Ronnie Barker statue unveiled

...in the town where he started performing

A statue of Ronnie Barker has been unveiled in Aylesbury, the Buckinghamshire town where he began his acting career.

The life-size bronze statue was officially unveiled by Mr Barker's widow, Joy, alongside Ronnie Corbett and Barker’s Open All Hours co-star David Jason.

Sculptor Martin Jennings depicted Barker as Porridge inmate Norman Stanley, sitting on a stone bench looking up at the town’s new Waterside Theatre, which opens next month.

Mr Jennings, who also created the statue of Sir John Betjeman at London St Pancras station, said: ‘It's been delightful to make this statue of Ronnie Barker. He was a comic genius and he was a wonderful shape to sculpt.

‘I've depicted him in his Porridge character glancing up approvingly at the new theatre as if looking back happily over a long career to the days when he began it all in Aylesbury.’

Ronnie Barker was born in Bedford in 1929 and worked in a bank before joining the Aylesbury Repertory Company. He made his professional debut in November 1948, at the old County Theatre in Aylesbury's Market Square, with a small role playing Lieutenant Spicer in J. M. Barrie’s Quality Street.

Councillor John Cartwright, leader of Aylesbury Vale District Council, said: ‘The sculptor Martin Jennings has created a wonderful work of art.The statue is a fitting tribute to a great man and one of Britain's best loved performers.

‘I'm sure it will not only delight theatregoers, but will also be an attraction to Ronnie Barker fans throughout the country and perhaps even further afield.’

Barker died in 2005, at the age of 76.

Published: 30 Sep 2010

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