Steptoe and Son first came to our screens 50 years ago. Love them or hate them, they changed English comedy and sitcoms forever.
Starring Wilfrid Brambell as the "dirty old man" father and Harry.H.Corbett as the poor son, who is caught in a trap which he can't escape. The sitcom is set around their business of Rag and Bone, with their trusty steed "Hercules" pulling the cart all day every day!
If eight series' weren't enough there was two Christmas specials and two feature length movies! Starring the most famous Rag and Bone men ever to walk the earth. With Harold trying so incredible hard to better himself each time, by either taking up a new hobby, creating a name for himself or just trying to get a girlfriend, his dad would always mess it up for him. No matter what happened
Sometimes, I think to myself I carry the Harold Steptoe curse, I always try to better myself or try and get a girlfriend and it never works out the way as planned.
However Steptoe and Son, Funny and Genius .Could not recommend this enough!
One of the all time greats, and I'm sure a huge inspiration to "Only Fools and Horses." Harold was convinced he could have made it anywhere in life, but was held back by his possessive and selfish Father Albert. Yet he considered it his duty to look after his Father, who often succeeded in what Harold tried to accomplish! His impression of his domestic liabilities tended to shelter Harold from any of his own inadequecies, and the character drew comfort from his imagination of what might have been, if not for his Father. Harolds late Mother was a central character, cleverly etched, though we never saw her, relying only on the characters impressions of her memory.
Although Steptoe and Son ran on British TV for twelve years it is one of those rare (maybe unique) examples of an idea which continued to develop and evolve rather than slide into stale repetition.
In its early years the series emphasised broad comedy. One well-remembered episode features Albert eating a meal while sitting in his bath, earning a rebuke from his son which became a national catchphrase: "You dirty old man!"
As time went by the characters became established and the writing began to emphasise the mutual dependency of two basically lonely men (Harold the batchelor and Albert the widower). Harold dreams of a better quality of life away from his father and constantly makes attempts to achieve something in his own right. His attempts are thwarted by his own lack of social standing and his father's scheming: if Harold joins a local theatre group, Albert joins too and becomes the star of the show.
Albert, for his part, fears losing his son and being abandoned in his old age. He will use any means (especially moral blackmail) to keep Harold at his side. More importantly he is far more realistic than Harold and sees that his attempts at social ambition are doomed.
The performances of Wilfrid Brambell and Harry H Corbett never faltered through the show's run. Galton and Simpson produced scripts of wit and insight and they performed with great skill and subtlety. This is a show where you laugh while recognising the truth and basic sadness of the situation in which the characters live.
To me Steptoe & Son is and was the greatest comedy of all time. Ray Galton & Alan Simpson are fantastic writers to produce this amazing comedy series. Their choices of Harry H Corbett as Harold Steptoe and Wilfrid Brambell as Albert Steptoe was perfect choices, they was amazing actors and even though they did not see eye to eye in real life their chemistry on the show was perfect together. Both comedy geniuses. It was a real tragedy that Harry H Corbett died at such an early age of 57 in 1982. Steptoe & Son was the type of show that you never wanted to end even after 8 Series. I still wish they would have got at least another 2 more series making it 10 series before Corbetts death but it was not to be, sad really but you can't take away how amazing the show was, and it is still fondly remembered and reshown even today due to the popularity of the show, you can't keep good comedys down no matter how long ago they was shown, and Steptoe & Son will always be remembered as an amazing series. The writers, and actors, everything was perfect, it was a perfect comedy show.
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