One of my favourite T.V. series is Last of the Summer Wine (LOTSW) ran for a record 37 years between 1973 and 2010. It is set in the picturesque streets and hilly surroundings of the Yorkshire village of Holmfirth. At its peak, LOTSW received huge viewing figures.
My favourite era of LOTSW is the series from the decade between 1985 and 1995. I think what I and most people love about the series is it’s simplistic appeal. The dialogue follows a set format and style. The jokes and settings are often repeated, but are familiar and fondly regarded.
Life appears so simple in LOTSW. Because it is a TV show, no ongoing themes are carried over into episodes, so each episode is a stand-alone experience. This keeps the simplicity intact.
The characters not burdened by the stresses of daily life. They do not discuss the news of the day, politics, or complicated personal ambitions. They exist in the space of their interactions, not burdened with concerns of health, finances, relationships or anything else. That is appealing as these are the constraints and realities in our own minds at all times.
There are other omissions. We never see rain, we never see how they are affected by a lung-busting walk to reach the summit of these huge hills where they show little, if any, physical tiredness. We never see them in their downtime, alone, filling in the lonely evening hours. We never see them watching television. We never see them suffering from illness. There is an inevitable suspension of disbelief and certainly by omitting much of the realities and repetition of daily life, it is immediately more enticing. It’s entertainment from which we take what we want from it.
Neil and I, both aspiring photographers, plan on visiting Holmfirth when COVID restrictions allow. When we visit it will be over 11 years since the final LOTSW episode was recorded there. I look forward to feeling a connection to the simple life without stress and, for one day at least, living like a fictional, care-free, character. I also look forward to the challenge of capturing much of the tone of this article in some excellent and thought-provoking photos.