Don Your Way column: Time to shut the door on Doncaster’s Still Open All Hours

So Doncaster will get a bit of nationwide television exposure once more this Christmas with the airing of a festive edition of the Balby-filmed sitcom Still Open All Hours.

I can’t say I was entirely surprised when the BBC unveiled it as part of their seasonal line-up, but at the same time, my heart sank a little.

Darren Burke thinks its time Still Open All Hours was closed down.

Darren Burke thinks its time Still Open All Hours was closed down.

I’ve tried to like it.

I’ve tried to watch each series.

I know it’s helping to put Doncaster on the map.

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But the sad truth of the matter is that Still Open All Hours is a comedy series that’s well past its sell by date.

When it was revived for what was then a one-off Christmas special a few years back, I was supportive and indeed somewhat curious about the project.

Bringing back a classic sitcom without its main star was a bold move – but one which captured the public’s imagination.

In Doncaster, the buzz was incredible.

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The Free Press helped provide props.

Hundreds of people flocked to the set to catch a glimpse of Sir David Jason and other stars filming and posed for selfies in front of Arkwright’s cluttered emporium.

Yours truly even featured briefly in a documentary about the show’s return, captured on camera on one of my frequent visits to the set for work.

But that was then and this is now.

And I’m sorry, but as a comedy, Still Open All Hours falls at the first hurdle.

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It’s just not making me laugh.

Presumably viewing figures must be high enough to warrant further series (the revamped show is now in its fifth season - more than Ronnie Barker’s original managed) and there’s every likelihood the cameras could be back at the Beautique hairdressing salon on the corner of Scarth Avenue and Lister Avenue next year.

It pains me to write this because I’m a huge fan of the original show, but Still Open All Hours really is at the end of its shelf life.

Shops like Arkwright’s don’t exist anymore, Granville has become as miserly as his uncle – everything he always railed against – and are we meant to suspend belief that Mrs Featherstone is now aged about 118?

The jokes are weak and tired and some of the comedy seems truly stuck in a time warp. It really does seem to struggle to find a place alongside the cutting edge humour  that makes up the television schedules of today.

It will be interesting to see how many tune in this Christmas and whether there’s the will to commission another series in the New Year.

But I won’t be one of them who’s tuning in for the latest exploits.

Granville, it’s time to h-h-hang up yer cloth.