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Why the big interest ?

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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Why the big interest ?

Postby mrswarboys » Tue May 05, 2009 3:19 am

Late last year I got wind of this programme that was The curse of Steptoe that had been made and already aired. I tried hard out of curiosity to find and see it and did so via you tube. Not knowing anything about their private life's but having fond memories of the series I watched the programme and sought out more info. In fact I caught up on many of the old episodes and was surprised how very funny they still were. Then looking back on the BB4 drama it made me think what two great actors they were who came together made great TV and went there separate ways just like any other actor or actress would. So why should people assume or want to think they were great friends ? Even if they did hate each other then it just goes to show their talent all the more on screen. But no I just think they did their job (at great excellence) and went their separate ways after like say the cast of any given sitcom. The same goes for there private lives. By today's standards of some actors they were gentlemen so why the big interest ?
The BBC4 drama for me was actually dull and boring but it made me seek out the classic series and more besides and made me realise that Harry & Wilfred were not married to each other but were two very professional actors.
Thanks for letting have my view and for reliving what was and is fantastic childhood memories.
Bill
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Postby bob » Tue May 05, 2009 9:03 pm

Hello Bill and welcome to the forum.

I think everybody who likes Steptoe feels exactly the same way.

It would not be realistic for us to expect them to be the best of friends just becuase they worked together.

While for pople like me, they are a vauled part of my life, for Harry and Willy it was just another job and just another actor to play against.

The sad thing is that "The Curse" programme was made after the main actors were dead and against the evidence of those who know them best, like Ray and Alan.

The hurt that must have been caused to the families and friends of Harry and Willy sems to have been overlooked by the makers.

Still it has prompted you to a good first post and I hope there are many more to come.

Bob
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Re: Why the big interest ?

Postby Ivor Biggun » Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:35 pm

I had heard a rumor that Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw from The Professionals hated each other, too. This rumor supposedly came from someone in casting who had seen them work together previously and noted that there was some personal friction between them and the producers wanted to take advantage of that. A further rumor has it that even though they may not have been particularly fond of each other at the beginning of the series, they eventually did become good friends. Any friction between Bodie and Doyle that you see in later episodes was purely acting on their part. Rumors about show business people getting along on or off the set should be taken with a huge grain of salt.
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Re: Why the big interest ?

Postby harryfaversham » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:46 pm

Amen
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Re:

Postby Dirty Old Yank » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:32 am

bob wrote:...they are a valued part of my life...

Wholeheartedly agreed!
Even for those of us that discovered* Steptoe only recently, without any effort on the viewer's part the series quickly becomes a part of our lives because it reflects our experiences and allows/encourages us to laugh at ourselves. Admiration for the series only increases with exposure, though I could've done without seeing Harry in drag lolol. gah!
The question has never been, "did they hate each other." The question is: are people ignorant enough to believe anything they read/watch simply because it's produced by an ostensibly respectable source.
* Stumbled across more like, but for the grace of mates in UK I'd never had heard of Steptoe.
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Re: Why the big interest ?

Postby harryfaversham » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:46 am

At least thats one thing us Brits can be proud of, inventing and popularising the sitcom
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Re: Why the big interest ?

Postby Dirty Old Yank » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:37 pm

harryfaversham wrote:At least thats one thing us Brits can be proud of, inventing and popularising the sitcom

"Inventing the sitcom" is a boast Ray and Alan would probably blush at, I don't know.
BBC reports their global viewer numbers are at an all time high, yet they're reducing worldwide outlets at a startling rate. Access to Steptoe related books, interviews and the series itself is and has always been virtually non existent in the US, despite North America once being the most profitable market in the world, all of which bring claims of popularization into question.
I wouldn't presume to know what Britons have to be proud of, but it might interest you to know what BBC would have region 1 DVD consumers believe: rotten teeth, mad cow disease and inventing the cat. I'm not making this up either, it's common to many of their adverts. Apparently they thought yanks would roar with laughter.
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Re: Why the big interest ?

Postby PhilGlass » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:07 pm

lol conversely, American programs here would have us believe all yanks are gun toting, fat, doughnut eaters! Who also own the moon. Of course, we all know both of these are just tv stereotypes. I don't think it hurts if the viewer knows it is just tongue in cheek, but so many people think if it's on tv it's true, which makes me sad.

I guess it depends what you class as inventing the sitcom. I give the credit to Ray and Alan too, though studio comedies were popular in the states previously. But Ray and Alan took what was a basic format and changed the rules, giving us what we have today, which is what I call sitcom. Let's not forget how risky using dramatic actors was! It could have backfired for everyone. Though those comedy playhous episodes were so superbly written even a gifted idiot couldn't ruin them.

Did we invent the cat? I hate the little blighters! We did invent the Tikka Masala curry though, not the indians... it was invented in a restaurant in Newcastle after a customer ordered a chicken tikka only to find it was dry and not in a curry sauce, so the chef improvised and made a sauce for them. I have no idea why any of you need to know that obsucre yet rather pointless fact.
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Re: Why the big interest ?

Postby harryfaversham » Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:24 pm

Well said Phil. Pointless fact included lol
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Re: Why the big interest ?

Postby Dirty Old Yank » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:50 pm

Phil, stereotypes as humour are not lost on me, but when those jokes take unsophisticated forms it's inevitably an embarrassing disaster. Jokes about horrific degenerative diseases are typically in bad taste but when they take unsophisticated forms it's just offensive.
Now, combine the two and employ them as an advertising tool.
Where is the wisdom in that? Can somebody explain that to me? I just don't get it lol.
And don't pretend you wouldn't eat a donut if I offered you one! Albert's rubber donut excluded of course. Now there's a visual none of us needed...sorry.
I don't dispute that Ray and Alan created the best sitcom in television history, I actively support the idea. "Even a gifted idiot" lolol.
Hate cats do ya? Pffft, cats is lovely. Giant cats is best, they keep your chair warm while you hoover. :)
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Re: Why the big interest ?

Postby harryfaversham » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:44 am

Yeah gotta love those 5ft cats lol
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Re: Why the big interest ?

Postby Ivor Biggun » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:42 pm

Dirty Old Yank wrote:
harryfaversham wrote:At least thats one thing us Brits can be proud of, inventing and popularising the sitcom

Access to Steptoe related books, interviews and the series itself is and has always been virtually non existent in the US


Steptoe wouldn't do well over here because of the political and geographical references, that nobody here would be familiar with, combined with UK slang, which would be like a foreign language to most Americans. There are a lot of other aspects of everyday life in Britain that would have no direct equivalent here. The first time I watched 'Oh What A Beautiful Mourning' and Albert asked 'Who's getting the divvy, then?", I had to do some searching to find out what it meant. We don't have anything exactly like co-ops that pay you back a percentage of your purchases at regular intervals, so that would be completely lost on American viewers. In 'The Desperate Hours', when they were looking for foreign coins to feed the electric meter, that would also be a situation that Americans would not be familiar with as we never had those installed in homes here. The punch lines to many of the jokes would also be lost on American audiences because the form of the humor is not like what we are used to here.

I've had 30 years to get used to the British sense of humor and to study up on many of the references but most wouldn't bother to do that kind of work just to enjoy a television show. Anything too far removed from what people are used to wouldn't do well here.
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Re: Why the big interest ?

Postby harryfaversham » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:06 pm

It seems to me that American sitcoms aren't very big on irony either. From what I've seen and heard its a foreign trait to most of the guys across the pond. I know I'm over-generalising though. At least the septics on here have got a bit of savvy lol
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Re: Why the big interest ?

Postby PhilGlass » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:32 pm

I like several American sitcoms, and get most of the jokes, of course not all.

But why does America remake ours when we just show theirs? To me it sounds like ego. They can't have a popular show that they didn't make... Very few US sitcoms were ever remade here, we just show them.

Of course, they should all be written for the immediate audience they are to reach.

As long as they are entertaining I don't think it really matters either way...
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Re: Why the big interest ?

Postby harryfaversham » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:38 pm

I do like quite a few American sitcoms. The British ones have always seemed more natural to me for some reason. Maybe its the fact that most of us who have never been to the US consider it to be another world entirely
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