Curtain up for stage production of Open All Hours

David Jason (left) and Ronnie Barker during filming of Open All Hours.
David Jason (left) and Ronnie Barker during filming of Open All Hours.

G-G-ger-ger-Granville, get yer tickets!

For the first ever stage production of classic Doncaster filmed sitcom Open All Hours is set to take to the stage tonight after being given the seal of approval by star Sir David Jason and writer Roy Clarke.

The show has been created by life-long fans Jane Ashton and Gary Simmons, from Solihull, to mark the BBC comedy’s 40th anniversary last year.

Based around the much-loved comedy’s miserly, stuttering grocer Arkwright - originally played by Ronnie Barker - his unrequited love Nurse Gladys Emmanuel (Lynda Baron) and his poor errand boy and nephew Granville (David Jason), the script blends together classic moments from over twenty episodes.

Open All Hours Productions, which began touring in February, has the blessing of orginal writer Roy Clarke and is getting rave reviews including one from David Jason who described it as “a terrific 40th anniversary celebration of a memorable television show.”

Mr Clarke has also promised to come and see the stage production in person.

“We’re delighted it’s going so well,” said director and producer Jane. “We’re such big fans of the show.

“It’s such a fabulous comedy and Arkwright is such a brilliant character. He encompasses so many people you used to meet in times gone by. He’s a miser, he’s a letch, he’s forever tormenting poor Gladys, but his heart’s in the right place.”

Jane and Gary, who plays Arkwright, spent 12 months scouring the country to track down the original props used in the show

“One of the tills they used, we found in Reading but it didn’t work so we had to find someone capable of fixing it,” explained Jane.

“The bike we found in Clacton - it had been up in someone’s attic. We tracked down the scales to Manchester, and we even managed to get the lifesize cardboard cut out ‘Kodak girl’ back from America.

“The attention to detail has been painstaking but it’s such an iconic show you can’t tinker with it.”

“We wrote our own script, got a tour license, built our own set... We’ve really taken the bull by the horns.”

The show, filmed at a converted hairdressing salon on the corner of Scarth Avenue and Lister Avenue in Balby, was originally screened between 1973 and 1985 and became one of Britain’s best loved shows.

In a shock move, the show returned for a Christmas special last year, Still Open All Hours, which revealed that Arkwright had died and the shop was now in the hands of Granville.

Cameras and crew descended on Doncaster for two days of filming last autumn and the show proved such a hit with viewers that a full series of six episodes has been commissioned, with programme makers expected to return to Doncaster in the coming months.

Open All Hours is at Solihull Arts Complex from September 10-12. For tickets, call the Box Office on 0121 704 6962.