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So...what did everyone think

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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Postby moncktonhotmail » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:39 pm

:D I have read all the comments and the views of the bbc 4 "the curse " and i must say i did enjoy it, ok what you all said about the facts may be a bit wide of the mark ? but watching all the shows from a small boy i had to watch this one. all the real life facts about the main the charactors i have missed all my life i just remember great tv and class acting , and now i real want to findout more !
:arrow: (thanks for book info) the other thing i thought the actors in bbc4 play did very well they only can follow the script and to try to copy legends is very hard you only have to look at the millions of elvis acts all over the world and not one can dance or sing and look anything like him. so well done to them.
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Postby rose » Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:30 pm

I thought the actors did very well, when it came to the parts where they acted as the characters. Jason Isaacs has always been a favourite actor of mine, and the accent was very well done. However, I'm not so sure about the accuracy, apart from when Harry gets annoyed with Wilfred for being a bit slow and forgetful, as it was common knowledge about the strain of their off set relationship.
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Postby Archie » Sat May 09, 2009 1:59 pm

My mother was round the other day and was looking for a Steptoe episode to watch. She found the 'Curse' on the shelf with the series and watched it :( I didn't want her to see it.

Needless to say she hated it !.
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Postby Arthur Philpott » Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:20 pm

I think the Production was so typical of today's hideous UK Television....always looking for Conflict, scandal, with obligatory Sex & Domestic abuse angles....just look at all those mind numbing soaps BBC & ITV serve up ...!

Harry & Willy were actors from another time...when True Comedy Acting talent counted....they made those two characters timeless and wonderfully real...yet still a piece of Classic Comedy...

true Harry later felt restricted by the show...as say Patrick Macnee did with "The Avengers" (old & New)...or Leonard Nimoy did with "Star Trek" etc....

For any Actor being so closely identified with a particular role is professionally frustrating....

Yet Harry & Willy are COMEDY LEGENDS...thanks to Steptoe and Son....something they each were well aware of during their lifetimes...they both knew how MUCH LOVED Albert & Harold were...and creating onscreen something that stands as a national Institution...is pretty special...and professionally a fine achievement....

I think both Actors were well aware how FAST Actors can be forgotten too....they knew that their show was a Winner all the way...especially when it returned in colour in 1970...and was as welcomed back by the public as if they had never been away (something even Galton & Simpson had initially had their doubts over....), hence while the show may have marginalised their acting careers to some extent...Harry's most noteably...

....it also immortalised them both as Famous TOP Comedy figures... 8) .

As for "The Curse of Steptoe"....well what do you expect from those "Dim Heads" at the BBC....! :roll:
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Postby bob » Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:45 pm

I agree it is a shame that television cannot look back on some of its old programmes and stars, without trying to find something negative to focus on.
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Postby PaulaT » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:14 pm

charlie wrote:Didn't think much to it myself,,, Harry came across as a wife beating ,womeniser. abit like a' dirty den ' bloke.!
Was Willy miserable for all the 14 years.? I think not.. as you say they wouldn't have carried on for so long just because it was a 'good gritty drama'. once again we're left with more questions than answers....!
My sentiments exactly. Harry was portrayed as a brute of a man and neither him nor Wilfrid smiled for the last ten years of their lives :roll: ? I think NOT!!!!!!!!
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Postby PhilGlass » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:15 pm

I agree. When Steptoe came back, NEITHER actor needed to do Steptoe and Son - in fact, they were lucky to have them, they were in such demand that it is almost inconceivable that they did it...

So why did they?? It must have been because they had a laugh doing it.

Okay, they probably didn't socialise, they were from different backgrounds. That doesn't mean they didn't respect each other.

Do you socialise with everyone you work with? Of course not!

But NEITHER had to do Steptoe. Both VOLUNTEERED to do the Aussie tour (although they did fall out during it).

Harry seemed more against it though. In 1972 Michael Aspel interviewed him, I will make this available to the site soon, and asked him in hindsight would you have taken the part and Harry says no.

But Wilfrid seemed happy with his lot and happy to draw in on the Steptoe image.

As a fan I hope both men were proud of what they had created and that they know just how much they are loved and respected by fans... they have every reason to be proud of the legacy they left behind!!!
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Postby PaulaT » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:45 pm

Yes, it is only natural that a couple working so close together probably did irritate the hell out of each other but that is human nature. We can't be on the best of terms with people ALL the time. That is not human nature. And I'm sure touring is NOT the most glamorous thing in the world. It would put a strain on the best of friendships :twisted: !!!!!!!!

Are there any outtakes existing out there of their shows? That might show how they enjoyed themselves during the making of the series' :lol: .
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Postby PhilGlass » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:52 pm

PaulaT wrote:Yes, it is only natural that a couple working so close together probably did irritate the hell out of each other but that is human nature. We can't be on the best of terms with people ALL the time. That is not human nature. And I'm sure touring is NOT the most glamorous thing in the world. It would put a strain on the best of friendships :twisted: !!!!!!!!

Are there any outtakes existing out there of their shows? That might show how they enjoyed themselves during the making of the series' :lol: .


To our knowledge there are no outtakes (most mistakes made it into the show)

However, a recent documentary showed on-set footage of Harry being asked what he thought of Wilfrid, circa 1972, Harry says 'I hate him'... but it is hard to tell if he is trying to be funny, be in character, or simply being truthful. It last only a few seconds.

Perhaps Harry was jealous of Wilfrid's success, but I doubt that very much.
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Postby PaulaT » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:30 pm

Yes, some mistakes did make it in to the episodes :lol: :oops: . Made it all the more realistic, I think :wink: .

I bet Harry was joking when he said he hated Wilfrid :wink: . You couldn't come out with an answer as brutal as that if it was true. I reckon if he didn't like Wilfrid he would have made some insipid , middle of the road comment like "he's nice". That would have said more :lol: !!!!!!!
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Postby Arthur Philpott » Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:58 am

When the pair get their 1964 Top Comedy Show award They say a few words...

Harry basically just says "Thank you" etc

Wilf ...looking very Smart & Dapper in suit, specs & best teeth...says something like
"Thank you, this means alot...even if I have to share it with this old Git...!"
However they both then Laugh...

You sense there was some Rivalry...even a bit of an edge...but it was nothing that serious....much like Tony Curtis & Roger Moore as "The Persuaders" used to do...trying to "wind each other up" but in a mischievous way...nothing really nasty

Wilf was very upset....he broke down in tears...when interviewed on TV just after Harry died...and NOT "just in case the neighbours are looking" either...the tears rolled down his face, and he apologised for losing control...it was very moving
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Postby Archie » Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:38 pm

I watched it again last night - it doesn't get any better ! :cry:
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Postby callous_little_bleeder » Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:37 am

I thought the drama was watchable but at the end of the day, it is totally inaccurate. So inaccurate that the BBC now shove a disclaimer at the start whenever they repeat it.

Harry and Wilf are portrayed like two miserable old so and so's - I don't believe that for a minute. If they really did hate each other so much, I highly doubt they would've stuck it out for so long. Sure, it all went tits up in the end but that has happened to many a comedy duo, notably Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, especially during the recording of their final Derek and Clive album, Ad Nauseam.

You spend all day slagging each other off, be it on tape or on camera, and you're gonna end up taking it too far every now and again. But you never lose respect. And I don't think either of them did.

Like I said, it is watchable/enjoyable but there ain't much truth to be found.
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Postby bob » Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:52 am

I was lucky enough to have a chat with Harry's daughter Susannah recently and I obviously took the opportunity to ask the obvious question about the relationship between Harry and Willy.

She basically stated that they were two people who worked together who got on more or less as anybody else does with people they worked with. No they didn't socialise outside of work, but isn't that the same for all of us ?

I certainly don't socilise with everybody in my company and there are only four of us !!!

I think this reflects my view about how we viewed our TV heros in the 60s and 70s. For some reason we wanted them to be in their private lives as they were on telly, and for some reason we are then dissapointed when they are not. This then leads to some people trying to make a case that they hated each other. Quite simply there is no evidence to support this.
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Postby callous_little_bleeder » Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:47 am

bob wrote:I think this reflects my view about how we viewed our TV heros in the 60s and 70s. For some reason we wanted them to be in their private lives as they were on telly, and for some reason we are then dissapointed when they are not.

Oh, tell me about it, Bob. I was highly depressed as a little child when my mum told me Jon Pertwee and Una Stubbs probably didn't socialise much outside of Worzel Gummidge. I thought they were married. :lol:


As for the Susannah Corbett chat, was it online or in person? You should've transcribed it (that's if you didn't) as it would've been a fascinating insight from an official source.

On a Susannah related note, I look at that girl on telly and I get the shivers because she's the image of Harry. Especially in the eyes and smile.
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