By the Sea (1982 film)

By the Sea (full title The Two Ronnies Present - By the Sea), is a 1982 BBC television film starring The Two Ronnies, and written by Ronnie Barker under the pseudonyms "Dave Huggett and Larry Keith". It was the follow-up to another Two Ronnies film, The Picnic, which featured several of the same characters.

By the Sea
Created byRonnie Barker
(as Dave Huggett and Larry Keith)
StarringRonnie Barker
Ronnie Corbett
Barbara New
Madge Hindle
Debbi Blythe
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Running time55 minutes
Production company(s)BBC
DistributorBBC Worldwide
ABC (Australia, home video)
Original networkBBC One
Original release12 April 1982
Related showsThe Picnic (1976)

The film followed the extended family of "The General", played by Barker, as they went on an eventful seaside holiday. It was set on the Dorset coast in "Tiddly Cove", actually the coast between Bournemouth and Swanage. The film is completely free of speech, with the score by Ronnie Hazlehurst and various sound effects and vocalisations in their place.


Ronnie Barker was a keen collector of saucy seaside postcards, exemplified by the work of Donald McGill, and had published several collections about them. The humour of By the Sea was very much based on the colourful style of these, being based on comic stereotypes (an old randy general, a busty girlfriend, a cheeky schoolboy, etc.).

Ronnie Corbett notes in his Autobiography of the Two Ronnies that the work may have been 'his most personal work of all, and I think for this reasons he had probably been a bit self-indulgent'.[1] Corbett notes that the first cut of the film assembled by Barker and an editor ran to one hour forty minutes. Jimmy Gilbert, BBC Head of Comedy, told Barker it was far too long and commissioned producer Alan J. W. Bell, the director of Last of the Summer Wine, to improve the film.

Despite being given a budget to reshoot scenes if required, Bell re-structured the film and cut it down to fifty-five minutes. He commissioned Ronnie Hazlehurst to write an original music score. To add comic effect and to replicate the feel of silent films, the film was also slightly undercranked to speed it up.[2][3]

Broadcast and release

The film was shown on BBC 1 at Easter 1982, but has rarely been repeated, although in recent times it has been shown several times by ITV3, who currently hold the rights to the Two Ronnies library. A limited VHS release of By The Sea and The Picnic was available in 1990 and deleted in 1994. By The Sea and The Picnic were both released on DVD on 24 September 2012 as part of The Two Ronnies: The Complete Collection. .[4] A standalone Australian individual release of both silent shorts was released on Region 4 DVD on 10 June 2015, titled: The Two Ronnies: The Picnic and By the Sea. [5]


  1. Corbett, Ronnie; David Nobbs (2006). And it's goodnight from him... The Autobiography of The Two Ronnies (London: Penguin, 2007)
  2. By the Sea at BBC Online BBC Comedy Guide
  3. By the Sea on IMDb
  4. "The Two Ronnies: The Complete Collection DVD". 24 September 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  5. "Two Ronnies, The: The Picnic / by the Sea (DVD)". Ezydvd. 10 June 2015. Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
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