Two Ronnies script set to fetch £40,000 as script goes to auction

Four candles? No, fork handles: Legendary Two Ronnies script is set to fetch £40,000 as the script goes to auction today

  • The script for the Two Ronnies’ classic ‘Four Candles’ is set to sell for £40,000
  • The four-page document was recently voted the pair’s best ever sketch
  • The current owner of the handwritten script bought it for £48,500 in 2007

It is a legendary sketch that ranks among the most popular in British comedy history.

Now the script for the Two Ronnies’ classic ‘Four Candles’ is expected to fetch at least £40,000 when it goes up for auction on Friday.

The four-page document, handwritten by Ronnie Barker and titled ‘Annie Finkhouse?’ was recently voted the pair’s best ever sketch.

First aired in 1976, it begins with Barker in a hardware store asking for what sounds like four candles, which Ronnie Corbett behind the counter pulls from a drawer. ‘No,’ says Barker’s character, ‘handles for forks.’

The script for the Two Ronnies’ classic ‘Four Candles’ is expected to fetch at least £40,000 when it goes up for auction on Friday

And so begins a series of misunderstandings between the pair that leaves the shopkeeper increasingly frustrated but the shopper unmoved.

Describing the scene, Barker wrote: ‘An old ironmongers shop.

‘A shop that sells everything. Garden equipment, ladies tights, builders supplies, mousetraps, everything. A long counter up and downstage. A door to the back of the shop up left.

‘The back wall also has a counter. Lots of deep drawers and cupboards up high so that R.C. has to get a ladder to get some of the goods that R.B orders. (Please discuss).’

First aired in 1976, it begins with Barker in a hardware store asking for what sounds like four candles, which Ronnie Corbett behind the counter pulls from a drawer. ‘No,’ says Barker’s character, ‘handles for forks’

The sketch was inspired by an incident in a hardware store in Broadstairs in Kent, details of which were submitted to Barker by the owners as possible material. There is now a Four Candles pub in the town and in Barker’s home city of Oxford.

The guide price for the sale at East Bristol Auctions is less than the £48,500 which the current owner paid for it in 2007 after it appeared on an episode of the Antiques Roadshow the year before.

Auctioneer Andrew Stowe described the script as thrilling. ‘It is an iconic piece of our social history – not just television history,’ he said.

‘When it first came in to us, I was shaking with delight. ‘Fork Handles’ is a huge part of the British psyche – and this script was its birth.’ 

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