Birth of comic genius linked to Doncaster
King of comedy, Ronnie Barker, was born 88 years ago this month.
Had he lived, he would have celebrated his birthday on September 25, but sadly his great talent in creating and portraying comic character was lost on October 3, 2005, when he finally said goodnight to his masses of fans.
The actor, comedian and writer is linked to Doncaster for ever through the filming of favourite television corner shop sitcom Open all Hours, in which he starred for many years as thrifty, stuttering Arkright.
This enduring series was one of his best-known and best loved roles, along with his two other greats; the long running comic show the Two Ronnies, shared with the late Ronnie Corbett, and classic tv prison comedy, Porridge.
Open All Hours was filmed in the streets of Balby and recently made a return for a third series with Sir David Jason replacing Barker in the lead role.
But from 1973 to 1985, it was Ronnie Barker, with co-stars Sir David Jason and Lynda Baron, who could be seen plying his trade, and trying his luck with character Nurse Gladys Emmanuel, on the corner of Doncaster’s Lister Avenue and Scarth Avenue.
He became a much loved face and ‘adopted northerner’ in South Yorkshire during the filming of the series, and is fondly remembered by many.
Barker was actually born in Bedford in 1929.
His acting and writing career started early with emphasis on comic roles from the start. He would write at times under a pseudonym, particularly as he grew in fame as an actor.
He was awarded a BAFTA on four separate occasions for his work and received his OBE in 1978.
He and his wife Joyce had two sons and a daughter.
A keen collector of antiques, Barker became a shopkeeper for real when he opened an antiques shop in 1988, following his retirement from the world of entertainment.