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It's common knowledge they always hated each other ...

BBC4 are broadcasting a documentary drama about the lives of Wilfred and Harry. What do you think ? Please let us have any comments about this programme

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It's common knowledge they always hated each other ...

Postby bob » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:02 am

........ is it really ?

I have just seen Phil Davis interviewed on BBC Breakfast news. These may not be verbatim quotes but they are near as damn it.

“This is all based on fact”…… “We didn’t have much to go on with Wilfred as he was a very private man”
Both of these statements can’t be true.


“It was common knowledge that they didn’t get on”
I am a big fan, I never picked up on it. It has become a post death myth spurned by the commercial interest of a number of TV production companies.

“They hated each other but they were locked together for 14 years”.
I think it was being type cast as one of the Steptoes’ that really irritated them.


The main point I am making is that the film is being marketed, as if, from the very first moment they met each other there was a deep seated hatred and loathing between them. I completely accept that their relationship was very poor towards the end, but that could be the same for anybody in their situation. Rodney Bewes and James Bolam (The Likely Lads) are said to have fallen out after some misplaced comments by one of them. It would be wrong to suggest that there was always antipathy. These two are still alive and therefore left alone.

My view is this, If they really hated each other as much as suggested, they would have refused the series opportunity following “The Offer”. Even if they went ahead with the first series they could have refused the second and walked away with their career opportunities intact. At the end of series 4 everybody thought that the entire Steptoe series had come to an end. I can not imagine how 4 years later if the facts are as Mr Davis’ claims them to be, they would ever get back together. “I say Harry / Wilfred why don’t you come back and work with that guy you detest, and in the process completely bugger up your career”. I bet they couldn’t wait !!

The real point is this. People who don’t follow Steptoe as closely as the people on this forum will listen to Mr Davis and / or watch the show and believe it all. When they next come to discuss Steptoe they wont talk about how funny they were, or what brilliant actors they were or how well written the scripts were they will just say, “You do know they always hated each other don’t you” ?

Well done Mr Davis, mission accomplished; money in the bank. I sincerely hope that when you are dead and gone nobody makes spurious remarks about your life and tries to pass them off as facts.
Last edited by bob on Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby PhilGlass » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:46 pm

I agree. I dont think they 'hated' each other, ie, wished each othe rharm, they just weren't best buddies. Why do the public insist that stars who work together be best friends? I go to work everyday and work with people I dont socialise with outside of work, that doesn't mean I hate them... Harry will go on to be remembered for years, what about Jason Isaacs, I'd nevr heard of him until now! Harry has the last laugh!
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Postby Graham_S nli » Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:11 pm

Hi all,

Been really busy at work recently...

When I first found out the casting I was really surprised at the choices of Harold and Wilfred....

Most on this forum really enjoyed the performances of Jake Nightingale and Harry Dickman in "Murder in Oil Drum Lane" and assumed that they would be cast choices in "The Curse..."

The BBC instead cast some fairly heavyweight actors in the likes of Jason Issacs and Phil Davis....

It seemed hard to imagine Phil Davis as Willy due to the fact he appeared as a Mod in the seminal film Quadrophenia especially as I was still at school when it was released...

Jason Issacs I was possibly more shocked at and extremely dubious about due to his appearance in the Mel Gibson 1776 American flag waver "The Patriot" playing the British "bad guy"....

This was the film that had the notorious scene of a church filled with Americans being burnt SS style.... (Even historians advising the film were deeply uncomfortable with this as no such thing happened during the Independance war but no worry similar to last night's offering it will go down as fact given time).

We know there were problems at the end between Harry and Willy and it seems to me that the problem was trying to pack 14 years into a ONE HOUR only production caused this to feel that only the negatives were shown...

As for Mr Issacs?

He was quite happy to pocket the cheque from Mr.Gibson so not surprised at Bob's opinion of him today after his interview....

As an aside I found it quite funny and a bit off-putting with the casting of Burn Gorman (with obviously fake beard) playing Alan as I'm a fan of Torchwood which he has a major part in playing Owen....
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Dosent seem as well made as some...

Postby Sven Donkers » Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:47 pm

Having grown up with the comedy of Albert and Harold, i really did enjoy the drama adaptation on bbc4.
It did however seem to lack the polish and quality of some of bbc4's other dramas i.e: Fantabulosa the kenneth williams story.

I guess with the subject matter being based around two very private persons, only so much can make it's way to screen.

Hey ho...it was good to watch, but not as good as the genuine article!
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Postby bob » Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:32 am

Welcome to all our new members and a special big welcome back to Graham. We miss those interesting links and info.

I watched the show last night (Thursday), and I quite enjoyed it. Unlike the marketing I didn't get the feeling that there was a deep hatred between the two. They came across as two very different men who would never have mixed socially. Why then did many interviews and press articles focus exclusively on this alleged hatred ? Shame.

For me I would really like Ray and Alan to make some definitive statement about all this. The comments made by Jason Issacs were not reflected in the very film he stars in, and yet his comments are left to stand as if the truth.

It was interesting that the film portrayed Harry having a son with a girlfriend, but there was no mention of his daughter Susanna. Perhaps she insisted in not being associated with something that did not portray her father in a very favourable light.
Last edited by bob on Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Rian » Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:41 am

i think the next and last thing from Steptoe should be just a fitting "tribute" to them as actors and the characers,that would be nice to see to round off the whole show together.
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Postby PhilGlass » Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:56 pm

I look at it this way - if it was true, let's imagine it is. Why, if they hated each other from the start and Harry wanted out of the show, would he then agree to make 2 feature films, which would be shown around the world as oppose to just the countries with the show? This would obviously catapult steptoe and son even further, so there would be even less chance of escaping. Harry wasn't a stupid man, so why would he have done that?

I have worked with my people in theatre and the one thing that you can not fake, even the best actors in the world, is chemistry. It is a natural thing and Harry and Wilf have it in Steptoe and Son. They were naturals together.

But I guess that making a television program about two people who liked each other and worked well together would be 'boring' to those over fed, under worked BBC executives (my opinion and not that of the website!!). So they think it's more interesting to produce the opposite. The problem is, it backfired - it was still crap!

More junk than in the Steptoes' yard!
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Postby Graham_S nli » Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:55 pm

Thanks Bob for the welcome back...

I have been keeping an eye on the board but really have been tied up with work and also haven't had anything worthwhile to write about recently....

The"hatred" that has been talked about between the pair didn't really materilise in the show to me but Harry was portrayed as quite a bad husband (perhaps the reason why his daughter wasn't referred to at all, perhaps she wouldn't give an interview...) and Willy as a self-loathing closet homosexual....(I was glad they showed he did find happiness with his man-servant).

I loved the assorted continuity errors of placing events later than they could have been and reconstructions of famous scenes....

My favourite part was Harry outside the theater being asked if he was an actor (in broad daylight!) when if you watch the episode it refers to it's pitch black when it was really shot....

I found the program tried so hard to cram everything (14 years, 8 series, 2 christmas specials and 2 feature films... were the films even mentioned?) into the hour that it rushed the ending with the "goodbye" at the end of the TV series (1974) totally unbelieveable to me as both actors continued to do the Radio Series until 1976 and then the "infamous" tour took place in 1977.....

Oh and let's not forget the "Kenco" advert from 1982!

Who really keboshed the series? Harry or G & S?

If he was willing to tour would he have done another series?

I think G & S wrote the scripts for the down under tour...
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Postby Graham_S nli » Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:19 pm

Sven Donkers,

I'm glad you brought up "Fantabulosa, The Kenneth Williams Story." as a comparison...

I think the big difference is that Kenneth wrote a very detailed and revealing diary of his every day life for many many years....

This mean't the writer/s had his side of the story.

Where with "The Curse" it was based on interviews with G & S and various friends and family...

Willy wrote his autobiography but omitted his sexual preferences from it at the time for obvious reasons and how can you prove he was as self-loathing as he was made out in the programme....

Recently I learned that George Takei who played Sulu in Star Trek omitted the same thing from his autobiography the same as Willy but has now admitted he is gay as we are now in a completely diferrent era to the 60's & 70's where careers were ruined by even a hint of being homosexual (Ask Peter Wyngarde...).

"The Curse" should be taken with a small pinch of salt...
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I do agree

Postby Sven Donkers » Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:48 pm

When i think properly about it i see that you are right.
obviously with his life catalogued so insensely, williams would make for a more complex and accurate story.
It will be interesting to see if they do the same with frankie howerd,as i believe he was similarly closeted in diarys and quite straight to all but friends and anyone unlucky enough to stumble into his dressing room! :lol:
It would be interesting to see a drama based on the life of peter w
with fabulous jason king references....but alas, as he's still alive i guess the bbc would have to tell the truth.
And that would never do! :shock:
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Postby PhilGlass » Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:53 pm

The trouble is, non Steptoe fans will believe anything they're told.

To me it doesn't matter, whether true or not, I watch the program for entertainment and it entertains me! So I don't really care what went on behind the scenes.
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Postby bob » Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:29 pm

Good Point Phil .... Well Made
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it,s common knowlege they hated each other

Postby harold » Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:29 pm

I AGREE I LOVE STEPTOE AND SON NO MATTER WHAT
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Postby thrupnybit » Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:21 am

Hello and warm greetings to all Steptoe fans! :D

An amazing series, unique and irreplaceable with two consummate and engaging professionals.

As a reply to this forum topic, i also agree that they didnt hate each other... however... frustration must have taken its toll, and 'familiarity breeds contempt'. The actors were completely different people, in real life and in the sitcom, and disagreements and difficulties must have been inescapable as time went on.

Just my thoughts. Hello to everyone here again - my respect and shared laughter to you all! :)
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Postby bob » Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:45 pm

Hello thrupnybit

Welcome to the forum. I look forward to more postings.

Bob
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