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    The Benny Hill Show

    The Benny Hill Show

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    ITV (ended 1989)
    This guide strives to be as complete a resource as possible for the third TV series to bear Benny Hill's name in the title, which ran on Thames Television (ITV) from 1969-1989, and has appeared around the world in countless formats and re-edits ever since.

    This is a guide to the original hour-long version.

    In America, the show was usually presented in a specially-edited half-hour format, which ran for a total of 111 editions (although Comedy Central did screen the hour-long format in the early-to-mid '90's, albeit with sections edited out, typically the musical guest or dance numbers). 30-minute repeats (not the same as were made for the American market) often aired in Britain when the show was "between seasons."

    Comedy Central aired the original hour-long format for Shows 32 - 58 (except for Show 40). Also, USA Network aired the shows in the original hour-long format in the late '80s/early '90s. At least Shows 54 - 58, possibly others, along with the independently-produced Benny Hill's World Tour: New York special (both channels had a few minutes cut for extra commercial time).

    In the U.S., the original hour-long shows have been issued on DVD (Region 1) under the umbrella title Benny Hill - Complete & Unadulterated. The first three sets were released with the subheading The Naughty Early Years, covering the years 1969-1971 (Shows 1-11, including three B&W episodes previously unseen in America), 1972-1974 (Shows 12-21) and 1975-1977 (Shows 22-31, plus his 1970 half-hour silent film Eddie in August). The final three sets bore the subheading The Hill's Angels Years, and covered the years 1978-1981 (Shows 32-41), 1982-1985 (Shows 42-50) and 1986-1989 (Shows 51-58). Also, the Golden Greats set that came out in 2001 (now out-of-print) included 6 episodes, Shows 46, 47, 50, 55, 56 and 58.

    In England, the original hour-long shows (complete with production slates and adcaps) have been released on DVD (Region 2) on a year-by-year basis, under the umbrella of The Benny Hill Annual, each set representing a different year. The 1970 set (Shows 3-6) contains the aforementioned Eddie in August, and the 1974 set (which only saw two new editions air, Shows 20 and 21) features his first two Thames specials from 1969. As of October 2006, the total releases go up to 1979 (Shows 34 and 35). The Benny Hill Annual sets from 1976 and 1977 onwards have adcaps but not VT slates.moreless
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    Bless Me, Father

    Bless Me, Father

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    ITV (ended 1981)
    Produced by London Weekend Television, this series was written by Peter de Rosa and is based upon his autobiographical novels written as "Neil Boyd". The series is an engagingly idiosyncratic situation comedy based on the post-war experiences of a young priest sent to the parish of St. Jude's in the London suburb of Fairwater in 1950. Although it is not necessary to understand the sociological underpinnings to enjoy the comedy, the series gains extra bite from the relatively embattled situation of the parishioners as (mainly Irish) Catholics in a firmly Protestant Britain just recovering from the war and still smarting under Government rationing and other restrictions. (It should also be noted that St. Jude is the Catholic patron saint of lost causes...) Period detail is understated but convincing, particularly the hideous clothes worn by the pious women.

    The core of the series is naive and rather shy, Father Boyd's education at the hands of Father Duddleswell, an experienced parish priest whose staunch faith occasionally seems dangerously old-fashioned to Father Boyd but is usually revealed to be tempered by shrewd common sense and genuine goodness. Veteran character actor Arthur Lowe is quite magnificent in the role, conveying Father Duddleswell's limitations as well as his strengths, and making the growing affectionate bond between the two priests convincing and subtly moving. It is Father Duddleswell's nemesis Mother Stephen (head of the local convent) and Bishop Reilly who embody the hidebound and sometimes cruel aspects of the Church hierarchy. (It should be noted that novelist de Rosa is a formerpriest himself.) Daniel Abineri is convincingly earnest and gauche as the newly ordained curate embarrassed by his own good looks and appeal for the female members of the congregation. (So far as I know this is the only series Abineri appeared in.)

    Sharp-tongued housekeeper Mrs. Pring has a love-hate 40-year relationship with Father Duddleswell which produces some delightful insult matches, as does his conflict with next-door neighbour Billy Buzzle, a Cockney bookie and black-marketeer. Most of the Irish ethnic comedy is embodied in Doctor Daley, usually seen downing a whiskey with a fag end still in his mouth while reminiscing about the Connemarra childhood he shared with his oldest friend.moreless
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    Rising Damp

    Rising Damp

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    ITV (ended 1978)
    Rumour has it that somewhere deep in the rain forests of South America, there still exist undiscovered tribes of people completely cut off from civilization, untouched by technology, and oblivious to the existence of the great world beyond the waterfall. If this is so, then these people are quite possibly the only humans on the entire planet that have never stood with hands on hips, nodded their heads vigorously back and forth and uttered the line "Yes, Miss Jones." Certainly everyone else, however, has. Such is the legendary status of one miserly, prejudiced, scheming and generally unlikeable bed-sit landlord called Rigsby. Rising Damp originated as a script for a stage play, The Banana Box, in 1970. It's author, Eric Chappell, was inspired by a newspaper article about a black man who had guested at a hotel for a year, pretending to be an African prince as a means of avoiding discrimination. The play enjoyed a short lived run in 1971, with Wilfred Brambell as landlord Rooksby, and again in 1973 where regular stars Leonard Rossiter, Don Warrington and Frances De La Tour were cast. It was on this final run that a Yorkshire Television executive was invited to see it, and recognised it's potential as sit-com material. In 1974, The Banana Box became one of six sit-com pilot episodes commissioned by YTV, the others being Badger's Set, Brotherly Love, Slater's Day, You'll Never Walk Alone and Oh No, It's Selwyn Frogit! During production of The Banana Box, the title was deemed unsuitable and changed to Rising Damp (after a line from the script). Also, due to a complaint from a real Mr Rooksby, the lead character's name was altered to the more familiar Rigsby after a flick through the phone book. Audience reaction to the pilot were deemed favourable enough for YTV to commission a series. In fact, the show ran to four series, a Christmas special and a successful feature film, winning multiple awards along the way.moreless
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    The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine

    The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine

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    ITV (ended 1972)
    British sketch comedy show; aired in the US on ABC-TV from April 12 to August 23, 1972.
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    Robin's Nest

    Robin's Nest

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    ITV (ended 1981)
    Robin Tripp from Man about the House has left Chrssy and Jo behind and set up his own bistro along with his fiancee Victoria (Tessa Wyatt), with her father as a not-so-silent "silent partner". The spin-off series was once again created and written by Johnny Mortimer and Brian Cooke and aired on Thames Television from January 1977 to March 1981. Following the trend to Americanize the Man About the House/George & Mildred franchise, an American version of Robin's Nest was made, called Three's a Crowd.moreless
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    The Adventures of Don Quick

    The Adventures of Don Quick

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    ITV (ended 1970)
    The Adventures of Don Quick is a science fiction satire based on the character on Don Quixote, featuring astronaut Don Quick. As a member of the Intergalactic Maintenance Squad, Quick should only be concerned with fixing what needs to be broken, but each time he and his companion Sam Czopanser land on a new planet, he tries to go about setting right imaginary wrongs. His knack for interfering tends to upset the balance of whatever society he is in. The Adventures of Don Quick was impressively designed with a decent budget, with elaborate sets, costumes, and state-of-the-art special effects.moreless
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    It'll Be Alright on the Night

    It'll Be Alright on the Night

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    ITV
    Denis Norden and his clipboard present a range of outtakes from television shows from the past five decades in front of a studio audience (some specials were presented from the most bizarre of locations including an empty Drury Lane theatre!). Following a farewell show in 2007, comedian Griff Rhys-Jones took over from 2008, this time without a clipboard.moreless
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    Ours is a Nice House

    Ours is a Nice House

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    ITV (ended 1970)
    Welcome to the Ours is a Nice House guide at TV.com. "The great Thora Hird starred in this show as a Lancashire boarding-house landlady named (what else?) Thora Parker. A widowed mother of two teenagers, workshy son Alan and sensible though trendy daughter Vera. She runs a clean, respectable house ("nice, you know, none of your tat"). "The comedy sprung from Thora Parker's all-knowing, canny housekeeping for her resident boarders, the itinerant lodgers who flitted into and then out of the weekly episodes, and friends and neighbours, like next door's Elsie Crabtree, Thora's former school buddy who was always popping around to scrounge something or other and have a natter. Thora's mother, Gran, was played by veteran comedy actress May Warden, mostly sans dentures, while one of the boarders, Alf Whittle, was played by the show's writer, Harry Littlewood." (BBC Guide to Comedy)moreless
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    The Norman Conquests

    The Norman Conquests

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    ITV (ended 1977)
    British dramatic series
  • 10
    The Dustbinmen

    The Dustbinmen

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    ITV (ended 1970)
    Cheese And Egg is the leader of a gang of work-shy refuse collectors who operate a council dustcart (garbage truck) they call "Thunderbird 3." He's in charge of Smellie Ibbotson, Heavy Breathing (so named because he believes he had a way with women), Eric and Winston (an ardent Manchester City supporter). The inspector from the Corporation Cleansing Department, whom they nickname Bloody Delilah, is their sworn enemy. The foul-mouthed, beret wearing Cheese and Egg—so nicknamed because CE are his initials—is respected by the others for his brains. Together, the dustbinmen flout every rule, shirk work whenever possible and discuss (usually disparagingly) local residents by their address or some other recognizable feature, hence "Mrs 23 Valetta Street", "Mrs 14b Kimberley Terrace", "Mrs 24 The Alley" or "Mrs Manchester United". The series originated from a 90 minute Playhouse production titled There's A Hole In Your Dustbin, Delilah. Writer Jack Rosenthal drew his characters from real-life refuse collectors he had met while out and about conducting research, and he set his play in the Lancashire coastal town of Fylde, near Blackpool.moreless
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    6 Dates with Barker

    6 Dates with Barker

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    ITV (ended 1971)
    British sketch comedy starring Ronnie Barker in various roles.
  • 12
    You're Only Young Twice

    You're Only Young Twice

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    ITV (ended 1981)
    Welcome to the You're Only Young Twice (1977) guide at TV.com. British sitcom.
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    Romany Jones

    Romany Jones

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    ITV (ended 1975)
    British sitcom; pilot episode aired on February 15, 1972
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    Cooper, Just Like That

    Cooper, Just Like That

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    ITV (ended 1978)
    British sitcom
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    The Misfit

    The Misfit

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    ITV (ended 1971)
    Welcome to The Misfit guide at TV.com. British sitcom
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    A Class By Himself

    A Class By Himself

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    ITV (ended 1972)
    Meet Lord Bleasham: an elderly, eccentric and wealthy Lord who resides with his family in Somerset. He only wants the best for his family, but recently he's come into some money troubles. A Class By Himself follows the Lord as he attempts to regain his fortune, without his family knowing. The show aired for 7 episodes on ITV and starred John Le Mesurier (Dad's Army).moreless
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    Big Boy Now!

    Big Boy Now!

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    ITV (ended 1977)
    Leslie Crowther (Tony) stars as a middle aged real estate agent who is still living at home with his widowed mother Heather played by Fabia Drake. She is an over protective mother who denys Tony his freedom. His only hope of independence is Heather's boyfriend Capt Edgar Bingham played by Derek Farr who may propose marriage to Heather.moreless
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    The Losers

    The Losers

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    ITV (ended 1978)
    British sitcom
  • 19
    Girls About Town

    Girls About Town

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    ITV (ended 1971)
    British sitcom; pilot episode aired on October 2, 1969
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    The Fosters

    The Fosters

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    ITV (ended 1977)
    British sitcom about an African-American family; based on "Good Times".
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