April 11, 1969: Hark At Barker

Hark_At_Barker-1969Hark at Barker is a British comedy series combining elements of sitcom and sketch show, which starred Ronnie Barker. It was made for the ITV network by LWT.

Each show began with a spoof news item read by Barker as a continuity announcer. He would then introduce the main part of the programme, a lecture to be given by Lord Rustless (also Barker) on a different topic each week from his stately home, Chrome Hall. Helped and hindered by Rustless’ secretary (Mildred) Bates, his Butler Badger, his bad-tempered Cook, his incoherent gardener Dithers and (in Series 2) his buxom, near-mute maid Effie, these lectures invariably degenerated into farce, and were frequently interrupted by comic sketches on film or videotape which also starred Barker in various roles.

Barker reprised the role of Lord Rustless in the BBC series His Lordship Entertains, and played very similar characters in Futtock’s End and the Two Ronnies specials “The Picnic” and “By the Sea”. [Wikipedia]


Amongst the regular cast were David Jason (Dithers) and Josephine Tewson (Mildred Bates).  Other sketch performers included Pauline Yates, Michael Palin, Jo Kendall and Ronnie Corbett.

The first series (11 April 1969 – 30 May 1969) was produced in black and white and the second (10 July 1970 – 21 August 1970), in colour.


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