Summer Winos»Uncategorized»Series 3 Episode 6: Going to Gordon's Wedding

Series 3 Episode 6: Going to Gordon's Wedding

In which Compo, for once, is best man…

Andrew: Amazingly, we’ve jumped from arguably the series’ weakest episode thus far, to one of the strongest. Clarke really has put his all into this finely observed, half-hour farce. To say that he’s back on form really doesn’t do this episode justice.

Bob: Yep, I enjoyed this too. It’s nice to see Compo’s nephew Gordon back in the series, although you wonder how long is meant to have passed between instalments, given that that Gordon is now marrying Josie, the elegant redhead he met in Scarborough only two episodes earlier! It’s a very 1970s wedding – all giant buttonholes, disapproving mothers and good-natured punch-ups over Tetley’s Best Bitter. And Gordon’s not the only returning character here… we get another cameo from Paul Luty as Big Malcolm, Compo’s towering relative, last spotted duffing up Foggy in the first episode of this series.

Is this Compo's sister? We're not sure!

Is this Compo’s sister? We’re not sure!

It all reinforces the feeling of Summer Wine being a running story taking place in a small, close-knit community, and it struck me that Foggy’s arrival seems to have heralded a slight stylistic change… in Blamire’s two series, our three heroes are very much portrayed as outsiders, literally spending their days around the peripheries of town life, sitting in disused barns and abandoned factories. In Series 3, we’ve seen MUCH less of the countryside… the show has been far more grounded in sitting rooms, pubs, cafes and boarding houses, and Compo has been shown to be pretty close to several members of his extended family. It has to be a deliberate move.

Andrew: There’s some lovely domestic material here, from the competitive mothers and the forced jollity of family gatherings to Clegg’s brilliant comparison of weddings and flying… ‘When you consider how many weddings there are, it makes you realize what a safe way it is to go. It’s just that, in regard to weddings, if there is an accident then it’s usually rather a nasty one’.

Bob: Yes, I love the scene in Gordon’s mother’s sitting room… the sheer awkwardness of making polite conversation with distant family members, suffocated by floral wallpaper and that ominous, ticking clock. The desperate, nervous laughter and the young, randy couple snogging obliviously on the sofa.

Do we assume, then, that Gordon’s flighty and giggly mother, clearly three sheets to the wind by the middle of the morning, is actually Compo’s sister? It’s never specified, but the way she greets him at the door (‘Lovely to see you love, I knew you wouldn’t let me down,’ she beams, proudly, stroking the shoulder of his suit) is every inch the actions of a proud sister rather than a more distant relative.

Andrew: I guess we’ll find out for sure in First of the Summer Wine, if Roy Clarke remembers she exists by then.

Bob: If so, it’s intriguing to note that Foggy seems to take something of a shine to her, repeatedly vying for her attention and attempting to take photos of her! Can you imagine the comic potential if that relationship had developed? Oh, the shame he’d have brought upon the proud Dewhurst name… 

Josie. She's a pussycat.

Josie. She’s a pussycat.

Andrew: There’s also a nice line in physical comedy, and unlike The Kink In Foggy’s Niblick, it doesn’t seem forced. Compo’s buttonhole, the noisy wedding present, the damaged best man and Foggy’s ongoing feud with Big Malcolm are all nicely signposted and extend naturally from the characters and situation.

Bob: Indeed, and I loved Josie’s line to her father outside the church, flicking up her bridal veil and hissing ‘You see it so many times on wedding photos… embarrassed fathers pining for their overalls…’ Never a truer word spoken, and – again – a fine, pithy and beautifully concise bit of writing. We learn so much about both Josie and her fathers’ characters – and the relationship between them – from that single line.

Andrew: What strikes me most of all is how big and confident it seems. A lot is packed into twenty-nine minutes… not only the situation itself, but also the sheer number of characters involved. The world of Summer Wine suddenly opens out to include extended families and old friends like Gordon and Malcolm.

Bob: And all drenched in that glorious 1970s sunshine, on washed-out 16mm film. All is right with the world, and I want to carry on… 

3 comments

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    September 13, 2016 1:49 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Simon S

    I find this episode is tempered by the retrospective premise that when Compo dies, all these relatives are said to have been lost. Gordon. Big Malcolm. Compo’s sister/half-sister – and what relation is she if any to Big Malcolm and his friends? Even the young couple kissing on the sofa. All gone.

    The other male guest in that sitting room scene comes back in “Whoops”.

    A nice reappearance from Compo’s home, for the glorious scene with Foggy wrapping Compo’s present, plus the broad comedy of the buttonholes.

    Would anyone really want a best man with an arm in plaster? That bloke had almost as busy a career as Philip Jackson.

    It’s a touching finish that Gordon wants Compo as his substitute Best Man – one of the kindest unsolicited testimonials any character ever gets.

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    June 27, 2017 6:58 pmPosted 1 year ago
    George Kempson

    Gordon refers to Compo as “Uncle Bill”, so his mother has to be Compo’s sister or half sister, as Simon speculates.
    It’s not one of my favorite episodes to be honest, although there’s a lot going on, the brides father is in a similar situation as Wally, he has a fearsome wife that orders him about and to say no to her isn’t an option, he wears the tie that she wants him to wear, no argument.
    It does seem to get a bit convoluted at times, the squeezing in on the benches and the poor bloke reduced to sitting on his wife’s knee is a good giggle, the look on her face.
    Not sure about Foggy throwing the buttonhole on the floor, thereby setting up the fall by the best man, in reality he wouldn’t have done that, it would have been an embarrassment for him to cause the accident but there you go, it had to be done, so that Compo could be the new best man.

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    August 24, 2017 9:51 amPosted 1 year ago
    Iain Bacon

    Hi guys, I always took it that Dolly was Compo’s sister-in-law & the man that had run off, leaving her at the mercy of Big Malcolm & Eric, was his brother. The male guest in the sitting room scene is introduced with his “wife” as “Fred & Flo” (played by John Rutland & Gwyneth Owen). John comes back in “Whoops” as the trio’s old school pal Douglas “Chuffer” Enright. The Best Man was played by Brian Pettifer (a Glaswegian actor of The Musketeers TV series; Rab C. Nesbitt; Doc Martin; Hamish Macbeth & 100s more from 1966 onwards). In this I can’t hear properly if he’s called Vern or Bernie, but either way he plays the past with his usual aplomb. You can also hear the tough, no nonsense, fiery Yorkshire female tones present already in Josie (Liz Goulding) character.

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