HAVE you seen the trailer for the forthcoming feature film Stan and Ollie?

It focuses on Laurel and Hardy’s UK tour in the twilight of their showbusiness careers and if you are a fan of the funniest ever comedy duo, the movie looks amazing.

Steve Coogan and John C Reilly take the title roles and look uncannily like Laurel and Hardy and we will have to wait until January to see it in UK cinemas.

The film features the period in 1953 long after the golden era when they had stopped making classic comedy on screen and were performing in music halls up and down the country (they played in Bolton at the Lido theatre in Bradshawgate, six years earlier).

They were greeted like gods wherever they went and thousands of fans flocked to see them arrive in this country.

By all accounts, the pair were surprised and touched by the outpouring of love they received.

This was before most people even owned a TV; the audience’s experience of Laurel and Hardy comedy had come from watching the duo at the cinema.

This was usually on a Saturday morning, along with other classic black and white serials like Flash Gordon, starring Larry ‘Buster’ Crabbe (my dad’s favourite as a youngster).

I grew up in the 1970s and 80s and my generation was lucky enough to be fed a diet of Laurel and Hardy regularly.

Their brilliant 20-minute comedy ‘shorts’ were shown on TV (usually weekdays at 5.40pm on BBC 2) and that run introduced Laurel and Hardy to a new generation.

It occurred to me as I watched the trailer for Stan and Ollie, that you just don’t see Laurel and Hardy on TV any more.

The same goes for those brilliant 1940 and 50s Tom and Jerry cartoons and the madcap Warner Bros cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, Wile E Coyote and Yosemite Sam.

Of course, if you are a fan, you can buy DVDs of all of the above, or just watch them on YouTube.

And that is fine if you have heard of Laurel and Hardy or Looney Tunes.

But I think it is sad that youngsters who aren’t familiar with classic comedy don’t have the opportunity to chance upon it as they flick through the hundreds of channels now available.

Why not have a Sky ‘Stan and Ollie’ channel?

Or let’s see the BBC re-showing some of their classics like The Music Box (the one where they haul the piano up an interminable flight of steps again and again), Busy Bodies (the one where the ‘boys’ work in a timber yard and Stan ends up shaving Ollie’s face with a wood plane), or County Hospital (the one where Stan is the worst hospital visitor in history – turning up at Oliver’s bedside with a brown paper bag containing hard-boiled eggs and nuts).

Hopefully, this feature film will help to bring the duo to the attention of a new generation. Their films are as funny as ever.

In the wise words of Mr Laurel – you can bring a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead.