Last of the Summer Wine - From the Director's Chair 1st Edition
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While I appreciate Bell's desire not to write something full of gossip, he was uniquely positioned to know about most of the show's history as its Director and Producer from the early 1980s until its final end in 2010. We do get some insight in the book to casting choices and other decisions, though I did find it odd that the book is nearly over by the time we reach the death of Bill Owen in 1999, some 10 series before the show was cancelled. Fans looking for much about later decisions and casting will mostly be disappointed.
Perhaps what is frustrating the most is the inconsistent follow-thru in the book regarding potentially notable things that almost happened. For example, I was surprised to learn that Brian Wilde's Foggy character was set at one point to return in 1988s "Crums" Christmas special in a one-off appearance. The book details why that didn't happen. But then Bell makes a casual comment that he (Bell) decided to make a cameo in 1996s Christmas special, "Extra Extra", because he thought it might be the shows final episode but never explains why. His comments about the second departure of Brian Wilde are very limited and seem contrary to other accounts I've read. Nor does he go into any detail about why the show continued after Bill Owen's death, even after he admits that the final episodes of the series where that was portrayed did not go over very well.
Fans of the series will certainly get some enjoyment out of the book but the search for a definitive history of the show goes on.
were much more intense than the book let on. I couldn't put the book down. It was a quick read, unfortunately.
one is left wondering about the "brains" at the BBC, and if they are trying for a childish payback in stopping the regular release of LOTSW DVD releases.
Top international reviews
It holds no punches, and is a perfect companion to the Andrew Vine book released the other year, with lots more detail about its unceremonious axing.
The only real downside to the book is it could have done with another proof reading, as there are plenty of basic errors. Many open brackets never close, sometimes a title followed by a year (for example Jaws (1988)) is given twice in the same paragraph, and sometimes two nigh on identical sentences follow each other, plus episodes are sometimes given the wrong year.
On the whole, a recommended read for anyone interested in TV directing, especially comedy.