Steptoe and Son (1962)


Genre: Comedy

Plot: After creating the supreme comedy that was Hancock's Half Hour, many wondered where else writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson could go when the eponymous Mr H dispensed with their services. Their answer was another sitcom tour-de-force, Steptoe & Son. Steptoe was born from a one-off comic play, "The Offer" commissioned by the BBC in 1962 as part of Comedy Playhouse, a series of short plays all written by Galton and Simpson. From the outset it broke the mould of British comedy. Where previous sitcoms relied on slapstick, gags and farce, Steptoe and Son introduced a note of gritty realism: its characters were resolutely working-class, down-at-heel rag-and-bone men scraping a living by spotting gems among other people's junk. Father and son used earthy language and swore like troopers (at least as much as the BBC would allow them to) and both were given an added reality by being played by "straight" actors (Wilfred Brambell and Harry H Corbett) rather than comedians. Where other comedies revolved around interfering mothers-in-law and the sudden failure of the hero's braces the moment his boss came round, Steptoe's focus was on the inter-generational conflict that marked out the 60s. While father Albert Steptoe was - as his son often reminded him - a "dirty old man", set in his grimy and grasping ways, middle-aged son Harold was filled with social aspirations, not to say pretensions. Many episodes saw Harold attempting to attract a posh "bird" (this was still the sixties and early seventies) with his literary erudition, love of classical music or amateur dramatic skills, only to have a single leer from his gargoyle-like dad put the kybosh on the whole affair. Despite the advantage of Harold's relative youth, the audience always knew who was master in the Steptoe household. Albert, convinced his work in years (long) gone by entitled him to live off his son's hard graft, used every weapon from blood-curdling threats to pathetic wheedling to kee Read More



Episode 6: Seance in a Wet Rag and Bone Yard
Episode 5: Upstairs, Downstairs, Upstairs, Downstairs
Episode 4: The Seven Steptoerai
Episode 3: Porn Yesterday
Episode 2: And So to Bed
Episode 1: Back in Fashion
Episode 7: The Desperate Hours
Episode 6: Divided We Stand
Episode 5: Loathe Story
Episode 4: Live Now, P.A.Y.E. Later
Episode 3: Oh, What a Beautiful Mourning
Episode 2: A Star Is Born
Episode 1: Men of Letters
Episode 7: Men of Property
Episode 6: T.B. or Not T.B.?
Episode 5: The Colour Problem
Episode 4: Steptoe and Son - and Son!
Episode 3: Any Old Iron?
Episode 2: A Winter's Tale
Episode 1: A Death In the Family
Episode 7: The Lodger
Episode 6: The Bonds That Bind Us
Episode 5: Sunday for Seven Days
Episode 4: Steptoe a la Cart
Episode 3: The Lead Man Cometh
Episode 2: The Wooden Overcoats
Episode 1: Homes Fit for Heroes
Episode 6: The Holiday
Episode 5: The Diploma
Episode 4: The Economist
Episode 3: The Piano
Episode 2: The Bird
Episode 1: The Offer