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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 October 2005, 21:34 GMT 22:34 UK
Mitchell remembers 'original' Barker
Warren Mitchell
Warren Mitchell worked on Gas Light Theatre with Ronnie Barker
Actor Warren Mitchell shares his memories of his friend Ronnie Barker, who has died aged 76.

I write this in a chair given to me by Ronnie Barker.

When he and his wife came to dinner, not for them the conventional wine, flowers or after-dinner mints, no - a chair.

Beautifully fashioned with shapely arms and legs, more than I could say of the former antique shop proprietor.

No stutter in real life. Originality was Ronnie's byword - just look at his range of characters.

He had that quality that when he appeared on screen or stage you could relax, you just knew he wouldn't let you down and soon the smiles would turn to guffaws.

Ronnie Barker
Ronnie Barker was "a dear friend"

We worked together on an ill-fated TV series called 'Gas Light Theatre' - a great idea which, for many reasons, didn't work.

There were disagreements, and that's putting it mildly.

But who was always on hand to smooth ruffled feathers and wounded egos? We all loved him, so his sideline as peacemaker was assured for the run. Kofi Annan could have picked up a few tips!

Among other roles Ronnie was truly astounding as the copious widow lady, singing sadly 'always take mother's advice'. What a widow Twankey he would have made! And Porridge was a great joy.

Imagine him now as Fletcher up there subverting his Scottish warden...

So goodbye dear friend, no more of this slush or I shall turn all weepy, which would have amused Ronnie greatly.



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