, isn’t Gloria lovely? It always seems slightly incongruous when Roy Clarke introduces younger characters to Summer Wine, but I wish we’d seen more of this giggly, earthy redhead – there’s a nice, threeway dynamic between her, Norah and Compo, with Gloria clearly being very fond of them both. She reminds me of the young housewives I used to see around Teesside in the 1970s… all headscarves and Nimble bread. Apparently Angela Crow, who plays her, was a Coronation Street regular in the early 1960s, but I’ve never seen any of those episodes. She still seems to be acting regularly on TV, bless her.

Andrew: Yes, she was in Corrie – she was Doreen Lostock, the barmaid in the Rovers Return, in the very early days.

Bob: Is this the first mention of Norah’s wrinkled stockings as well? We’re ticking off the ‘firsts’ here!

Tipping the Draylon...?

Tipping the Draylon…?

Andrew: Any thoughts on the new librarians, Miss Probert and Miss Jones? I’m not quite sure what to make of them yet, and I certainly miss the animal lust of Mr Wainwright and Miss Partridge. Aren’t series that underperform in the ratings supposed to ADD sex rather than take it away? Then again, I’m definitely getting a bit of a velvet-tipping vibe from the new duo.

Bob: Oh, definitely comedy lesbians, in the traditional sitcom ‘comfortable shoes’ style. Some lovely Roy Clarke dialogue again… ‘We’ll have an entire section labelled FOR DEGENERATES and see who has the nerve to browse through it…’ ‘That Mr Charlesworth has had Sex Amongst The Eskimos for eight weeks now…’ The early 70s was the era when ‘proper’ sex began to infiltrate mainstream culture for the first time – the age of the Confessions films, Linda Lovelace and a legion of ‘mucky books’ appearing in mainstream shops following the relaxing of the obscenity laws in the 1960s. I remember my parents having a book called Dear John by Olle Lansburg that clearly fell into the Sex Amongst The Eskimos territory, although I imagine with the benefit of hindsight it’s incredibly tame! I’m with Miss Probert, though. Ban the lot of them.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah… having spent the night in your spare room I feel it necessary to mention your hidden stash of Wrinkled Stockings Monthly.

Bob:  I noticed a nice thing about Michael Bates in these library scenes as well… he varies his Yorkshire accent. Clearly Blamire wants to ‘better himself’ and so Bates plays many of his scenes with an almost RP voice, but when Blamire gets angry or frustrated he slips into broader Yorkshire. Mollie Sugden used a similar technique as Mrs Slocombe, but Bates is much more subtle.

Andrew: Shep, the shell-shocked Lollypop Man, is a quite wonderful creation, the cantankerous old army veteran who hates children, but who giggles like a schoolboy himself at the mention of one of Compo’s old flames.

Jack Woolgar looks on the bright side

Jack Woolgar looks on the bright side

Bob: That’s a great scene. Shep is played by Jack Woolgar, who was forever popping up as tramps and dirty old men in 1960s and 70s TV shows. And another bleak, deserted outbuilding gets used as a shelter for layabouts and middle-aged smokers! Again, Angela Crow puts in a lovely performance when Gloria turns up to joins them, and breaks down into little sobs as she realises what she’s leaving behind. Lesser writers than Roy Clarke would have heaped on the pathos and wrung every last emotion from the scene, but no… our heroes give her a cigarette and drift away, leaving her with her thoughts. And there’s 1970s Britain for you, again… there was much less time for sentiment and self-indulgence. Three fifty-year-old men know full well there’s nothing they can say to a crying thirty-year-old woman, so they gently leave her alone and wander off to find something else to do. It’s a very different era.

3 comments

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    July 29, 2016 10:21 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Jakob1978

    Just watched this episode. I can’t believe that, despite the dozens of times I’ve watched these episodes, plus how much I’ve seen Dads Army, I never realised that the librarian Miss Jones is the same actress as Mrs Pike (Janet Davies).

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      July 29, 2016 11:20 pmPosted 1 year ago
      Bob Fischer

      Oh yeah! Me neither!

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    August 31, 2016 2:08 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Simon S

    No mention of Aggie Duckett! For shame, lads!

    Jack Woolgar is one of the more charming one-offs to also have been in Dr Who. Shep may have a clichéd shtick as the lollipop man who hates kids, but it’s still a lovely scene, leading after a fashion to Blamire the would-be Liberace/Elton John.

    It’s odd to meet Compo’s other neighbour, albeit as she leaves. Whoever takes the house never appears either – ISTR much later Nora suggests she and Compo are the only ones left on that patch.

    If it’s not Australia painted as a far-off exotic land, it’s Wales. You watch, if it’s not one, it’s the other.

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