Originals still the best


I enjoy a good film either, at the cinema or at home on my giant 12-inch, black and white telly with its state-of-the-art on/off switch.

Certain films, thanks to the rare alchemy of a first-class cast, script, direction and cinematography, can never be bettered – like “The Magnificent Seven”; “Mary Poppins”; “The Dam Busters”; “An American Werewolf in London” and “Ben-Hur”.

It would take a foolish man to consider remaking any of them. Unfortunately, Hollywood is full of foolish men.

All the above films are either being re-made or are ready to be released. The 1959 “Ben-Hur” won 11 Oscars and boasted an all-star cast, including Charlton Heston, Hugh Griffith and Jack Hawkins, plus dozens of familiar character actors in support.

The 2016 version stars Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell. No . . . me neither.

The 1959 version used massive sets and thousands of extras – particularly in the famous chariot-race.

The 2016 version features a lot of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery). I could go on. As you well know . . .

With so many great books screaming out to be adapted to the screen and thousands of new scripts written every year, it seems pointless remaking something that’s perfect.

Which brings me to the BBC’s current obsession with making new versions of classic sitcoms.

I know they’re celebrating “Sixty Years of BBC Sitcoms”, but what is the point of making new versions of 30 or 40-year old sitcoms (at the moment just one-offs) with new casts, when the originals are so much better?

And the reason they’re better is: they were original!

I wasn’t a huge fan of the original “Are You Being Served” but whenever I tuned in, it always made me chuckle.

Yes it was full of double entendres and outrageous characters, but the show amused 18 million viewers every week.

The recent remake (updated to 1988) was penned by the writer of “Benidorm”, which is usually tucked away well after the watershed.

So no surprise that halfway through the 2016 version, double-entendres were suddenly replaced by single-entendres about . . . well, seek it out for yourself, whenever ‘You’re free’!

In the mildly amusing “Porridge” remake that followed, Fletch’s ‘Jack The Lad’ grandson shared a cell with an old lag – a clever reversal of the Fletch/Godber dynamic.

Which reminds me, I know someone who went to prison for pouring Domestos over a vicar. He’s doing two years for a bleach of the priest.

I’m here every Wednesday.