Open All Hours special could lead to new series

David Jason and Stephanie Cole on the Open All Hours set at Balby
David Jason and Stephanie Cole on the Open All Hours set at Balby

The producer of the Open All Hours Christmas special currently being filmed in Doncaster has hinted that a full series of the classic sitcom could be made if it proves a festive hit.

Shooting on the new show, entitled Still Open All Hours, will continue today and tomorrow at Balby with hundreds of fans expected to turn out to catch a glimpse of television legend Sir David Jason as well as fellow stars Stephanie Cole, Lynda Baron and Maggie Ollerenshaw.

And the show’s producer Gareth Edwards is hoping that if the feature-length special proves a smash, Granville and co could return for a full run.

He said: “We shall see - there is a lot of optimism to take this project forward.

“There is a lot of life in the world that writer Roy Clarke has created. He is an amazing writing - all of the show is his imagination.”

The show comes 28 years after the final series of the original programme which starred Ronnie Barker as miserly northern shopkeeper Arkwright, assisted by his put-upon errand boy nephew Granville, played by David Jason.

In the new show, Granville has inherited the corner shop following the death of Arkwright - and sees the return of characters including the Black Widow Mrs Featherstone (Stephanie Cole), dithering customer Mavis (Maggie Ollerenshaw) and buxom Nurse Gladys Emmanuel (Lynda Baron).

Added Mr Edwards, who spent all day yesterday watching filming at the set on the corner of Lister Avenue and Scarth Avenue in Balby: “I can’t say too much about the plot, but it does involve anchovy paste - that’s all I’m saying!”

He said: “There has been so much interest in the return of Open All Hours that we have to get the programmme right - that’s our first priority.

“Everyone in Doncaster has been so welcoming and there is so much enthusiasm and love for the show.”

Mr Edwards, who also produced a festive special featuring Ronnie Corbett several years ago, said: “I’ve always loved the show. It was part of my childhood and I grew up with it so to see the shop again is absolutely wonderful.”

“But the show looks forward too. Its not just a nostalgia trip, although fans of the original series will be delighted to know a lot of the old jokes - like the deadly till - have been kept in.”

Set dressers spent the weekend transforming the Beautique hair salon into Arkwright’s cluttered general store and filming is due to be completed by Wednesday evening.

The focus will then switch to studio shooting in Salford in early December with the completed version expected to be one of the BBC’s biggest shows this Christmas.

An accompanying documentary focusing on the remake of the show, showing behind the scenes footage and interviews with fans is also being recorded for festive transmission.