Summer Winos»Uncategorized»Series 4 Episode 5: Who Made a Bit Of a Splash In Wales, Then?

Series 4 Episode 5: Who Made a Bit Of a Splash In Wales, Then?

In which Foggy finds romance!

Bob: Well, Roy Clarke has certainly decided to tinker with the format here… we’re suddenly pitched into an opening sequence in which Foggy appears to be on the verge of abruptly leaving the series! Amazingly, he’s found romance with an attractively mature lady in Wales. I’ll admit I was expecting some kind of pay-off in which it transpires that the relationship isn’t all that it seems (‘It gives them both the illusion of romance’ muses Clegg)… but no, Foggy and his lady seem to be genuinely in love, and his friends are left pottering around Holmfirth, miserable, lost and bereft of his company.

Until, of course, they decide to hire a car and pay him a visit… with Sid and Ivy in tow, under the pretext of visiting Ivy’s sister en route. And so we get some more curiously frank 1970s attitudes to sex… as Ivy clambers into the car, Compo brazenly attempts to look up her skirt – his childlike persona veering dangerously into bona fide sex pest territory. And then Sid openly admits he was ‘hoping to get round a few of those Welsh barmaids’! Is this idle male banter, or were unreconstructed 1970s husbands generally accepted to like ‘a bit on the side’, and their long-suffering wives just stood back and… well, suffered?

Andrew: Don’t ask me; I was but a glint in some café owner’s eye back then!

The Oncoming Storm

The Oncoming Storm

Bob: We see Clegg driving again, becoming increasingly nervous and incompetent behind the wheel of the car. There’s a lovely scene where our heroes are lost in the Welsh countryside, and there’s clearly a hell of a summer storm brewing in the distance! The skies are absolutely black, and full of thunder. Clearly just a happy accident, but it creates a gorgeous late-summer atmosphere.

It nicely foreshadows the tense scenes with Foggy as well, as Compo and Clegg finally arrive at his Welsh retreat, finding him holed up with his charming lady-friend and her seemingly frosty mother. The relationship between Foggy and Compo is nicely played by Wilde and Owen here… he’s genuinely mortified by Compo’s very presence in the house, clearly desperate not to offend his new, middle-class companions. He’s like a teenage boy, ushering his first girlfriend away from his embarrassing parents. It actually feels very odd to see such familiar Summer Wine characters in very well-to-do suburban 1970s settings… the house, the street and the cars on the drives are right out of Butterflies or Terry and June. It’s a stark contrast to the soot-stained terraces of Holmfirth.

Andrew: I get the impression that, had Clarke thought of this idea a few years later, this scenario would have warranted a feature-length episode. The idea of Compo and Clegg being sooo lonely without Foggy that they’ll drive across the country to hassle him is a lovely idea, but thirty minutes isn’t really enough time to do the story justice. I could quite happily have spent that amount of time watching Compo kick the back of Ivy’s seat as they potter along the M56. According to Google Maps, it would have taken them an hour and nineteen minutes to make it to the Welsh border. That’s a long time to be stuck in the car with Compo, even if he does claim to have washed that morning.

When Jean Boht comes in...

When Jean Boht comes in…

Bob: And, in a nice side-story, we actually meet Ivy’s sister, with Jean Boht putting in a fine snooty turn, well-served by some prime Roy Clarke dialogue. ‘I don’t think I’ve seen you since I papered the lounge,’ she trills, ‘I hope you like pale mustard’. You can almost smell the simmering social tension between the two sisters.

Andrew: She seems a bit wasted here. As you say, it’s a wonderful scene and performance. Even if the character doesn’t make her way back into the series, her spiritual sisters will continue in Clarke’s writing – see Edie Pegden and Hyacinth Bucket for a couple of examples of one of the writer’s favorite archetypes.

Bob: The episode ends, predictably, with Compo and the aforementioned frosty mother-in-law getting on like a house on fire (‘I want to see a pair of corsets hanging over the end of me bed’, he muses, longingly) and – even more predictably – with the injured Foggy rolling down a hill towards a shimmering lake.

Andrew: I actually rolled my eyes a bit when it was first hinted that Foggy would end up in the lake! Even the studio audience seemed to cluck at the fact that twist was coming. Then, just at the last minute, it was all saved by some good old-fashioned retribution.

Bob: All in all, it’s a very un-Summer Wine episode, and it never quite feels like it belongs to the rest of the series. An odd experiment.

And how did Foggy and his lady friend actually meet? Perhaps it’s best we never know…

4 comments

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    October 21, 2015 7:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    L. Grey

    Since Foggy was posted in Wales before his appearance in the first episode of series 3, perhaps she was just an acquaintance? Or maybe Blamire (although he’s unmentioned in this episode despite the fact that he relocated to Wales, and the character is never mentioned to have died) ‘recommended’ his old friend Foggy to the lady in question? I do find certain things like this odd in the series, because it’s rather central to the entire premise of the episode but goes virtually completely unaddressed. Agreed that this might have been better served in an hour-long format!

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    September 19, 2016 1:49 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Simon S

    Seems an odd one, Foggy suddenly finding romance (and just as suddenly losing it afterwards). The palaver over the journey seems to take as much precedence as the romance – has Sid forgotten Clegg’s track record with driving?

    It’s a shame that the title seems set up just for that final stunt (a runaway vehicle on a hillside, oops), although at least Roy Clarke offers a mild swerve with the result.

    Rather a forgettable effort, with fate meaning Jean Boht is far more memorable by association than either Foggy’s intended or mother-in-law.

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    January 23, 2017 4:53 pmPosted 9 months ago
    Tice

    Hello, everybody! I’m very happy to have stumbled on this site. Not many people here in the U.S. know LOTSW, and not many who do are familiar with the first several series, which is when it was at its best.

    What I always remember about this episode is how even Foggy’s girlfriend needles him a little about his general unfamiliarity with sex. I think she calls him a “frightened young maiden” or something along those lines. It’s a shame that she never appears again; not that her being a regular presence on the show would make sense, but she seems like a wonderful friend for him. I guess that Foggy decided that total celibacy was the way of the warrior and they parted ways.

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      January 24, 2017 8:27 amPosted 9 months ago
      Andrew T. Smith

      Welcome to the gang! I think you may be the first American I have conversed with to suggest the earlier series may be superior and I’ve often wondered if those first years are too much of a foreign country for those outside the UK to wrap their heads around.

      Reply

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