TV Cream

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Steptoe and Son

TWO MANKY men shout at each other, first in black and white, then in colour.



  1. Lee James Turnock

    May 4, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    What’s the deal with all this revisionist Steptoe and Son bashing? It was and remains a marvellous series, superbly written and acted, and I can only think of one episode that fell flat on its arse – ‘the Seven Steptoerai’, because the idea of Albert’s pensioner mates doing kung-fu just felt all out of whack with the Shepherd’s Bush world. Apart from that, it was pretty well classics all the way.

  2. Bulko

    May 4, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Agreed, Lee. I cannot believe S&S has been slated here. It was sharp, observational and, most importantly, very very funny.

  3. Adrian

    May 5, 2010 at 9:15 am

    They hated each other in real life aparently, which added an extra frission of realism to the acting..

  4. Lee James Turnock

    May 5, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Depends on who you believe. Apparently Ray Galton and Alan Simpson refute any suggestion that the two leads hated each other, and the footage of Wilfrid Brambell with tears in his eyes paying tribute to Harry H.Corbett after his death seems to give the lie to the whole story. I don’t doubt that Brambell’s heavy drinking may have caused tensions, but they worked well together and that’s really all that matters.

  5. Paul Murphy

    October 28, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    The best sitcom ever bar none.

  6. Glenn A

    November 5, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Perhaps the greatest sitcom of the sixties and TV Cream gives it the brush off, while lavishing attention on such drivel as Neighbours, a soap no one seems to have watched since John Major was in power and probably only because your student mates saw the irony in it and deep down everyone knew it was cheap crap. Steptoe and Son, along with Till Death Us Do Part, totally reinvented BBC comedy, had audience figures as high as 23 million, and is fondly remembered by its fans. Surely Seven Steptoeai and the one where Leonard Rossiter plays a prisoner who tries to hide out in Steptoe’s junk yard are light years ahead of ” highlights” in Neighbours that probably about 4 people will remember and none would watch again.

  7. Richard Davies

    November 9, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    There’s a few shows that don’t even get an entry here, or else a few lines, that should get better coverage.

    I well understand Steptoe & Son’s place in TV history, even if I that’s only through watching repeats & reading books on classic TV programmes.

  8. Norman

    January 3, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    To say Steptoe and Son is crap is quite simply a load of bollocks.
    Nobody went from pathos to comedy better.

  9. Glenn Aylett

    January 5, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    @ Norman, it was a brilliant sitcom and watching the films on DVD over Christmas shows how talented Wilfrid Brambell and Harry H Corbett were as actors. The later colour series and the two spin off films are classics and well loved by comedy fans. Much as we’re all TVC fans on here and love the site, surely more than two lines is justified for a sitcom that is pure Cream era and still has millions of fans.

  10. Richardpd

    January 5, 2022 at 10:27 pm

    It certainly didn’t pull too many punches with issues at times, with Albert & Harold often at loggerheads.

  11. Glenn Aylett

    January 6, 2022 at 8:23 pm

    @ Richardpd, it was brilliant, the one where they divide the house up is hilarious and Harold finding out his father appeared on a reel in a What The Butler Saw machine in the 1920s is a classic, as you couldn’t imagine Albert being asked to appear in something like that.
    As regards Brambell and Corbett hating each other by the end, this is rather a myth and for all there were tensions due to Brambell’s drinking, they kept on good terms right until Corbett died in 1982.

  12. Richardpd

    January 6, 2022 at 10:44 pm

    I can remember seeing those two episodes a few times, & they are very good, along with quite a few others.

    I’ve heard the tensions between the two flared up at times but wasn’t as bad as some people state, & they had respect for each other’s acting talents.

    Wilfred Brambell was supposedly distraught when hearing that Harry H Corbett had died.

  13. Glenn Aylett

    January 7, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    @ Richardpd, I fell for the myth that Brambell and Corbett hated each other due to a few press articles, but it wasn’t true and Brambell was distraught when Corbett died in 1982.
    I think Brambell’s main problem was he was gay and had to cover this up for most of his life as it was illegal and he was almost outed in 1962 for smiling at an undercover policeman in a public toilet. No wonder he drank heavily, could be a bit cranky and had to watch his back all the time.

  14. Richardpd

    January 7, 2022 at 10:50 pm

    Until recently I hadn’t realised Wilfred Brambell was born in Ireland, something I wouldn’t have guessed.

    In real life he was quite dapper compared to most of the parts he played, and when groomed up, with his usual dentures in & wearing his usual clothes he was barely recognisable as Albert Steptoe.

  15. Sidney Balmoral James

    January 8, 2022 at 12:00 am

    I seem to recall Galton or Simpson saying that tension was only occasional, and more due to Brambell finding it hard to remember his lines as he got older etc. They did a rather misbegotten tour of Australia in late seventies which was hard work due to Brambell’s drinking, and I think that may have been the origin of the ‘they hated each other’ stories. If it comes to closely working professionals who hated each other, try Sid James and Kenneth Williams (Williams often comments in his diaries on this but there is a very poignant note when he is told of Sid’s death). The irony is he disliked Sid for his reliance on the same lazy characterisation, the famous laugh etc., when Williams of course became increasingly a character himself, the outraged ‘ooh’and flair of the nostrils being every bit as overused as James’ dirty laugh.

  16. Richardpd

    January 8, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    From what I’ve heard Charles Hawtrey wasn’t popular with most people working on the Carry Ons, not helped by his heavy drinking.

    A lot of the Carry On regulars ended up playing the same personas as the series went on.

  17. Glenn Aylett

    January 8, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    @ Richarpd, Hawtrey again had to cover up his homosexuality for most of his career, which might explain his heavy drinking and mood swings, but later on in life was widely disliked in Herne Bay, where he retired to and died. From many accounts, he used to swear at anyone who recognised him in the street, called people in a pub a bunch of peasants, and tried to pull every available young man in the town. I did hear only a handful of people turned up at Hawtrey’s funeral.

  18. Tom Ronson

    March 31, 2022 at 4:01 pm

    Susannah Corbett’s biography of her father, The Front Legs of the Cow, is a must-read for anyone with even a passing interest in Steptoe and Son, and did its very best to scotch all those rumours about Wilfrid and Harry hating the sight of each other – in fact, they were about to embark on another live stage tour as Steptoe and Son, when Harry suddenly died.
    Also recommended is Roger Lewis’s The Man Who Was Private Widdle, his slim but compelling biography of Charles Hawtrey. If you thought Kenneth Williams had a bleak life away from the cameras, his was a non-stop Mardi Gras compared to the miserable existence Hawtrey eked out in a Kent fishing village following his dismissal from the Carry Ons in 1972.

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