A lot of laughs

Barker script goes under the hammer

Ronnie Barker's original handwritten script for The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town is expected to fetch up to £5,000 when it is auctioned next month.

Barker donated the 56-page script to a school fundraising auction in 1976 – leaving him without a copy when it came to compiling his life’s work in the book All I Ever Wrote.

It has been missing since then, but now the owner has come forward to sell it through Cirencester-based auctioneers Dominic Winter.

The script was written in 1976, adapted from an earlier Spike Milligan piece, and formed the eight-part serial for the fifth series of the Two Ronnies, which was broadcast later that year.

The foolscap script, signed: ‘With best wishes, Ronnie Barker 76’, even contains insertions, amendments, deletions and corrections in Barker’s own writing.

The lot also contains a letter from Barker to a Mr Harrison, who was connected to the drive to raise the money for a swimming pool at Kingsweston Special School, Bristol.

He wrote: ‘It suddenly occurred to me that you might like the manuscript of The Phantom Raspberry Blower (written in my own fair hand) to auction at your next event. I must explain that I wrote the serial, adapting it from Spike Milligan's original half-hour version.’

When broadcast the writing credit was given to Spike Milligan and a Gentleman. Milligan had originally written the idea as a half-hour programme which was aired as one of the Six Dates With Barker series in 1971.

The lot will be auctioned on June 19, with auctioneers estimating it will fetch between £3,000 and £5,000.

However, the final figure could be much higher – as last year Barker’s handwritten script for the classic Fork Handles sketch went for £48,500.

Here is one of the Phantom Raspberry Blower instalments:

Published: 27 May 2008

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