Cigarette Burns: ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ – the alternate endings

After 37 years, British TV institution Last of The Summer Wine came to a finish last week and, depending on your age, that either meant nothing or a little bit more than nothing. I’m sure more people would care if they knew the truth…Like all good television series finales, the makers filmed a few alternate endings to stop spoilers from leaking onto the web. Thanks to CineVue, I hustled myself a viewing of these alternate endings…and they blew my mind!

The ‘28 Days Later‘ Ending

The coughing, spluttering bus driver sneezes into a tissue as the wedding party gathering at the tea room. He looks into the tissue and his snot is filled with blood. He shudders as he opens his hand and someone, catching sight of it, faints. Suddenly, a red haze descends over his eyes and he starts snarling. Everyone notices and begins backing away. The bus driver is drooling as he swings his arms around and stumbles up off his chair. The onlookers aren’t stupid; someone mutters “The rage virus?” under their breath before Russ Abbot shouts ‘Everybody out!’. The majority manage to escape and lock the door, trapping the bus driver inside but it’s too late; on the horizon, a thousand victims of the rage virus are running full pelt through the valleys and dales. All the wedding party guests look at each other in fear.’What do we do now?’ asks Peter Sallis. Cut to black.

The ‘Benjamin Button‘ Ending
As the main cast get slowly sicker and sicker, they all die in the same hospital about an hour apart from each other. Yet slowly, all of them start coming back to life (don’t worry, this isn’t a repeat of the ‘28 Days Later Ending) and ageing in reverse! It’s all apparently got something to do with a sinister doctor (who?) but let’s not dig around too much in that. So the show starts all over again, with the main cast getting younger and younger, and continues on for another 37 years until the characters in the show are 17/18 years old, at which point the show re-brands itself as a teen-slacker cult classic. It now follows Compo, Clegg and whoever the other guy is, as teenage stoners falling off walls, trying in vain to cop a feel of Nora Batty and riding down hills in a bathtub.

The ‘Thelma and Louise‘ Ending
On the run from the law for their part in the murder of Nora Batty (poor dear), all the main cast members and their nit-picking, bickering wives are packed into a mini van. It’s hurtling through the dales with Burt Kwouk behind the wheel. As everyone nitpicks, bickers and makes lewd comments, Burt realises that there’s only one way out. He steadies himself, placing his large duffel bag on the accelerator, and places one hand on the car door. He turns over his shoulder, blows his passengers a kiss and spins the wheel. The whole vehicle lifts and flies up through the air, giving him enough time to open the car door and barrel roll out. He clears the mini van and the pursuing police slam on their breaks a fraction too late to avoid smashing into each other and plunging over a cliff edge (do you get cliffs in Yorkshire?). There’s an enormous fireball and Kwouk stands up, wiping the dirt from his face, and walks towards the sunset. Fade to black. White text on black; ‘fin’.

Alex Riding