Ronnie Corbett: Well it's hello from me...A pair of British comedians (by their own insistence not a double act), whose work involved both solo and pair sketches, often feeling like a comedy troupe that just to happened to only have two people in it. Their show on the BBC (The Two Ronnies) while most famous for their sketches was a variety show that also featured music, dancing and the occasional other comedian, ran from 1971 to 1987.Consisted of:
Ronnie Barker: ...and it's hello from him!
Ronnie Barker: ...and it's hello from him!
- Ronnie Barker. Also did Porridge (as the lead prisoner) and Open All Hours (as Arkwright, the stammering shop owner - the series also features a young David Jason) before retiring to run an antique store.
- Ronnie Corbett. A short guy (who would make jokes about it), who also starred in Sorry! and frequently appeared on panel shows like Have I Got News for You.
- "Four Candles". A shopkeeper serially misunderstands his customer reading out a shopping list. "No, I said fork 'andles! 'Andles for forks!"
- "Mastermind". A close impersonation of the quiz show Mastermind, with Corbett as a contestant who specialises in "Answering the question before last." His misaligned answers get funnier and funnier as the sketch proceeds.
- Acceptable Targets: Invoked with the sketches about yokels, on the assumption that nobody wants to admit that they are a yokel.
- Always Someone Better: Miss Marple is this for Hercule Poirot, in "The Teddy Bear Who Knew Too Much".
- Answer Cut: Subverted in their parody of The Onedin Line. Onedin realises he doesn't know the name of the fleet's newest ship. Cut to Onedin and Baines on the quayside. Baines answers "Saucy Sue," and the two have a conversation about her characteristics and handling. At the end of the conversation, it's finally revealed that they've been talking about a scantily-clad young woman by the name of Sue, and the ship's name is actually Dependable.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption:
- Author Appeal: It's clear from the scripts Ronnie Barker wrote that he was fond of the female behind, hence the profusion of panty shots and ladies in tight shorts.
- Bedsheet Ghost: One turns up in the Piggy/Charley serial "Stop! You're Killing Me!", haunting the graveyard at dead of night. Charlie's response is to build a device to blow the bedsheet off it from below. The first person to trigger it is a young woman in a short skirt, the second is the local vicar, and the third is their landlord in a nightshirt.
- Big Guy, Little Guy: Ronnie B. was much taller than Ronnie C. Notably, Ronnie B. was of average height while Ronnie C. was incredibly short (see the "Class Sketch" on The Frost Report, with both being paired with the very tall John Cleese).
- Bogus News (the start of each show)
- Cannot Tell a Joke: The basis of Ronnie Corbett's 'chair' act was that of a man attempting to tell a straightforward joke but getting caught up in digressions; the twist being that these were funnier than the actual joke.
- Can't You Read the Sign?
- Catch-Phrase:Corbett: So it's "Goodnight" from me.
Barker: And it's "Goodnight" from him.
- Cluster F-Bomb: The "Swearbox" sketch.
- Corpsing: Happened constantly between the two, specially in the news items.
- Crosscast Role: The duo would frequently play female characters. Subverted in their parody of Jason King, where Ronnie Barker appears to be playing a Butch Lesbian, but the character is later revealed as a man Disguised in Drag.
- Dinner Order Flub: Levelled up as the basis for the "Mongolian Restaurant" sketch. Typical comment / response: Ronnie C.: "That's disgusting", Ronnie B. holding up two hands: "That's a lot of gusting".
- Disaster Dominoes: Subverted in their Hercule Poirot parody "Murder is Served". The Bultitudes' guests die in what looks like an unlikely chain of freak accidents, but Poirot announces that it's actually a Rube Goldberg Death Trap arranged by Mrs Bultitude, and has her arrested. He's right about it being arranged deliberately, but Mrs Bultitude wasn't the guilty party and he knows it.
- Disorganized Outline Speech: Ronnie Corbett's chair monologues often take this form, basically turning every sentence of a short joke into a Disorganized Outline Speech that wanders off onto tangents before eventually coming back to the plot of the joke.
- Doom Magnet: Doctor Death, in the sketch of the same name, who is cheerfully oblivious as the deaths pile up around him.
- Dress-Up Episode: The Two Ronnies' Old-Fashioned Christmas Mystery is set in 1874. Consequently the hosts and the numerous guest acts perform in Victorian costume; there are also 1870s versions of Piggy Malone and Charlie Farley, to investigate the mystery.
- The Exit Is That Way: Near the end of the "Doctor Death" sketch:Corbett: (attempting to leave by the wrong door) See you soon, Doctor.
Barker: Yes, you will see me soon, that's the broom cupboard.
- Feghoot: A common gag in the "news stories" intro and outro.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: One recurring sketch was Barker's character trying to do this to Corbett's character (as he paused a lot trying to think of the right word) but getting it inappropriately wrong.
- For Inconvenience, Press "1": A variant: Ronnie Corbett finds his doctor has been replaced by a computer.
- Gag Boobs: frequently, but perhaps never more literally than in the "Round of Drinks" sketch, where an order for (amongst other things) a White Lady for the "girl with the boobs" and a pink gin drunkenly mutates into an order for a sack of coke, two rocks, an enormous lemon, a pair of (plastic) pink boobs and a large bare lady on the house. The barman just happens to have all of these items to hand.
- Gallows Humor: In the Christmas episode of 'Sketchbook', Ronnie Barker joked that his dressing room was still full of young women — only they were now cardiac nurses rather than groupies. He died of heart failure before the episode aired.
- Gargle Blaster: From "I'd Like to Have Another" by Jehoshaphat and Jones:A man went to a barmaid, said mix me up a drink,
A cocktail made up of whatever you think.
She mixed it, he drank it, he went quite cross-eyed,
And three hours later he came to and cried...
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: So very much.
- Horror Host: Ronnie Barker as the Laird of Cockahoopie Castle, introducing "The Bogle of Bog Fell".
- Hurricane of Euphemisms. One sketch featured Ronnie Corbett attempting to find out where the toilet is without saying the word toilet and using every conceivable euphemism.
- I Thought It Meant: The basis of the Four Candles sketch.
- Lady Land: One of their drama segments is set in a dystopic fascist England ruled by female supremacists. They have to escape over the border to Wales ("Where men are men, and women are glad of it"), aided by — of course — Eek, a Mouse!!.
- Masochist's Meal: Ronnie Barker's "Indian Cookery" monologue contains several asides about the dire effects his recipes may have on the unprepared.If you are following correctly the recipe for my hot and spicy curry, you will not be needing a starter. You will be needing a stopper.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: From the "Taxidermist" sketch: "You have stuffed and mounted thirty-four perfectly healthy people with a perfect right to live, and a double-glazing salesman."
- Narrative Profanity Filter: Ronnie Barker's "Nell of the Yukon" contains this verse:Then up jumped Black Lou, and his face went bright blue,
(Which astonished a passing physician)
And he used a foul word that no one had heard
Since the time of the Great Exhibition
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: "Norman Barrel" for Barry Norman.
- Non-Human Head: One sketch showed a man seeing a doctor, who has been replaced by a video system, and has trouble with the silly instructions and system failures until he starts banging on the door demanding to see a real doctor... who may be this trope, as he enters the room speaking in the same manner as the video doctor, with the hollowed-out shell of a TV over his head.
- Obvious Stunt Double: Played for laughs in one retraux film where Ronnie Barker plays "Arthur Halliday, the Vagabond Lover" — a 1930s music-hall performer. Halliday is shown in closeup while all he's doing is singing, but each time he performs a physical stunt the camera cuts to a much wider shot.
- Offer Void In Nebraska: One episode of the serial "Death Can Be Fatal" opened with a recap of the previous episode, then added "Except for viewers in Scotland, where the story goes like this:" and repeated the recap with everybody wearing traditional Highland dress. This was a reference to BBC Scotland's annoying habit of pre-empting network programmes with (usually inferior) local content.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Played for laughs in their parody of Colditz: while in Hauptmann Ulrich's office, Carter is able to hide in the wardrobe, and then the filing cabinet, as long as the camera isn't on him.
- One Scene, Two Monologues: One of their best known sketches, Crossed Lines, is a variation on this trope — Corbett and Barker play two very different characters both talking on pay phones in a supermarket. They are having totally unconnected conversations with different (unseen) people on the other end, but they take turns to speak and they seem to be having a surreal conversation with each other.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Barker's "Anti-Shoddy Goods Committee" speech.
- Incessant gags about Corbett's height or lack thereof.
- Similarly, there are plenty of gags about Barker's weight.
- A huge part of Corbett's 'chair' monologues — "I get so little fan-mail that my letter box has healed up"
- Sherlock Scan: Double-subverted in "The Teddy Bear Who Knew Too Much" — Poirot deduces from a handbag that its owner is an overweight bald woman called Hide who wipes her nose on her sleeve. The handbag's owner promptly arrives, and turns out to be a slender brunette by the name of Agnes Pomfrit. At the end of the scene, Agnes mentions that she inherited the bag from her great-aunt, an overweight bald woman called Hide who wiped her nose on her sleeve.
- Signing Off Catch Phrase: See Catchphrase.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Is Piggy Malone's colleague called Charlie or Charley? "Stop! You're Killing Me" uses 'Charlie'; the other serials use "Charley".
- Stealth Insult: The "Nuts M'lord" sketch is about a butler who, while seeming to just pass food items to the lord and lady of the manor, manages to do so in a way that turns them into Stealth Insults for the lord and Stealth Compliments for the lady.Butler: (hands him a bowl of walnuts) Your nuts, m'lord.
Lord: You fool, how am I supposed to open these?
Butler: (hands him a set of nutcrackers) Your crackers, m'lord.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: The show had far too many to list them all. Particularly memorable is "up Cat, Polecat"; one of their Jehosophat and Jones songs:Up in the loft where the lamp-light flickersI lost my heart and she lost her...parasol
- Swear Jar: The Swearbox Sketch.
- Take That!:Inspector: Do you know what you can get for stuffing Mr. Norman Tebbit?
Taxidermist: The Queen's Award for Industry, I should thinknote .
- Tempting Fate: At the end of "The Bogle of Bog Fell", the narrator addresses the camera:Narrator: One last thing I'll say to ye: The tale I've told ye may seem strange, and almost impossible to believe — but if it's not true, may I be blown to smithereens and the various parts of my body be distributed and scattered throughout the length and breadth of Scotland, including the Trossachs.
- Tongue Twister: Barker's "Anti-Shoddy Goods Committee" monologue.
- Unbuilt Trope: They did a parody of Star Trek in 1973, only a few years after the original series ended, and a parody of Star Wars soon after the first film came out. Because of this, these parodies lack most of the "cliché" jokes that have built up in stock parodies of these franchises over the years.
- Unusual Euphemism: Too many to list, calling body parts by physical characteristics were commonplace, ie wobblers, bouncers and danglers among others.
- Wardrobe Malfunction: In the second episode of "Hampton Wick", Madeline Smith's low-cut dress slips a bit too low and exposes more than it ought. It seems no-one noticed it before the show was broadcast.
- Who's on First?: the Yokels are called Arthur Watt and Leonard Right. Hilarity Ensues.
- With Lyrics: They did this to the jazz number "In the Mood".
- Word Schmord: In a few sketches, such as "Magnus, Schmagnus" (said Magnus being portrayed by John Cleese).
The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town
- Accidental Misnaming: Queen Victoria seems to think the fiend terrorising London is the "Phantom Gooseberry Sucker".
- Adaptation Expansion: From a half-hour programme in the series "Six Dates with Barker". Here's a clip from the original.
- Body Double: For Queen Victoria — six large, moustached policemen are put in dresses and told to pose as her.
- A Bloody Mess: Raspberry juice, in the graveyard scene.
- Blowing a Raspberry: The Phantom's raspberries are treated as a lethal threat. Perhaps the supreme example is when the Prime Minister and the leaders of the Commonwealth are meeting to discuss the threat of the Phantom. Who drops in uninvited, and blows a raspberry at them that's powerful enough to make the Queen's portrait blush and bring the chandelier down.
- Couch Gag: The Parody Names in the opening credits are different each week.
- Driving a Desk: The backdrop while the policemen are in their carriage starts off as Stock Footage of a Victorian street, and then becomes Stock Footage of monkeys.
- The End... Or Is It?: The closing narration: "The Phantom was dead... or was he?" Another raspberry indicates that no, he wasn't.
- Expy: The Raspberry Blower is essentially a comedic version of Bela Lugosi's Dracula, by way of Jack the Ripper.
- Falling Chandelier of Doom
- Gag Boobs:
- Miss Maureen Murray, the Prime Minister's 'assistant'. (The Raspberry Blower's attack causes her boobs to pop.)
- From the opening credits: "and introducing NORMA STITZ as the girl"
- Girls with Moustaches: The newspaper boy in episode 1 is played by a woman in a false moustache.
- In the Name of the Moon: Policemen appear contractually obliged to shout "'Ere! I want a word with you!" before chasing anybody. By the time they've shouted it, the Phantom has invariably made his escape.
- Long Speech Tea Time: While an old lady who claims to be the Phantom's mother is telling her story, Inspector Corner leaves her in his office, walks to the pub and buys himself a drink — though he still manages to ask her questions while doing this.
- My Card: The Phantom's cards have no writing, only a picture of a raspberry, (no name since "modesty forbids", and no address, because he is "never at home").
- Napoleon Delusion: Inspector Corner and Sergeant Bowles both end up in an asylum, dressed as Napoleon.
- Phrase-Catcher: When Queen Victoria gets mentioned, the caption 'GOD BLESS HER' tends to appear on screen.
- Smith of the Yard: Ronnie Corbett as Inspector Corner of the Yard.
- Verbal Tic: The Home Secretary, whose voice has a built-in echo.
- Victorian London
The Worm That Turned
Ronnie Corbett: That's all we've got time for, so it's "Goodnight" from me...
Ronnie Barker: And it's "Goodnight" from him...
Ronnie Barker: And it's "Goodnight" from him...