Doncaster’s Still Open All Hours is slated by Aussies

Still Open All Hours.
Still Open All Hours.

Doncaster filmed sitcom Still Open All Hours has been aired on Australian TV - and been given a panning by critics.

The show, which saw Sir David Jason reprise his role as Granville in the popular corner shop comedy, was filmed in Balby last autumn and drew in audiences of more than eight million when it was screened in Britain earlier this year.

Now the BBC1 show has been sold Down Under - but met with a fierce backlash when it began airing on Australia’s ABC channel last month.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, one of the country’s biggest newspapers, entertainment writer Ben Pobije described the show as having “no discernible purpose” and a “sad shadow of the past.”

The updated version of the comedy sees Jason return as Granville, having inherited the cluttered emporium from his uncle Arkwright, played in the original series which ran between 1973 and 1985, by the late Ronnie Barker.

He said: “Still Open All Hours is a sequel to (Ronnie) Barker’s show that seems to exist for no reason other than Jason’s continued desire for employment and an unknown BBC executive’s channel surfing while high on cough syrup.

“Still Open All Hours is filmed in front of a live studio audience, who laugh dutifully, probably because the jokes are reminding them of a funny bit they once saw in Open All Hours.

“Certainly, it has no discernible purpose of its own; it floats lethargically along with no commitment to anything but the belief that northern English accents are inherently funny. All is a sad shadow of the past.

“As Granville, Jason is colourless, his character of yesteryear having lost all his eccentrically oppressed charm and become a faded photocopy of old Arkwright, without the latter’s stammer, leer or misanthropic wit.”

“Far better to get Open All Hours on DVD and watch the real thing.”

The scathing review struck a chord with viewers too.

In reply, one Morning Herald reader, Gill Fraser wrote: “Still Open All Hours? Are you kidding ABC? Talk about back to the `60s! I feel like Benny Hill will come running in at any moment.”

The show was revived into a full series after a 2013 Christmas special proved to be one of the biggest hits of that year’s festive schedules.

Cameras filmed the updated version at Beautique, the hairdressing salon on the corner of Lister Avenue and Scarth Avenue in Balby that was used during the filming of the original series, over a two week period last September.

No decision has yet been announced whether a second series of the programme will be produced.