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Magnificent Evans, The (BBC One 1984, Ronnie Barker)



The Magnificent Evans BBC 1084 Ronnie Barker

Sitcom The Magnificent Evans was another Roy Clarke vehicle for Ronnie Barker (the two had hit big with Open All Hours) but one that didn’t quite capture a large enough audience to last more than one season.

Barker plays the extravagant and wonderfully named Plantagenet Evans, a photographer in a small Welsh town with delusions of grandeur (he liked to describe himself as a “genius, photographer and man of letters”. Rachel (Sharon Morgan) was not only his assistant but also his fiancee, although the lustful Plantagenet did seem to have a problem keeping his eyes to himself.

Besides sex one of Evans was also keen on making money, dealing in dodgy antiques and being the local franchise holder of Scandinavian log stoves! Writer Clarke is brilliant at getting into the heart of small town life and he here travels a similar road as his brilliant Last of the Summer Wine; Evans himself is busy scandalising the chapel area with his live in lover Rachel, parading around the town like a strutting peacock, giving forth from his open top vintage car like a modern day Bertrand Russell.

The cast also included Dickie Arnold as Willie; Myfanwy Talog as Bron and Dyfed Thomas as Home Rule O’Toole.

Shot on location and with a full blooded performance from Barker, the series had its genesis in a one off Comedy Playhouse written by Clarke in 1974. This starred Leonard Rossiter as a seaside photographer.

The Magnificent Evans aired on BBC One for six half hour episodes from 13 September to 11 October 1984. Sydney Lotterby produced and directed.