Hark at Barker

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Hark at Barker
Genre Comedy
Created by Alun Owen
Starring Ronnie Barker
Josephine Tewson
David Jason
Frank Gatliff
Theme music composer John Gregory
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 15
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) London Weekend Television
Original network ITV
Original release 11 April 1969 – 21 August 1970
Related shows Six Dates with Barker

Hark at Barker is a 1969 British comedy series combining elements of sitcom and sketch show, which starred Ronnie Barker. It was made for the ITV network by LWT.

Each show began with a spoof news item read by Barker as a continuity announcer. He would then introduce the main part of the programme, a lecture to be given by Lord Rustless (also Barker) on a different topic each week from his stately home, Chrome Hall. Helped and hindered by Rustless' secretary (Mildred) Bates, his Butler Badger, his bad-tempered Cook, his incoherent gardener Dithers and (in Series 2) his buxom, near-mute maid Effie, these lectures invariably degenerated into farce, and were frequently interrupted by comic sketches on film or videotape which also starred Barker in various roles.

Barker reprised the role of Lord Rustless in the BBC series His Lordship Entertains, and played very similar characters in Futtock's End and the Two Ronnies specials The Picnic and By the Sea.


The Chrome Hall sequences were written by Peter Cauldfield (pseudonym of Alan Ayckbourn). Writers on the sketches included Gerald Wiley (Barker), Eric Idle, and the team of Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie (some of their sketches reprised material from I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, and another was a forerunner of The Goodies episode "Bunfight at the OK Tea Room").

Regular Cast[edit]

Episode guide[edit]

Series 1 (11 April 1969 – 30 May 1969) - Produced in black and white

  • 1. "Meet Lord Rustless" 11 April 1969
  • 2. "Rustless And Women" 18 April 1969
  • 3. "Rustless In Pigtails" 25 April 1969
  • 4. "Rustless And A Banquet" 2 May 1969
  • 5. "Rustless And Murder" 9 May 1969
  • 6. "Rustless And Foreigners" 16 May 1969
  • 7. "Rustless And The Solar System" 23 May 1969
  • 8. "Rustless And Relics" 30 May 1969

Series 2 (10 July 1970 – 21 August 1970) - Produced in colour

  • 1. Rustless On Music 10 July 1970
  • 2. Rustless On Law 17 July 1970
  • 3. Rustless On Communications 24 July 1970
  • 4. Rustless On Cooking 31 July 1970
  • 5. Rustless On Medicine 7 August 1970
  • 6. Rustless On Do-It-Yourself 14 August 1970
  • 7. Rustless On Sport 21 August 1970

Archive Status and DVD release[edit]

All episodes exist on their original 2 inch Quad b&w and PAL colour videotapes bar 'Rustless on Law' from series 2, which only exists as a poor-quality 16 mm b/w telerecording. All of the surviving recordings were released on Region 2 DVD in 2008 by Network DVD, and are also included as Discs 1 and 2 of The Ronnie Barker Collection along with Six Dates With Barker.

External links[edit]