Summer Winos»Uncategorized»Series 4 Episode 6: Green Fingers

Series 4 Episode 6: Green Fingers

In which Foggy yearns for a satisfactory carrot…

Bob: So with no explanation or elaboration on last week’s romantic detour, Foggy is back in Holmfirth. Firstly – I assume – in the town’s hitherto-unseen marketplace, and then onto Clegg’s kitchen, complaining characteristically about ‘the deterioration of the British vegetable’. The perceived passing of an era of British life and the transition of our society into the modern world is a theme that subtly underpins the whole series at this stage. Foggy and Clegg in particular simply cannot let go of the past, often to great comic effect. ‘How long is it since you last had a satisfactory carrot?’ spits Foggy. I laughed.

As I did with the constant references to Compo’s ‘shriveller’. A bizarre archaic expression that gains lovely comic weight due to the sheer repetition of the word. The dialogue in those scenes has a lovely poetry and rhythm. And so our heroes set off to attain some ‘proper’ vegetables from Compo’s nemesis, the objectionable (but green-fingered) Lewis Bickerdyke.

Lewis Bickerdyke. Green fingers not pictured.

Andrew:  That’s such a fantastic name. They all are, really. Do these kinds of names still exist in the real world any more, or have they been phased out of our society by way of natural selection? The art of the sitcom name seems to have been lost over the years.

Bob: I think the art of the comedy name has died a little, yeah. The Two Ronnies is a goldmine of them! Even ‘Charlie Smethers’ in their Mastermind spoof makes me laugh out loud. Anyway, blimey… feast your eyes on a surprisingly vicious garden cane swordfight between Compo and Clegg (‘Enough Monsieur… I am Le Shagged’) that took me back decades! Garden cane swordfights were an essential part of my 1970s childhood, and I still have tiny scars on my fingers from endless after-school duels on top of the coal bunker. Nice to see Peter Sallis indulging in the textbook 1970s comedy device of suggesting groinal injuries in a high voice… ‘Just checking for damage!’

Andrew: I sustained an injury to the hand while partaking in a lightsabre battle with Emma a couple of years ago. To this day I don’t think I can pass a sizable set of sticks and not attempt to engage somebody or something is a spot of sword fighting. I must have been an underprivileged child if I still spy dead bits of tree and think to myself, ‘Oooh, free toy!’

Bob: We’re very much moving into the second phase of Summer Wine now… the show has pretty much dispensed with the gritty edge of the Blamire years, but we haven’t yet fully entered into the era of showcase stunts and physical comedy. Instead, we have some delightful whimsy. ‘I don’t believe in infinity,’ assures Compo. ‘It means the sky’s got no lid on it’. We then enter a charming philosophical debate about the implications of having two mirrors opposite each other on the walls of the local chippy. ‘Some clever twonk might think he’s in infinity when he looks into that mirror, when all the time he’s in some tatty little chip shop’. It’s glorious stuff.

Andrew: That actually got me thinking! One doesn’t expect a sitcom to provide points for philosophical mulling and if you consider his point, he does have one! The only character I can really think of who might come out with something similar would be Hancock.

A truly satisfactory carrot...

A truly satisfactory carrot…

Bob: All this philosophy, and still room for a giant plastic carrot at the end of the episode – used, naturally, to make the legendary vegetable-grower Bickerdyke feel inadequate. The plan – amazingly – works a treat, and we’re left with a strange and beautiful sight… Foggy actually laughing along with Clegg and Compo! Until now, he’s almost uniformly been the butt of their hilarity, and it’s actually quite a jolt to see them all giggling together! Especially as Wilde’s laugh is such a weird, gasping chortle.

Andrew: Then they’re brought crashing back down to earth when their unattended carrot starts to hurtle away down the road. We’ve probably missed a few already, but is now the time to start a ‘Thing Rolls Down a Hill’ counter? The audience certainly seem clued in; as soon as the carrot-cart’s wheels begin to turn they shriek with delight! We’ve had a few examples before now, but I’ll be damned if I can recall them all. Perhaps a reader can help us out? Comments below please!

This is also the second instance of the juxtaposition of a large object and a double-decker bus being used for comic effect. Will this be a new trope as well?

Bob: And a great bit of ‘legless’ acting from Joe Gladwin at the very death! Some fine physical comedy, that.


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    April 10, 2012 6:48 pmPosted 10 years ago
    Jakob Pieterson

    The “things running downhill” that have occured before include Foggys luggage in his first episode (with Foggys scarf attached) and Foggy himself in tge previous episode

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      July 2, 2016 1:49 amPosted 5 years ago
      Nick Griffiths

      Not to mention Clegg’s bicycle wheel in Fork Lighting and the motor bike in Northern Flying Circus.

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    September 20, 2016 2:57 pmPosted 5 years ago
    Simon S

    An episode I love, its world of allotments and competitive veg growing both rich and ripe for comedy.

    The opening at the market is pretty arresting, seeing our heroes mixing with the people they would mix with, and the amusing finish of leaving Foggy going the wrong way, as ever.

    I also love the infinity discussion, probably one of my favourite ever scenes, and “it means the sky’s got no lid on it” has a poetic genius that QI or that ilk could produce in a month of Sundays.

    I’m half-certain there was a Bickerdyke family who lived near us at one stage, and all the stuff about the Shriveller is funnier than it probably should be.

    The enormous carrot leads to a rare joyous moment when all three are united and revel in it. Wally’s reaction in the pub is the icing on the cake, as close as you need to get to pink elephants.

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    November 27, 2018 6:46 pmPosted 3 years ago
    ian l

    Does anyone know the location of the market in the greenfingers episode and if it still exists today ?

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    March 29, 2020 9:14 amPosted 2 years ago
    Mike C

    The term. “shriveller” and indeed the expression has long since become a standard piece of every day culture between my wife and I. Should a suggestion be made which warrants extreme disapproval it shall be met with a shriveller and rejoined (usually) with a “Don’t shrivel me!”
    Wally’s drunk acting at the end is hilarious. Few actor’s can really pull off good, proper drunk acting. Nicholas Lyndhurst is an absolute master at it. Keith Allen and Nigel Planer are great too.
    Anyone have any more suggestions?

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      March 31, 2020 9:04 amPosted 2 years ago
      Andrew T. Smith

      The ultimate drunk actor to my mind was Arthur Housman. You can see him in all his sozzled glory one and a half minutes into this Laurel and Hardy classic:

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        June 5, 2020 8:44 pmPosted 1 year ago

        That is indeed some top notch drunkenness.
        That fall against the car!!! Bravo!

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    January 8, 2022 10:03 pmPosted 4 months ago
    Chunky Rumbelow

    At last…I’ve found a direct line to some other idiots!

    Did anyone else spot, during this excellent installment….a foreshadowing of Peter Sallis other infamous role??


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