Lewis Hulatt, Consultant Solicitor with Major Family Law, divorce and family law specialists, who is based in Surrey, comments:
There seem to have been too many great performers leaving us over the last few months – counter-culture icons included, but most likely you will acknowledge the passing of Ronnie Corbett as the loss of one of entertainment’s greats.
Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker were the Ant and Dec of their generation: brought together in the 1960s for The Frost Report, they went on to be giants of light entertainment in the 1970s. Even when television had generally turned to a new wave of ‘edgier’ comedians, Ben Elton brought in Ronnie Corbett to perform his shaggy-dog story solo spot on his show. The diminutive Scot in an over-sized lounge chair and golfing jumper may have looked like another family member in your home, but was far funnier.
Perhaps the greatest sketch that Ronnie performed was ‘Four candles’ in which he plays a grumpy shopkeeper against taciturn customer Barker who goes through a list of purchases, every one of which is capable of being supplied in more than one way. Once Corbett has fetched four candles, Barker clarifies his proposed purchase as “Fork ‘andles – handles for forks”. It doesn’t stop there and if comedy is art, that sketch deserves to hang in the National Gallery to illustrate the genre of double-entendre.
A regular scene involved two mates, often in the pub, where Bert struggles to get his words out and Charlie tries to be helpful in finishing sentences for him. Bert is so hesitant that Charlie often has four or five stabs at guessing what Bert means and yet is never close
Thus in the very best of Ronnie Corbett’s work lies the observation that what is said and what is understood may be completely different – words are often capable of two meanings and trying to anticipate an intent based on context, people can still get it wrong.
In entertainment, getting it wrong leads to comedy heaven, but in life those good intentions can lead to relationship hell.
We all need to listen and understand what people actually mean. Before becoming defensive or angry, we need to think whether what we heard was what was meant and whether another interpretation might be just as likely.
In the words of the song by The Animals “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good, oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood…”