Fork handles? That'll be £50,000

Barker's script under the hammer

Ronnie Barker’s handwritten script for the classic Fork Handles sketch is to go under the hammer.

Auctioneers say the four A4 pages, written in red ink, could fetch more than £50,000 when it is sold next month - and have started the online bidding at £30,000.

Barker wrote the sketch under his alias, Gerald Wiley, and it aired on The Two Ronnies on September 4, 1976. Its official original title, as shown on the script, was Annie Finkhouse (or ‘anything else?’)

The script first came to light in 2006, the year after Barker died, on BBC One's Antiques Roadshow. On the programme, expert Mark Allen said ‘I literally can't contain my excitement... I'm possibly about to hold something very historic... the thought that he actually sat down and wrote this is absolutely amazing".

Ronnie Corbett later confirmed its authenticity, saying: ‘It was quite sweet for me to see his handwriting again.’

Peter Spicer, from The Original Memorabilia Company, said: ‘The Two Ronnies are a national institution and Ronnie Barker, a comedy genius. We are absolutely thrilled to be auctioning his finest piece of work".

‘To say this is the television equivalent of Lennon's lyrics to Imagine would not be an unreasonable comparison. We expect it to sell for at least £50,000.’

The Fork Handles scriptis one of a number of original items believed to have been given away by Ronnie Barker in the late Seventies, before works of this type were regarded to have any value.

The auctioneers say that even Barker's widow Joy does not have a handwritten copy of Fork Handles in her collection, and was happy for this script to be sold.

The auction is taking place online, here, closing at 5pm on December 20.

And here is the classic sketch:

Published: 22 Nov 2007

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