The Two Ronnies: Ronnie Corbett’s Lost Tapes

Photograph: BBC
Rating 8.0
Streamer ITV Hub
Seasons 1
Episodes 1 x 60 mins

It’s time to get nostalgic, and maybe even a little teary eyed, with this lovely tribute to Ronnie Corbett.

For most people of a certain age, hearing that iconic theme tune to The Two Ronnies sends you straight back to Saturday nights spent giggling away at these two hilarious comedians, in the golden age of sketch shows where silliness reigned supreme. And if you are longing for that same sense of comfort, this special is almost certain to give it to you. Full of celebrity contributors such as Harry Hill, Rob Brydon and Robbie Williams, as well as people who knew and loved him personally, this hour is an affectionate celebration of Ronnie Corbett’s life and legacy.

The lost tapes of the title are unfortunately not never-before-seen sketches, but they’re almost as good. They’re home videos shot by Corbett and his family, documenting holidays and kids growing up, and watching him at home makes you realise what a gem this man truly was. His family, too, gush over their love for him, showing such genuine affection that it almost moves you to tears. These moments are the most poignant in this film, with Corbett’s children and grandchildren recounting their memories of him, sharing a glimpse of what it was like to have him in their lives. And isn’t it nice, too, to reflect on a creative genius without their being a story of struggle or torment – there’s no big, bleak revelations here, just a celebration of a comedic legend, who has had people in stitches countless times over the years. Cheers to that.

More classic comedy can be found in Fawlty Towers

The Telegraph’s Anita Singh called this an “affectionate tribute that brimmed with love,” saying “Everyone featured had a sincere and abiding love of Ronnie Corbett.” Carol Midgley of The Times was moved by the film, calling the Ronnies “comic geniuses who always lifted the soul,” saying this felt like “a throwback to what feels a more innocent age.” And in The Daily Mail, Christopher Stevens says the tribute’s “details fill out our understanding of a cherished entertainer. It’s good to know that, much as millions admired him, he was most loved at home.”

First shown July 2021.

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