Ronnie Barker proves his versatility with Seven Of One, a 1973 collection of seven single comedies, two of which would lead to his best known series. Barker had tried this anthology format twice before with The Ronnie Barker Playhouse from 1968 and Six Dates With Barker in 1971 but its this collection that sees him at his best.
Writing one of the episodes himself (under the pen name Jack Goetz) and bringing in giants of the genre such as Roy Clarke and Clement and La Frenais as well co-acting talent of the calibre of the legendary Talfryn Thomas, David Jason and Sam Kelly, Barker is very much on form.
The first two episodes are Open All Hours with Barker’s miserly shopkeeper Arkwright soon becoming a TV classic whilst the second is Prisoner and Escort starring a certain Norman Stanley Fletcher on his way to Slade prison, this episode would of course serve as the pilot for the legendary Porridge.
My Old Man sees Barker playing retired engine driver Sam Cobbett whose house faces demolition, this did in fact also go on to become a series that starred Clive Dunn in the title role. Spanner’s Eleven is another gem, scripted by Roy Clarke and co-starring the fab Bill Maynard, Barker is Albert Spanner coach of the dismal Ashfield Athletic football Club.
Another Fine Mess is something of a tribute to Laurel and Hardy that co-stars Roy Castle, One Man’s Meat was written by Barker and is a comedy of a starvation diet. Finally I’ll Fly You For A Quid is a farcical mix up over a winning betting slip.
Interestingly this was planned as the opening episode but for some reason was postponed and ended up being shown last.
UK / BBC-2 / 7×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 1973 March – 6 May 1973
Executive Producer: James Gilbert