The Two Ronnies (1971 – 1987)
The Two Ronnies (the television show) is a British institution, and the two Ronnies (Barker and Corbett) are held in high regard in their own right as well, each having appeared in and produced comedy gold sitcoms independently of the other.
But, no matter what else they did or who else they worked with in their long and storied careers, it is their joint partnership that they will be remembered for above all else. Whenever I saw them appear on screen alone, my initial thought was always to wonder when the other guy was going to show up.
The Two Ronnies was a comedy sketch show – a format that was very popular in the seventies and eighties, but that seems to have disappeared off the map completely in the last couple of generations. Whether Barker was finding humour in his love of wordplay; or Corbett was meandering his way through a simple joke in his comfortable chair; or they were both dressing up as women and singing, as at the end of many episodes, The Two Ronnies was a great example of light entertainment done right.
It’s easy to be cynical and think that they were simply thrust together because they shared a forename, but the truth is, it was obvious that they were great friends as well as partners. Their chemistry was transcendent and dare I say, very rare in the world of television. They are often compared to Morecambe and Wise – the other popular British double act of the seventies – but in my opinion Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett are the best comic team that Britain has ever produced. The Two Ronnies provided me with a lot of laughter growing up, and I miss their special kind of magic.
To end, here is one of their most well-known sketches.