Summer Winos»Uncategorized»Series 2 Episode 1: Forked Lightning

Series 2 Episode 1: Forked Lightning


In which Clegg slips a gear and the trio attempt to ride a bicycle made for one…

Andrew: So, we kick off Series 2, and there’s not much from the outset that would mark this out as being a second run.

After Clegg damages his, umm, equipment, slipping from his bike he says the condition is ‘best described as forked lightning’. It’s a very genital-fixated episode, really, what with Compo’s discussion of his ‘person’, but I have literally no idea what the episode title refers to here! Am I missing a reference?

Nice one Cleggy, nice one son…

Bob: You’ve clearly never impaled your cobblers on a bicycle frame! Ah, the youth of today. I think it’s just a reference to the sudden explosion of pain and knacker-wrenching torment that Clegg experiences when the accident happens. I’m going to claim a little bit of Summer Wine for Teesside here as well… the people queuing at the bus stop break into a sterling rendition of ‘Nice One, Cyril’… A 1973 hit for Cockerel Chorus, inspired by Middlesbrough-born left-back Cyril Knowles, then playing for Tottenham Hotspur. ‘Nice One, Cyril’ was still doing the rounds as a popular playground song and catchphrase during my own childhood ten years later, even though we had no idea by then who ‘Cyril’ actually was!

Andrew: At one point during this episode our trip attempt to board a number 47 bus that displays the destinations ‘Huddersfield’ and ‘Holmfirth’. I think that has to be one of the only occasions that the town is ever named. For the most part Summer Wine takes place in a generic Yorkshire Never-Never Land and I rather like it that way!

Bob: I didn’t spot that! I was too busy looking at the saucy bus conductress. I loved Compo’s innuendo-laden comment that she ‘took a lodger’… in more ways than one, clearly. Ah, lodgers… such a comedy staple of the 1960s and 70s, wiped out by Mrs ‘Fatcher’s property-owning boom of the 1980s! The possibilities of having a strange (and, obviously, young and virile) man living in the marital home kept British sitcom writers salivating for decades.

The pre-Delboy Kenneth Macdonald

The pre-Delboy Kenneth Macdonald

Good to see a very young Kenneth MacDonald as the Huddersfield mechanic as well… it would be another ten years before he found fame as Mike, the landlord of the Nag’s Head in Only Fools And Horses. I think his performance jars a little bit here, actually… he’s very good, but he gives a traditional ‘big’ 70s sitcom performance, whereas everyone else in Summer Wine so far has underplayed things.

Andrew: The series does seem to be getting a tiny bit broader, though… in fact, is this the first example we get of three men rolling down a hill on a rickety contraption, only to crash into a heap at the bottom? The little wah-wah stab on the soundtrack when Clegg’s bike is run over puts us closer to traditional sitcom territory as well. It still, at this stage, feels like a natural part of their acknowledged second childhood, though. It’s not like one of the showpiece stunts that came to embody the series in later years.

I love the way Ivy responds to Compo’s cheeky advances. It almost seems like a gut reaction for her to chase him off, but once the scruffy get is out of sight she’s quite clearly pleased with the attention. This kind of little character moment keeps cropping up and it really does mark the series out as something special. There’s always something more to the characters that the stock types they might first appear.

Bob: I loved that, too! ‘Tha’s got a chest like a proud pigeon’, says Compo. She gives him his usual comeuppance, but then – when he’s out of sight – admires her own heaving bosom proudly in the café mirror. There’s some classic Roy Clarke dialogue in this one, actually… I liked Clegg’s comment on Compo’s smoking habit – ‘On a clear day, you can hear the wind rustling through the undergrowth in your lungs’. Poetry, that.

'Tha's got a chest like a proud pigeon!'

‘Tha’s got a chest like a proud pigeon!’

I think we might have another Summer Wine first in this episode, too. In that lovely pub scene (‘Any distinguishing marks on your… person?’) Compo refers to Blamire as ‘Elsie’. For the next 27 years he’ll regularly call the authority figure of the trio by a traditional lady’s name, but is the first time he does it? I can’t remember noticing this in any previous episodes.

Andrew: I’d never noticed that particular motif, but now that you mention it… yes, this does look like the first in a series of running gags!

Bob: And a glorious homage to Butch and Sundance at the end, with Sid freewheeling Clegg’s bike around the square as our heroes break into a chorus of Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. Everyone’s suppressing genuine, bubbling laughter, Ronnie Hazlehurst’s music swells to accompany them, and it’s all clearly been filmed on the most beautiful, sun-drenched 1970s afternoon. Heavenly.


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    June 30, 2011 9:03 pmPosted 6 years ago
    Jakob Pieterson

    Although it’s never named in dialogue there’s a lot of signs showing they’re in Holmfirth. The bus (again) at the end of the Xmas special “Whoops” (my personal favourite episode of all) has Holmfirth as the destination. And later on, they seem a lot more relaxed about showing signs and notices in the background. An episode on GOLD a couple of days ago (All that Glitters is not Elvis) clearly shows a sign for “Holmfirth Methodist Church”.

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      March 30, 2012 11:29 amPosted 5 years ago
      Jakob Pieterson

      and replying to myself nearly a year later, the recent DVD release which includes Last Post and Pigeon, allows us to see clearly Compo’s Passport which clearly shows that he was born on 26th Febuary 1923 in Holmfirth

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        March 31, 2012 3:54 pmPosted 5 years ago
        Andrew T. Smith

        Great spot, Jakob!

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    August 17, 2011 10:52 amPosted 6 years ago

    Just letting you guys know that I absolutely love this blog on ‘Last of the Summer Wine’! I look forward to each entry and have been devastated that there hasn’t been one for so long! I’m not even sure LOTSW was even shown in Australia, but I have been addicted to it for years, ever since I bought myself a copy of Series 1 for Christmas. Now I have up to Series 20. So don’t be shy in posting more blog entries for LOTSW!!!!!

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      August 17, 2011 12:08 pmPosted 6 years ago
      Andrew T. Smith

      Thanks for the kind words, Prue. Things have been a little busy around these parts lately, but we’ll try our best to resume normal service over the coming month or so. We have a couple of entries ready and waiting to be posted, but we would rather build up a little stockpile first.


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    August 30, 2016 2:10 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Simon S

    Is Clegg just bloody-minded in taking a bike back to a shop he bought it from 30 years before, or daft?

    The Raindrops Keep Falling homage is so sweet, and even its inevitable pay-off gives us Ivy’s heartfelt reaction.

    Proud Pigeon Monthly sounds much less sordid than Nuts.

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    January 23, 2017 8:47 pmPosted 1 year ago

    I’m almost sure there’s an episode later on in this series where Clegg re-visits the “on your…person” gimmick. He even looks around before he says the word. Does anyone remember what I’m talking about and which episode it happens in?


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