This is a graphical insert for the Steptoe and Son Appreciation Society Website
Galton and Simpson were not looking to make a pilot, having recently ended a seven-year stint writing Hancock's Half Hour and Hancock for BBC radio and TV. However, Tom Sloane, the BBC's Head of Comedy, told them during rehearsals that "The Offer" was a definite series pilot: he saw that the Steptoe idea had legs, as did the audience of that edition of Comedy Playhouse. Galton and Simpson were reportedly overwhelmed by this reaction, and later that year, the first of eight series was commissioned, the first four of which were made in black and white. Each series comprised five to eight half-hour episodes, and the last was transmitted in 1974. At the peak of the series' popularity, it commanded viewing figures of some 28 million per episode. In addition, the early 1970s saw two feature films, two 46-minute Christmas specials and a number of radio shows based on the TV scripts. In 2005, the play Steptoe and Son in Murder at Oil Drum Lane, written by Ray Galton and John Antrobus, brought the storyline to a close.
The series was one of the first UK situation comedy programmes to employ actors rather than comedians in the principal roles. Galton and Simpson had decided themselves that they wanted to try to write for performers who "didn't count their laughs".
The series' title music is "Old Ned" by Ron Grainer, the series had no standard set of opening titles but the opening sequences would often feature the Steptoes' horse, Hercules. "Steptoe and Son" is the Steptoes' trading name, but as established in the first episode, the "Son" is not Harold but Albert: the name dates from when he and his father — Mister Steptoe — worked the rounds.
The father, Albert Steptoe (portrayed by Wilfrid Brambell), is lazy, stubborn, narrow-minded, foul-mouthed, and has revolting personal habits. Albert is content with his place in the world, utterly unpretentious and downright cynical. He can be extremely vindictive and does everything he can to prevent Harold, his son, improving himself — especially if it means him leaving home.
Harold (played by Harry H. Corbett) is also obstinate, though prone to moments of enthusiasm about an idea. He wants to move up in the world — most of all to escape from the family home and his stifling relationship with his father. Harold has aspirations. He likes to see his business as being in antiques rather than junk. He is a dreamer and idealist. Politically, Harold is a Labour supporter who is appalled at his father's reactionary views. He aims to improve his mind and his social circle but always fails, often thanks to Albert's deliberate put-downs or sabotage. Harold's exasperation and disgust at his father's behaviour often results in his repeating the catchphrase "You dirty old man."
|One of the most common themes used in the Steptoe and Son series was Albert making out he was having a heart attack whenever he wanted to get his own way. While we all knew this wasn’t a real attack his son Harold Steptoe was never quite sure.
Of course one of the options open to the family would be to make sure that sufficient protection is in place to ensure that no mater what ever happened to the old man, there was sufficient finance in place to make sure he was properly cared for. However given the number of apparent pre-existing medical conditions Albert has, finding an insurer may appear to be an impossible task, but that is where the life insurance help website comes into its own. Albert Steptoe would need to declare all of the various ailments on his insurance application form because if he didn’t declare them it is likely that any claim he made wouldn’t be paid and he could end up with his life insurance policy cancelled. The life insurance help website helps people like Steptoe and Son obtain insurance even after other insures have refused insurance.
The have years of experience helping people obtain cover when other companies refuse. They don’t only help people with heart conditions such as angina, they are able to offer help people with all kind of conditions, if fact the most common request they receive is to help people who want life insurance for diabetes. You may remember in the episode TB or not TB the family went for a regular check up at the mobile clinic. Poor Harold Steptoe had quite a scare because his x-ray results were not conclusive. Thinking about his future Albert Steptoe might think about taking out some life insurance on Harold but given his condition it is likely that his application for insurance refused. This is where the life insurance help website may be able to help Steptoe and Son obtain some cover for the family.
But was Albert Steptoe really as ill as he claimed ? We’ll he may look fairly sprightly, it could be argued that he is somewhat underweight, let’s face it their isn’t to much meat on those bones. But what if the reverse was true and Albert was actually considered to be obese ? In such circumstances even if he had no other conditions he may find an application for insurance declined and therefore have no cover. What he would need to do is find a company that specialises in obtaining life insurance for overweight people which is where the life insurance help website is the market leader. It may make us smile to think of an Albert Steptoe who requires life insurance for overweight but for may people it is a very serious issue.
Fortunately for our enjoyment this was never a problem for the dirty old man or his son Harold Steptoe. We can just sit back and watch episodes like The Offer and wait for those magic moments when Albert played by Wilfrid Brambell suddenly wants to get the upper hand on Harold Steptoe and will cry “Oh me heart” and then start to wobble as he made out he was having a heart attack. The look on Harry H. Corbett’s face was always a treat.