TV Cream

TV: R is for...

Rising Damp

THAT KNACKERED-SOUNDING piano theme was your welcome into…LEONARD ROSSITER in skanky clothes, the skeleton in the corner, RICHARD BECKINSALE, that knackered old door, DON WARRINGTON as supposed African King’s son or something, “I knew it! I knew it! Bloody communists!”, “At least you still like me, don’t you, Vienna?”, FRANCES DE LA TOUR powdering her nose, FRANCES DE LA TOUR entertaining a posh friend who a) if female, Richard and Don fancy, b) if male Len is jealous of, and everybody ganging together to fool Rigsby into thinking the house is haunted. Every bloody week.



  1. mark

    June 26, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    A little dismissive, surely? I’d say this was ITV’s best ever sitcom. Although that’s not exactly the most ringing endorsement. OK, it’s up there with the finest BBC sitcoms.

  2. Glenn Aylett

    July 21, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Indeed it was ,Mark, this proved that ITV could finally make a decent sitcom. Music was by Dennis Wilson, which I assumed to be the drummer out of the Beach Boys moonlighting between albums until told otherwise.

  3. Rob Johnson

    September 9, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    A comic masterclass from Leonard Rossiter. He WAS the show.

  4. david

    May 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Lenord rossiter was a comic genius and a credit to my home city of liverpool

  5. Richard

    June 1, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Couldn’t agree more with TVCream review. This programme is possibly the most overrated “comedy” of all time.

    • Glenn Aylett

      August 24, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      Noooo, The Young Ones IMHO, which was like Rising Damp done by alternative comedians and which I rarely found funny. Yes, along with never watching Neighbours at the height of its popularity in 1988, I was one of a brave minority of under 21s who disliked The Young Ones. Another one was a born again Christian, who frowned at the amount of blasphemy on the BBC, and a teenage girl who found the housemates ugly and dirty.

  6. Tom Ronson

    March 7, 2022 at 6:59 pm

    There are several enjoyable episodes, certainly, but there is an equal number that are a chore to get through – in particular, the ones where either Alan or Miss Jones are absent. My enjoyment of the series has also been marred by the discovery that Leonard Rossiter was A) bloody difficult to work with, and B) a barking right-winger. Literally barking, when he provided the voice of Boot in The Perishers.

  7. Sidney Balmoral James

    June 3, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    An interesting divide here, on a programme I thought was unquestionably regarded as the finest ITV sitcom by a very substantial margin (you’d struggle to even do a top ten of ITV sitcoms – after this, Please Sir, The Lovers and George and Mildred you start to drift into fairly niche territory like Home to Roost, or popular but shabby crap like Robin’s Nest, and Bless this House). Personally, I would rate Rising Damp as high as any BBC sitcom, even Fawlty Towers. Like Steptoe and Son, and Dad’s Army, presence of superb actors in cast lifts sometimes mundane material immeasurably, and Rossiter may well be THE finest sitcom actor of his generation, although I can see how he could be an acquired taste. Frances de la Tour one of those rare examples of a distinguished stage actor appearing in a baggy-pants sitcom (see also Simon Callow in Chance in a Million).

  8. Richardpd

    June 3, 2023 at 9:48 pm

    Shelly was quite a good ITV sitcom, though they nearly offloaded it to Channel 4 in the mid 1980s.

    While almost forgotten these days, The Army Game had a decent cast & writing team.

    For some reason ITV seemed to have a good track record with comedy dramas over the years.

  9. Glenn Aylett

    June 4, 2023 at 11:11 am

    Rossiter switched between Rusing Damp and Reginald Perrin and was brilliant in both. Rising Damp, like Are You Being Served, was a single set sitcom where all the action occured in one situation and never went outdoors.

  10. Richardpd

    July 22, 2023 at 12:06 pm

    Eric Chappell had a mixed track record for writing, probably due to him becoming only becoming a professional writer in middle age, this evolved from his play The Banana Box which he wrote while still working for the East Midlands Electricity Board.

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