24 August 2011

Book Review: Remembering Ronnie Barker by Richard Webber

Title: Remembering Ronnie Barker
Author: Richard Webber
Publisher: Arrow Books (The Random House Group)
ISBN: 9780099545569
Format: Paperback
289 pages
Genre: Non-fiction, Biography
Source: Publisher

Remembering Ronnie Barker by Richard Webber, is a thoughtful biography about the famous British comedy actor.The author has written numerous TV-related books and in this book, he has written an insightful memoir that reveals fascinating details about Ronnie Barker's life and career.

Ronnie Barker started out as an assistant stage manager at the Manchester Repertory Company in 1948 and that significant beginning helped him to set out on a path towards attaining his goal - to become a professional actor.

He had a natural talent for characterisations, and his career soon blossomed. From acting in stage productions, he went on to acting (and writing) for tv and radio shows. He also appeared in over a dozen films but he became famous for his starring role in TV classics such as Porridge, The Two Ronnies and Open All Hours.

In addition to his remarkable acting talents, Ronnie Barker was also a very talented comedy writer. Indeed, he wrote some of the sketches for The Two Ronnies, which he tried to keep secret by adopting a fictitious name. The story about how Ronnie Barker's name was finally revealed to be the anonymous writer, is told in an amusing anecdote by Ronnie Corbett.

The author includes lots of interesting stories by other actors who worked with Ronnie Barker. Through these stories, it's clear that Ronnie Barker was an incredibly talented actor with a meticulous eye for detail. He was a perfectionist who obviously worked hard at his craft and it's easy to see why he became so successful and such a legend. When he died on 3rd October 2005, the nation lost a great comic actor.

The author provides eight pages of photographs in the middle of the book plus Notes, Career at a Glance, and a Bibliography at the end of the book.

I enjoyed reading Remembering Ronnie Barker. I didn't know much about the actor before reading this biography so I learned a lot about his life and why he was so revered by his peers as well as the nation as a whole. I'm grateful to the publisher for sending me a copy.

This book is sure to appeal to Ronnie Barker's fans as well as to anyone who is a fan of British comedy.


  1. Thanks to Ronnie Barker Porridge is my all-time favourite TV comedy series. I met him a couple of times and he was a really nice gent, and very funny!
    I'll definitely be reading this book. Flighty xx

  2. How cool that you met him a couple of times, Flighty! It's good to know that he was nice to his fans.

    I'm sure you will enjoy the book!