TV Cream

Films: B is for...

Best of Benny Hill, The

A cinematic rehash, no less, of the mushroom gatherer’s toppermost sketches and songs up to 1974, so don’t expect the likes of the skeletal striptease, but you do get Henry Magee interviewing Benny’s French film director (Pierre da Terre and his masterpieces Lavabo en Face, Jambon Triste, La Poof Celebre), and plenty of Bob Todd in a dress. Oddly enough, considering Hill’s star status, this isn’t, as with And Now For Something Completely Different, an assortment of sketches from TV reshot in proper Eastmancolour, but for the most part a grainy, muddy transfer of the originals from hi-band videotape, so it’s surprising this gets an airing anytime. All the regulars are present and correct, plus Nicholas Parsons and Dave Prowse.



  1. Lee James Turnock

    May 21, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Dear dear, TVCream, you’re getting your Pythons and your Hills mixed up. Michael Palin was ‘le pouf celebre’, Brian Zatapathique, in the flying sheep sketch from Python series one. Pierre da Terre’s film was ‘Ne Touche Pas Le Pouf’, which was handily translated by my French teacher at the time as “don’t touch the flea”.

  2. Richard Davies

    October 2, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    I remember this turning up on Channel 4 a few years ago, & noted the picture quality was even worse than the ropey print of Santa Claus: The Movie the BBC seem to use for years.

  3. Paul Bovey

    December 4, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    I think this is getting a DVD re-release next year with a new transfer from the original film elements. It’ll be interesting to see what the quality’s like.

    “I would like mussel soup!”

  4. Sidney Balmoral James

    August 7, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    Is this the only cinema-released motion picture to include canned laughter?

    • THX 1139

      August 7, 2021 at 3:38 pm

      That’s a darn good question! Although technically, it wasn’t canned laughter here, it was the laughter of the studio audience who were on the original TV sketches – this film was a cheapo compilation of those.

      I’m thinking maybe something like Allen Funt’s “adult” Candid Camera movie What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? might have featured it, but I’m not sure.

      In David Lynch’s Inland Empire, there’s a sitcom about rabbit people that uses canned laughter where it’s pointed out this is the laughter of the dead because the machine they use to put it on is so old. Don’t know if that counts.

  5. Glenn Aylett

    August 7, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    It was a collection of colour sketches from Benny’s early Thames years, when he was at the height of his creativity. I still roar with laughter at Tupper Time, Henry Mc Gee’s monoyllabic film director and the world’s oldest man, who dies at the start of his interview. Benny’s humour was at its best until about 1982, when he started to become tired, the sketches became predictable and some of the scenes with young women became embarassing. He wasn’t sacked due to Ben Elton and some lefty television executives, as some of Hill’s fans would have you believe, his shows were losing viewers and were old fashioned.

  6. Richardpd

    August 8, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    I got the feeling that both Benny & Thames stuck with the show for longer than they should as it was a good earner in exports for Thames, & Benny probably didn’t want to give up his main source of income even if it wasn’t so much fun to make.

  7. Droogie

    August 9, 2021 at 6:29 pm

    Natural Born Killers has a scene involving a TV sitcom depicting Juliette Lewis’s character’s abusive childhood from her pedophile father played by Rodney Dangerfield . It’s a deeply unpleasant scene as it’s shot like an episode of Rosanne but with canned laughter played over lines about child molestation.

    • Richardpd

      August 9, 2021 at 10:41 pm

      I’ve not seen it but it must be disturbing as Rodney Dangerfield usually played comic parts.

      While Oliver Stone directed, the storyline was by Quentin Tarantino, which might explain some things.

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