Ronnie Barker was one of my favourite comedians and I will forever be in love with The Two Ronnies. Barker's life seems to be one full of hard work but no seismic events, at least as he has portrayed it here. I can't think of a reason to recommend this book to anyone who isn't already a big fan. A pleasant read but quite non-eventful.

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Dates 23 August 2013 – 09 September 2013
Time spent reading 6 hours, 55 minutes
Highlights 11
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How on earth did it happen? Luck, has always been my short answer.

Acting’s just showing off in a sense, isn’t it?

I remember going out on my bike, at about fourteen, on a perfect summer day, hot and drowsy, sitting on a hillock in the sun, feeling the warmth, hearing the drone of insects, and suddenly awakening to all the possibilities, understanding how good it was, just being alive.

I would never send my children to a boarding school. It’s wrong, tiny tots going off like that, especially to prep schools, just when they need their parents’ love and care. It is inhumane and should be punished by a term of imprisonment. That is not a joke, I mean it.

I first met Ronnie Corbett at the Buckstone, over a drink. Well, I was over it and he was under it. A voice came out of thin air and I thought it was the drink talking, until something made me peer over the other side of the bar—and there he was. He had boxes to stand on, one marked AGNES and the other, CHAMP. It took me a while to work out they were champagne boxes cut in half...

Everything I want to tell you about Joy can be summed up by saying that she well deserves her name. I thought I loved her when we got married; well, I knew I did, that’s why you ask somebody to marry you. More often than not, anyway. But I didn’t know the half of it.

And that was the genesis of The Two Ronnies. It came about through getting the sack.

We were so poor that when I broke my glasses we had to have them boarded up

To be mildly technical, all live audience show’s laughter is controlled. There have to be special microphones to catch audience reaction, the pots as they are called. Leave the pots open all the time, and the performers’ voices sound hollow, the quality is poor. So up in the control room, knobs are twisted when a punchline’s delivered, the pots are open to catch the laugh, then close again for the next line of dialogue. Canned laughter? I don’t think so. But when one of us fluffed a line, then repeated it in a re-take, the original laughter might be used. Not wrong, in my submission—the audience understood the gag, it was just slightly mangled. They’d laugh when one did it all over again, perfectly, but it would be polite laughter, not the real thing.

I’ve found out for myself as a writer that you must not bog yourself down with an elaborate plot; you can’t cut the plot to fit the time, so the jokes get cut out.

Porridge was the best thing I ever did.