Steptoe and Son

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The Ken Dodd Show

  BBC Television  
  24th July 1966    
  Thanks to Phil Glass    
  By 1966, ‘Steptoe and Son’ was perhaps the most loved comedy on British television. The last series had finished on a high with ‘Pilgrims Progress’ and the viewers were wanting more. Although another full series would not be made for another four years, this wasn’t the last we were going to see of our favourite Father and Son.

8 months after the end of the fourth series, ‘Steptoe and Son’ headed off to Blackpool for a holiday where they happened to meet up with an up-and-coming family favourite, Mr. Ken Dodd. ‘The Ken Dodd Show’ aired on 24th July, 1966 with many special guests, including Harry and Wilf in a rare guest appearance in a short ‘Steptoe’ sketch written by Ray and Alan especially for the show!


This footage still remains unreleased by the BBC, but some of us have been lucky enough to view this sketch from an unofficial source which has been ‘doing the rounds’ as Harold would say. However, the BBC must be aware of its existence as I have seen a clip of Ken Dodd from the beginning of this very episode on a recent BBC documentary. Perhaps one day they will restore this footage and share it with the world!

For those who haven’t seen the sketch, as usual with Albert and Harold, it’s a laugh a minute…

The sketch starts with an introduction from Doddy, who explains that because it’s a family show, they’ve invited the BBC’s most famous family… I couldn’t have put it better myself! Then the curtains open to the familiar theme tune to reveal two tatty deck chairs and a small hut.

  A smartly dressed Harold wanders on holding an ice cream – he’s really not correctly attired for a day at the beach… ‘Dad? Dad’?... From the opening lines the audience are in good spirits as Harold does the usual complaining about his Dad. A great line is when he shouts ‘ice cream’ to temp his Father, but as he still does not appear, Harold proclaims ‘If you don’t come back soon I shall lick it!’…

Albert appears from the hut dressed in a rather tight black one-piece suit, complete with inappropriately placed holes! From this point the scene takes off as they argue about everything under the sun – Harold doesn’t want to take his clothes off, it’s Albert’s fault they had to take the horse and cart from London to Blackpool, and Albert really shouldn’t be wearing a costume full of holes: ‘They can’t see nothing they ain’t seen before’, ‘Not yours they haven’t – enough to clear the beach that is!’.

    Then Harold mentions he has an appointment to play golf with a local man who reckons to be the professional… who could it be? That’s right, Ken Dodd!

It’s interesting to watch the two comedy styles mixed. Ray and Alan’s clever humour sometimes seems a little off-key with Ken Dodd’s plain silliness. I don’t know who wrote the end, if Ray and Alan wrote for Dodd, or if he was improvising (you can never tell with him) or if it was a mixture of both, but it is fascinating to watch the comedy genius alongside the two ‘real actors’ as he later calls them.

‘Ah, my old friend Oscar Hammertoe’
‘Harold Steptoe! May I present my Father?’
‘Is this little Diddyman your Father? I’ve got one just like you sitting by the pond in my front garden!’, replies Dodd as the audience roar with laughter. Of course, Albert has to have the last word ‘Who’s this great hairy twit!’.

  Albert them goes off to change as Ken Dodd explains his unique style of playing golf… golf, or tennis? He hits the balls like tennis balls; much to Harold’s disgust (Harold’s far too sophisticated for that, after all!).

Albert returns in suit and medals, with Ken Dodd mistaking him for Sean Connery! ‘What’s the matter with Bugs Bunny then?’, quips Albert!

There are many interesting references, such as Cassius Clay (the original name of Muhammed Ali), Sean Connery who would have only been a young star at the time, enjoying the aftermath of his first Bond success, and golfer Henry Cotton who is referred to when Ken hands Harold a broken golf club…

The sketch ends with the Father and Son tricking Ken into going into the hut (‘I now declare this council flat open!’), then running off and leaving him. Of course, they return to let him out!

The professionalism of Harry and Wilf comes through when Ken, who is the presenter of the show, breaks his character to thank them for attending the show and shakes their hand, but if you watch carefully, Harry and Wilf remain in character, as Wilf gives a thumbs up and shuffles off.

Although not as politically charged as the Buckingham Palace sketch, this is still a very funny and quite clever ten minutes of television. Regardless of what various sources may say about the actors’ relationship with each other, you can see the chemistry between them and everyone seems to be having a great time.


  I hope some day this little gem gets re-mastered and put out to shine like the rest of the series… What a great DVD it would be of all these special Steptoe episodes together! History has a way of being unkind to the best things, so let us hope that this clip can be an exception to that rule and the BBC finally come to their senses!

Original air date: 24th July, 1966.
The show was pre-recorded a few days earlier in Blackpool.

   is very grateful for the time and effort taken by the author to make this material available to Steptoe fans everywhere.

If anybody has better quality pictures they would be very gratefully received.

While it is understood that Ray and Alan own the copyright to this material, it is no longer commercially available and appears unlikely to be so.

If you have something similar to share with other steptoe fans, we would be delighted to publish it please send all contributions to


  Hi, I have just read with great interest the details of the broadcast of the Ken Dodd show on the 24th July 1966.

As a stage hand at the Winter Gardens Pavilion for some 20 years from 1962 to 1982 I worked on the 6 Sunday night shows. First I have to tell you that the whole of the 6 shows were in fact live and not recorded as stated in the article.

As a great fan of steptoe and son it was a great thrill to be able to work on this show, the thing that sticks in my mind was that Albert came in for rehearsals in the morning unshaven and he looked very dirty, on the walk down in the finally he was dressed like a million dollars, the change was unbelievable

Alan Cherry


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