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Hark At Barker (ITV 1969-1970, Ronnie Barker, David Jason)



Whitney Houston & Bobbi Kristina

Sketch based sitcom Hark At Barker detailed the misadventures of the crotchety old Lord Rustless and his dodgy servants at his stately home Chrome Hall. Played by Ronnie Barker, Lord Rustless was quite similar to a lot of his elderly male characters, bushy of eye-brow and completely sex obsessed.

In addition to their main roles, Ronnie Barker and David Jason (who played manservant Dithers) also played a variety of other characters in each episode. Ronnie Corbett also appeared in one episode playing three different characters.

Alan Ayckbourn and Ronnie Barker (both under aliases, Peter Caulfield for Ayckbourn and his usual Gerald Wiley for Barker) were among the writers.

The character of Lord Rustless had first been seen in an episode of The Ronnie Barker Playhouse (broadcast 10 April 1968) and although created by Alun Owen the character himself was classic Barker. It’s a series also of interest to Monty Python fans in so far as Michael Palin appeared; Eric Idle was a script contributor and Terry Gilliam provided the caricatures seen on the series.

On Christmas Day 1970 there was a brief revival of the character as part of ITV’s annual All-Star Comedy Carnival celebration. This ran for about 10 minutes along with segments from other popular ITV sitcoms of the day.

The series pretty much continued under the title His Lordship Entertains for one season in 1972. This time it was on BBC Two.

production details
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 15×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 11 April 1969 – 21 August 1970 season 1 black and white

Creator: Alun Owen / Writers besides those mentioned above also included Bill Oddie, Graeme Garden, John Junkin, Mike Sharland and Lew Schwarz / Producer: Humphrey Barclay

Ronnie Barker as Lord Rustless
Josephine Tewson as Mildred Bates
Frank Gatliff as Badger
David Jason as Dithers
Mary Baxter as Cook
Moira Foot as Effie (series 2)