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Two Ronnies, The

FLOATY YELLOW glasses in the sky and bah-baaahhh! (der-der-der-dooo-dooo) theme tune? Time for another appointment with, in the words of the BBC continuity announcer, “Messrs Barker and Corbett.” Cue the usual, bankable, unbeatable format: opening sat at desks routine “Well, it’s great to be back with you once again, isn’t it, Ronnie?” “Yes, indeed it is. And in a packed programme tonight…” then comedy “headlines”, “And now a sketch in which I play a trombonist who’s down on his luck -” “- and I play a fiddler with his hands full.” Then some Ronnie Barker “mispronunciation of worms” business, followed by “Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Elaine Paige/Barbara Dickson.” “Like a circle in a spiral…” Then Corbett in limbo, on a variety of modernist chairs doing rambling gag. “So the produuuuucer said to me…” Then the variable “serial” (eg. Piggy Malone/The Worm That Turned etc: “Have a Pa’s bar” and of course, the legendary Phantom Raspberry Blower Of Old London Town – “‘Ere! I want a word with you!”), topping off with the big circus/brass band musical number to well-known appropriate tunes (“Camden Town, my Camden Town!”), before finishing up with “Some late items of news,” “On the show next week…” and then “It’s goodnight from me -” “- and it’s goodnight from him.” Goodnight.



  1. Mr Grimsdale

    August 2, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I’m a big fan and they were wonderful. The highlights for me were the various sketches which involved wordplay and manoeuvring the english language. (answers before the questions, spoonerisms, four candles, tongue-twisters etc etc)

    But…….was Ronnie Corbett ever funny when he wasn’t with the other one? They were perfect as a duo, and Barker could be successful as a solo artist, but would we ever have heard of Ronnie Corbett if he hadn’t met Barker?

  2. Arthur Nibble

    August 3, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Little Ron had his moments – not just in comedy, he was a decent footballer and had trials with Hearts – and he also recorded a pop song called “Fanny” (!!!) back in the early 70’s (available to listen to on YouTube).

    By the way, wasn’t it ‘pisspronunciation of worms’? 🙂

  3. Matthew Rudd

    August 3, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    It is both fashionable and untrue to suggest R.Corbett was the untalented one. He was a consummate comedian.

  4. Applemask

    August 3, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Still is, he’s not the dead one. Little Ronnie’s monologues from the chair were completely brilliant.

  5. David Pascoe

    August 5, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Don’t forget that it’s Ronnie C who is doing most of the legwork in “Fork Handles” as well. While his sense of timing in “Mastermind” is every bit as immaculate as Ronnie B’s.

  6. Mr Grimsdale

    August 5, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Maybe it’s been slightly missed, but in my original post I said that Ronnie C was great when he was on the 2Rs programme. I never said he was in any way untalented. He fitted perfectly and his skills were there for all to see. What I questioned (and I still question) is whether he did anything of note when he was not part of the 2 Ronnies programme

  7. David Pascoe

    August 5, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Fair enough. Well he was superb in “Sorry” of course, managing to be both funny and full of pathos. A friend of mine felt that he was the only good thing about “Fierce Creatures”, and that’s no bad achievement when you’re outshining John Cleese, Michael Palin and Kevin Kline. I also enjoyed him on “Small Talk”, which was pretty undemanding stuff but the way he would interact and respond to the children’s answers was quite entertaining. And to finish with, he was very good in “No Sex Please, We’re British”.

  8. Applemask

    August 5, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    He was one of the apes in 2001.

  9. Glenn Aylett

    August 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Also helped new singers get their big break. Lynsey de Paul was the first beneficiary on the 1972 series, and no doubt Barbara Dickson has much to thank the Rons for, but the biggest beneficiaries of a stint on the show were the Nolan Sisters who went on to become big stars in the early 80s. However, mid eighties and dull old Phil Collins became the guest act. Also did Pan’s People appear when Lynsey de Paul and the like were unavailable?

  10. Lee James Turnock

    May 4, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    You naughty person, Applemask! Ronnie Corbett did indeed play an ape, but not in 2001. His apeman moment came in the 1962 film ‘Operation Snatch’.

  11. Glenn A

    October 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Ronnie Barker’s career really hit the stratosphere when The Two Ronnies started and he was 42. Maybe there’s hope for me then.

  12. IanW1968

    November 26, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    A lot of people didn’t like Corbett in the chair but it was often a highlight for me. ‘I had an argument with my kids about staying up late to watch Daddy on television…they wanted to go to bed’.

  13. Richard16378

    November 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    While Ronnie B was the more talented of the 2 Ronnies, Ronnie C certainly could hold his own comedywise.

  14. Scott McPhee

    June 18, 2020 at 4:45 am

    Not forgetting,

    “Ladies and gentlemen,Melissa Manchester/ The Manhattan Transfer.”

  15. richardpd

    June 18, 2020 at 11:47 am

    I did like that the 2006 compilations kept of the tradition of a guest singer with the likes of Katie Melua filling a few minutes with a song.

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