Is Last of the Summer Wine responsible for our moral decline?

Last of the Summer Wine was as much a fixture of Sunday nights in my youth as over-buttered malt loaf and milky tea from the Sunday best tea service. Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s there wasn’t the plethora of television, or indeed televisions- we had one wood effect vinyl TV in pride of place in the sitting room- so it was what mater and pater wanted to watch and if that included Roy Clarkes long running sitcom about a bunch of geriatric tomfoolery, then so be it.

It was a simpler more innocent time.

But was it? Recently the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’m convinced that Last of the Summer Wine was for a large part responsible for the moral decline we’ve seen in the past thirty years. Yes I know, every generation looks back on it’s youth as a time of innocence and points to today as something unsavoury in comparison but bear with me and I’ll try and explain what I mean.

Do you think they paid for that bath? Or the deers head?

Rather than hanging out by a shopping precinct causing a nuisance like a group of juvenile delinquents, the aged delinquents of Holmfirth go around causing genuine mayhem and, more often than not a list of crimes that includes: criminal damage, breaking and entering, fleeing the scene of an accident, numerous road traffic incidents (often involving jerry-rigged bath-tubs on wheels), theft, robbery, sexual assault, breaches of firearms and explosive laws, slander, libel and arson.

Not bad for a bunch of septagenarians octogenarians who at their age in life should really know better. I suppose that the crumblies basically thought that at their stage in life they could afford to be completely reckless since if they ever got caught, any prison sentence would either be artificially low due to their age, or pretty meaningless at their stage in life.

Howard: responsible for the
collapse of the family

And that’s before you even consider the Howard and Marina situation. Plenty of light hearted laughs and jokes at the scrapes a pensioner gets into as he tries to keep his extra marital affair a secret from his wife. The application of a tweed suit and flat cap doesn’t make adultery funny, either then or now and considering the vast  increase in the divorce rate since Last of the Summer Wine started, I can only assume that Howard & Marina’s carrying on helped to break down the taboos of cheating on your loved one and made being a sugar daddy something to aspire to.

Everywhere you look in Last of the Summer Wine, so blatent disregard of public law and order is occuring. It’s like Yorkshire is the Wild West or something, only there’s no Clint Eastwood figure riding in with the sun at his back to set things right.

Sexual assault

Is it any wonder then that society is in the state it is now? We’ve had 30+ years of this manual of civil disobedience masquerading as a gentle light hearted family comedy to gradually indoctrinate us. 295 episodes that might as well have provided a template for many an anarchists activities over the years. But rejoice! The show was cancelled back in 2010. Perhaps it is time to reclaim our country from the depraved acolytes of Last of the Summer Wine…