Recently recovered in black and white from New Zealand, 'The Food Inspector' (as it was billed at an archive showing) is almost a dry run for the similar episode from 'Fawlty Towers'. But since the Barker one came first, let's try and forget Basil and Sybil and their kitchen woes.
'His Lordship Entertains' was written by Ronnie Barker under a pseudonym, and starred him as Lord Rustless, a gent on hard times who opens his home as a hotel. With Josephine Tewson and David Jason as servants, and some rather elderly guests, there's scope for some rather ribald comedy and numerous double-entendres about the young kitchenmaid's low-cut dress. It's funny, sharp, but rather dated.
Michael Knowles - the first ever customer in 'Are You Being Served' features as a food inspector on a dirty weekend with someone else's wife; while the cuckolded husband gets mistaken for the inspector ... yes, we're on familiar ground here.
One or two routines featuring David Jason stood out - vacuuming and moving the old ladies' legs out of the way to get to the floor beneath, and leaving the toothless cook in a motorcycle sidecar to keep her out of the way. His comic potential was clear from the start.
A bit clunky, then, but worth a look. Unlikely that we'll see it in colour as it was originally filmed, but a worthy addition to the Barker oeuvre.
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